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The Fearsome Threesome, Episode 15: Pac-12 Tournament Preview

It’s Tourney Time! Well, kind of...

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a long windy road for UCLA but here we are. The Bruins have earned a three seed in the Pac-12 tournament and have a first-round bye. But can they win the whole tournament? Let’s take a look.

UCLA will face the winner of 11 seed Washington Huskies and six seed USC. Now, we all know that a rubber match against USC would be delightful. But, the Bruins would love to see the Huskies upset the Trojans because, to be blunt, UW is trash. But let's assume USC wins. UCLA dismantle USC in their second matchup by a score of 102-70. This may be a little premature but, I am not concerned about USC at all. UCLA is playing otherworldly offense and it will take a herculean effort by USC to hold them under 80. I’m predicting another 100-79 victory for UCLA.

Then, comes the matchup that worries all Bruins fans. Assuming Arizona doesn’t lose they will be UCLA’s semi-final matchup. Both teams have beaten each other in the regular season and I believe the winner of this game wins the tournament. This game will have major NCAA tournament seeding implications. If UCLA wins this game a No. 1 seed is very much in play for the Bruins. A statement win for UCLA will go along way for the committee. Now the question is, how are the Bruins going to beat Arizona. UA is one the best teams in the nation and in both games it has been a back and forth affair. UCLA has been one of the best offensive teams we’ve ever seen in college basketball. I like calling them the Warriors of college basketball. And when UCLA is running and hitting three pointers, they are unstoppable. The question, as it has been for the whole season, can the Bruins play defense. They have to be able to slow teams down just for their offense to take over the game. If Steve Alford’s crew plays up to their ability then UCLA should be able to win this game. It’ll come down to the last few possessions but UCLA eeks out a 82-79 victory over the Wildcats.

Onto the championship game. The most likely opponent for the Bruins will be Oregon. Another team the Bruins split with during the regular season and a team who has a lot of momentum and has played a lot of close games in the recent weeks and of course Dillon Brooks. Brooks was named Pac-12 player of the year and he has tortured UCLA in their games. Alford has surprisingly been a solid coach all year and he can make adjustments. Ultimately, I believe the Bruins will win the Pac-12 tournament title. They’re playing the best basketball of the year at the best time. Defensively they have improved to competence and offensively they are otherworldly.

Will they be able to take this momentum into March, let’s find out soon.