Who doesn't love tournament time? It's a clean slate and an opportunity to focus on but a single task at a time: Win today. So whether OSU beat CU last week or not no longer matters. Legacies are cemented in the face of sudden death. This is win-or-go-home. This is March.
Pac-12 Round 1 Games
#9 ASU vs. #8 Stanford, 12pm, P12N - On the season, these two faced off just once with Stanford winning in Tempe, 62-59. Clearly a tight battle as these two seem to match up intriguingly. Felix and Huestis would cancel one another out while Carson is a nightmare for anyone, including Chasson Randle or Aaron Bright. But perhaps the most greatest nightmare on the court - if not the conference - is Dwight Powell. I think this one boils down to how well the Sun Devils are able to slow this big Canadian. An undertaking fellow Canadian, Jordan Bachynski, will have to endure. Alas, he didn't fair so well last time as Powell dropped 22/10 in Tempe. Stanford is coming off of a big win in Berkeley against rival Cal while the Sun Devils hold the longest streak of any kind in the conference: four losses. Can the Devils recollect themselves?
#12 OSU vs. #5 Colorado, 2:30pm, P12N - I feel like this one is familiar. Did these two square off recently? Oh that's right. The three-win Beavers waltzed into Boulder and beat the seemingly red-hot Buffs on senior night. And this is why we love tournaments. There are these underlying dramas, the sort of stuff we can't conjure up even if we try. So while just four days ago it was laughable that this game would be little more than a formality for the Buffs, it's now a spicy little meatball with arguably a toss-up of an outcome. After all, it was in Boulder that the Beavers won and with Andre Roberson's status still up in the air, this game remains an unpredictable wonder. Who doesn't love tourney time?
#10 Utah vs. #7 USC, 6pm, P12N - I love this late press into the post-season the bottom three pieced together. Each of Utah, OSU, and Utah hold impressive wins heading to Vegas adding an element of who-the-hell-knows to this whole thing. As if we needed any more of that. Alas, USC was once wearing that darling slipper but now find themselves the losers of two straight and uncompetitively so. I don't know how much bearing this will have on the outcome or underlying motivations for the game, but Utah was the final team Kevin O'Neill beat as USC's head coach. My guess is that's really just a fact we notice and little more.
#11 WSU vs. #6 Washington, 8:30pm, P12N - How awesome is it that we get a first round rivalry game? The Apple Cup! This is Cougs and Huskies for advancement, one and done. It's about as close to war as this sorta stuff gets. I love it. The Huskies swept the season series and have won five-straight against the Cougs. My big question is whether or not this Pac-12 tournament is going to become the Brock Motum fare-thee-well-I'm-here-to-mess-stuff-up tour? He already dominated the LA schools in his final weekend in Pullman; I'm curious what he might pull off in Vegas.