The Conference of Champions, known formally as the Pac-12, hasn’t exactly lived up to its name in 2021, as no team has scraped the AP top-10 at any point this season.
Finding themselves on the periphery of the college hoops landscape, it will surely be an important few days out west, as only four teams — Oregon, USC, Colorado, and UCLA —- currently find themselves in the field of 68.
The action kicks off Wednesday with a trio of games, as No. 8 Arizona State plays No. 9 Washington State, followed by No. 7 Utah and No. 10 Washington, and No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 California.
Here’s the rest of the Pac-12 bracket.
What The Duck
Despite their No. 1 seed, Dana Altman’s Ducks provide plenty of value for bettors looking for an angle in this tournament. At better than 3:1 at DraftKings (+310), Oregon’s path is clear as day. Avoiding a potential matchup with USC and Colorado until the final is huge for Altman’s team, as both gave the Ducks fits in the regular season.
A late-season surge catapulted this Oregon group to their second straight regular-season conference title, as they were able to rattle off wins in 10 of their last 11 en route to a No. 1 seed.
Oregon’s offense has been humming despite the loss of now Boston Celtic Payton Pritchard — leading the Pac-12 in both offensive efficiency and three-point percentage.
The tandem of Chris Duarte and Eugene Omoruyi has been unstoppable of late, with the former emerging as one of the best shooters in the country — hitting at a 44% clip from beyond the arc.
Their lack of size worries me a bit moving forward, but I always love an experienced, veteran team come March, as the Ducks feature five upperclassmen in their starting lineup.
Longshot: Stanford (+1500)
One of the biggest disappointments in college basketball, the Cardinal never seemed to hit their stride in 2021.
However, their preseason buzz was no fluke, and this is a team as talented as any in the Pac-12, so I don’t hate the prospects of taking a flyer on Zhaire Williams and company at 15:1, especially if they can avoid USC in the semifinal.
Worth a look.