The Pac-12 Conference just wasn’t very good in men’s college basketball this season. We all saw it and we all thought it. March confirmed it.
It could be that UCLA will make a big run to the Final Four, but that would be a case of the Bruins being strong and good on their own, not as a product of the conference. UCLA is the only Pac-12 team left standing after the first round. No one else is around.
USC lost to Michigan State on Friday. Then Arizona State blew a late lead and lost to TCU. That’s it for the Pac, which lost Arizona on Thursday when the Wildcats were stunned by Princeton in a classic 15-over-2 seed upset.
Arizona was a flawed team this season. If you watched the Wildcats lose to Princeton, you could see all the ways in which they didn’t have the roster components and added resources of the 2022 team which was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Pac-12 teams, however, couldn’t exploit Arizona on a regular basis — at least not enough to preven the Cats from finishing second in the league and winning the tournament title.
USC’s roster limitations were apparent all season, and the Trojans didn’t have a healthy Vince Iwuchukwu for most of the campaign. Yet, the Trojans finished third and made the Big Dance. It’s a great credit to Andy Enfield, but also a reflection of how many other schools in the conference didn’t step up.
Arizona State did step up, but it needed a 55-foot heave to beat Arizona and make the field of 68. The Sun Devils had a late five-point lead over TCU on Friday, but missed several free throws and didn’t make good decisions down the stretch. They lost by two on a TCU basket with 1.5 seconds to go.
That’s it. That’s all. It’s down to UCLA, and there’s no one else left in the Pac-12. The conference goes into the offseason needing upgrades everywhere but Westwood.
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