The Pac-12 has been weird this season, and that makes for interesting Pac-12 Tournament odds and tournament bracket.
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There isn’t a single Pac-12 team that is ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll ahead of the Pac-12 Tournament.. With all the talk about Final Four contenders and teams with an actual chance to beat one of college basketball’s Big Two, I don’t think I’ve ever once heard someone mention anyone from the Pac-12. While there are a number of future first-round picks in the league — USC’s Evan Mobley, Stanford’s Ziaire Williams, Arizona State’s Josh Christopher, and Marcus Bagley, — only one of them is going to play in the NCAA tournament this season. Hell, one of the league’s biggest brands, Arizona, has already self-imposed a postseason ban and opted to spend the postseason on the sidelines.
That’s less than ideal, I guess.
Anyway, bad leagues make for wild and exciting conference tournaments … in theory.
The problem is in a year as strange as this one, the two most talented teams outside of the top four, Arizona State and Stanford look like they have more or less packed it up for the season.
The Pac-12 Tournament tips off on Wednesday, March 10 with three first-round games. The tournament wraps up on Saturday, March 13 with the championship game at 10:30 p.m. The Pac-12 Tournament will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network and ESPN. The Pac-12 Tournament will be available for streaming on the Pac-12 Network app and through Watch ESPN.
Click here for the full list of Pac-12 Tournament odds.
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT ODDS
- #1 Oregon (+185)
- #2 Southern Cal (+235)
- #3 Colorado (+250)
- #4 UCLA (+550)
- #6 Stanford (+1500)
- #5 Oregon State (+2000)
- #7 Utah (+3000)
- #8 Arizona State (+4000)
- #9 Washington State (+10000)
- #10 Washington (+30000)
- #11 California (+30000)
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT ODDS: Betting Trends
Top-seeded Oregon is the odds-on favorite and backed by the public to win the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament. The Ducks are backed by 26% of the Pac-12 bets and 32% of the Pac-12 handle. But Dana Altman’s bunch aren’t the runaway favorites in the eyes of the public. No. 2 seed Southern Cal is backed by 22% of the Pac-12 bets and 16% of Pac-12 handle. No. 3 seed Colorado, winners of four in a row, are backed by 18% of the Pac-12 handle and 19% of the Pac-12 handle. Rounding out the top for is No. 4 seed UCLA, backed by 19% of the Pac-12 bets and 9% of the Pac-12 handle.
THE FAVORITE: Southern Cal
I’m not entirely convinced Southern Cal is actually the best team in the league, as the odds here would indicate, but I do think that, with the way Tahj Eaddy has been playing in recent weeks, they are very much in the conversation.
USC finished the season 21-6 overall and 15-5 in the Pac-12. They were one of the few teams in college hoops that somehow managed to play their full regular-season schedule, and while it wasn’t always pretty, that’s more or less how they’re built. Andy Enfield has managed to build the best defensive team in the league thanks to the presence of Evan Mobley, who is the best team defender in college basketball. But he’s not a takeover guy offensively, which is where Eaddy enters the chat. When he gets going, he gives them a go-to guy that can do things like hit game-winning threes with 1.8 seconds left against their archrival.
If you trust Eaddy to be a 17 ppg guy in March, back the Trojans.
THE CASE FOR: Oregon
I, personally, think that the Ducks are the best team in the Pac-12, and that they are only going to be getting better as they continue to gel. They lack a true rim protector, but with a team full of guys that are around 6-foot-6, that can shoot threes and that can guard multiple positions, they are built perfectly in the mold of a Dana Altman team.
They also have the nation’s most underrated player in Chris Duarte. He’s an absolute stud. He’s going to be a first-round pick, if NBA teams come to their senses. And while that loss at USC was ugly, it’s really the only blemish on the Ducks’ record that came when they were at full strength. Will Richardson missed the losses to Missouri and Colorado. LJ Figueroa missed the Missouri game, too. The losses to Washington State and Oregon State came when the Ducks were coming off a COVID pause. They are really, really good.
THE CASE AGAINST: UCLA
Want to hear my hottest take when it comes to the bubble?
UCLA should be on it.
Here are their good wins, listed in their entirety: Colorado at home. If you want to argue that sweeping Arizona is good, I won’t put up too much of a fight.
But that’s it. That’s all they got. And while they went 13-6 in the Pac-12 this season and 17-8 overall, this is a team that lacks a certain level of star power while simultaneously struggling to defend the way that Mick Cronin teams are supposed to defend. Without Chris Smith, they are just very average, and the fact that most projections have them in the No. 9-seed range is, to me, insane.
THE SLEEPER: Colorado
I honestly don’t know what to think about a sleeper here. I want to love Washington State, but their star guard Isaac Bonton is banged up and the team is dealing with COVID-19 issues. I think Wayne Tinkle is a really good coach and Oregon State did beat both Oregon and USC this season, but there is just a lack of firepower on that roster. Stanford is really, really talented, but injuries and the stress of a brutal season — they spent basically the first 10 weeks living out of hotels because of protocols in Palo Alto — let the bottom fall out of the season. Arizona State is probably the most talented team in the conference. They also lost by 40 at Utah on Saturday.
So I’ll just use this space to talk about Colorado. I have a tough time trusting this team away from Boulder. They went 8-6 on the road and neutral courts this season. They’re awesome when they get a chance to play at altitude, but they are just regular when they don’t. And the truth is that I actually like the Buffaloes. They swept USC this season, who they would theoretically be playing in the semifinals, and they split with Oregon, who they could end up facing in the finals. McKinley Wright is an absolute stud, and we all know how important point guards are in March.
I just don’t like the price.
They’re valued as the second-best team in the league.
I just don’t believe they should be higher than Oregon.
So I will be staying away.
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
First Round (Wed. 3/10)
4pm: #8 Arizona State vs. #9 Washington State
7pm: #7 Utah vs. #10 Washington
10pm: #6 Stanford vs. #11 California
Quarterfinals (Thurs. 3/11)
2:30pm: #1 Oregon vs. 8/9 Winner
5:30pm: #4 UCLA vs. #5 Oregon State
8:30pm: #2 USC vs. 7/10 Winner
11:30pm: #3 Colorado vs. 6/11 Winner
Semifinals (Fri. 3/12)
8:30pm: QF1 Winner vs. QF2 Winner
11:30pm: QF3 Winner vs. QF4 Winner
Championship (Sat. 3/13)
10:30pm: SF1 Winner vs. SF2 Winner