College Hoops

Only one Pac-12 team remains after NCAA Tournament opening weekend

Only one Pac-12 team remains after NCAA Tournament opening weekend

The 2023 NCAA Tournament began with four schools from the conference of champions, but after the first two days of action only one Pac-12 school โ€“ the UCLA Bruins โ€“ remained.

USC tipped off Fridayโ€™s action against Michigan State, losing 72-62 after getting outscored by ten in the second half by Tom Izzoโ€™s team.

USC was the ten seed in this matchup and had a chance to win throughout, but a poor performance from star guard Boogie Ellis (six points on 3-12 shooting) doomed the Trojans and sent USC home early.

Meanwhile, the last game of the day was a battle between six seed TCU and Arizona State, a play-in 11 seed that had every opportunity to win but squandered them all by missing key free throws down the stretch.

All this comes after the biggest disappointment on Thursday, when Arizona fell to 15 seed Princeton โ€“ much to the joy of many Oregon fans.

This means of the 32 teams remaining in the Big Dance, only the Pac-12 regular season champion in UCLA remains.

Itโ€™s another disappointing year for the conference, and the impending departure of both UCLA and USC โ€“ half the Pac-12โ€™s Tournament teams โ€“ makes it hard to be optimistic about the future.

Conferences secure a ton of money from NCAA Tournament appearances and wins, and while football is king it is absolutely an issue that this conference has very little basketball pedigree beyond 2024.

Of course, potential addition San Diego State already punched their ticket into the Sweet 16 with wins over Charleston and Furman, showcasing one of their biggest arguments for inclusion in the conference.

Oregon has a dominant recruiting class set to come in 2023, which should help, but until some of these lower level programs commit to winning things might not change much in the conference of champions.

Cal let Mark Fox go, which is a start, but Stanfordโ€™s commitment to Jerod Haase and Oregon Stateโ€™s devotion to Wayne Tinkle will keep this conference from rising out of the bottom โ€“ which doesnโ€™t do anyone any favors at the top.

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