Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2015 Pac-12 Tournament Teaser: Day 1

A little less than a month ago, as CU was wrapping up their win over Stanford, friend of the blog @DavidScarffe and I endeavored to pick the Pac-12 Tournament winner via fantasy draft.  I got first pick (I don't remember how), and selected Arizona.  The rest of the results are as follows:

Team RumblinBuff:                                       Team Scarffe:

Arizona                                                        Utah
UCLA                                                         Stanford
Oregon                                                        Oregon State
Cal                                                              Arizona State
CU                                                              Washington
WSU                                                           USC

What's on the line? A nice cigar Saturday evening in Vegas.  In that pursuit, I think I have a great team.  Not only do I have the front-runner, Arizona, but I also have the two teams I'm actually going to bet money on today: Oregon and UCLA.  I don't like to put the cart before the horse, but I got this one in the bag.


Today's games:

- #8 Cal vs #9 WSU - 1pm MT - Pac-12 Network -

I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be a great game.  Washington State plays with a Devil may care attitude, and Cal can get funky given ample possessions.  This game also features a great upperclass guard matchup: Ty Wallace vs DaVonte Lacy.  If those two get hot, this could get interesting in a hurry.

I'm going to say the tournament gets out of the gate with a cracker, as these two play to a score fest.  I'll even say the Cougars earn the mild upset.  The Golden Bears have just been struggling too much after their win in Boulder for me to take them.

WSU 81 - Cal 79

- #5 Arizona State vs #12 USC - 3:30pm MT - Pac-12 Network -

As much as I am high on the Cal/WSU matchup, I'm down on this potential clunker.  ASU will bring out the worst in you, and USC has plenty of 'worst' to bring to the table.  Certainly, the Devils deserve the five-seed, closing well on the regular season with five wins in seven, but I've just never been enamored with either their personnel or their playing style.

For those who haven't been keeping up with everything Trojan (and why would you), star freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin is out for the remainder of the season with shoulder issues.  That leaves them with precious little talent with which to attack the Sun Devils.  With that in mind, give me ASU in a snoozer.

ASU 67 - USC 55

- #7 Oregon State vs #10 Colorado - 7pm MT - Pac-12 Network -

It's do-or-die time for the wayward Buffs.  They've played better of late, with Josh Scott looking healthier and healthier as the games go by, but are up against a team in Oregon State that seems designed to take advantage of them.  In the first meeting, the Beavers strangled Colorado in the opening minutes, ending the competitive portion of the proceedings before it even began.  Through a combination of devastating zone defense and crystal clear outside shooting, OSU never gave the Buffs a chance.

Unfortunately, that's how I see today's affair going.  CU put up a lot of points in Washington last week, but that was against paper-thin defenses.  Oregon State, a top-15 defensive club, is a whole different animal. They play the zone like they've been weaned on it since birth, and will cause the Buffs fits.  On defense, CU still gives up too many open looks, letting the typically sluggish Beavers play like they know what they're doing.  Add it all up, and I'm seeing a game that quickly slips out of control.  Out of the locker room in the second half, Colorado will show some end-of-season spunk, but it'll be too little too late.

For the first time in the #RollTad era, a team not named Arizona or Kansas will beat them in a conference tournament, and the year will end with a whimper.

OSU 67 - CU 52

- #6 Stanford vs #11 Washington - 9:30pm MT - Pac-12 Network -

The night cap is kind of intriguing.  Point guards Chasson Randle and Nigel Williams-Goss are worth the price of admission, and Stanford likes shooting themselves in the foot enough for me to hope that this will be a good game.  Ultimately, however, this game will be won in the paint, and it won't even be close.  Cardinal senior forward Stefan Nastic should have a monster game against the non-existent UW front line, which will end the battle.  Give me Stanford in a landslide.

Stanford 72 - UW 58


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