It is the city known for entertainment, unlikely second chances, frightening unpredictability, and a little bit of gambling. It’s the Sin City itself, and as Pac 12 men’s basketball conference play inches closer to tipoff, why not entertain with some early predictions of what to expect in this season’s Pac 12 games before the Las Vegas conference championship becomes slightly more predictable.
Here’s how it will work. There will be five bold predictions that may certainly not be true (or even respectable for that matter), and then each prediction will be broken down with a detailed reasoning. In the end, there’ll be a prediction for the Pac 12 tournament crown, and if it’s ridiculous, so be it, but it’s never fun not to gamble in Vegas, right?
Five bold predictions for throughout Pac 12 conference play:
- Arizona doesn’t finish first in conference standings.
- Only two teams finish with losing records in conference.
- Five Pac 12 teams finish in the Top 25.
- Oregon sweeps its games with Oregon State.
- Washington State doesn’t win a conference game.
Now although just about each one of these predictions could easily end up false, let’s disregard the realistic approach and wander into a hypothetical viewpoint.
Arizona doesn’t finish first in conference standings because it doesn’t have the leadership. What? College basketball is about talent and not leadership, right? Sorry that’s incorrect, and from last I saw there is no Nick Johnson on your team this year. Yes, there is the senior guard, T.J. McConnell, who has shown a knack for calming his team down as shown here, but he’s not the same type of leader as Johnson was. Johnson not only led the team with his skills and clutch performances, but he also had the ability to slow the game down and control his team. Don’t judge me if I’m wrong, but don’t be surprised if Arizona falls short of first in the Pac 12 standings.
Only two teams finish with losing records in conference because it’s going to be a hunger games type of situation every game. What do I mean by that odd phrase? Well, I believe just about every team in the Pac-12 will have a chance to win every game. Besides Washington State and USC, I see every team competing like it’s life or death. It’ll be brutal and frustrating for fans, but will make each game that much more exciting to watch! There may be a few teams that end up with a .500 record, but only the Trojans (who lost to Portland State) and the Cougs (who lost to Idaho) will finish with losing records.
Five Pac-12 teams finish in the Top 25 because I’m a Pac-12 believer! Right now, Arizona is ranked third in the nation, and we all know the Wildcats won’t drop out. Utah is ranked 13, and Washington is ranked 17. Hypothetically, lets just say those two teams never fall out because they keep winning. Well, then maybe a team like Stanford upsets eighth-ranked Texas, or even UCLA upsets top-ranked Kentucky. Both of those upsets are unlikely, but I just have a feeling that the top five teams that finish in the Pac 12 standings will find a spot in the Top 25, even if it requires the 25th rank.
Oregon sweeps its games with Oregon State because Oregon won’t lose in the Matthew Knight Arena this early on in the season, and by the time the Ducks play in Corvallis they will have experience, and the desire to sweep our in-state rivals. This statement may be biased, but I feel this prediction has one of the greater chances of being true.
Washington State doesn’t win a conference game because the Cougars only play USC once and it’s on the road. Unfortunately for the Cougars they only won three conference games last year, and I don’t see their luck in conference getting much better, not if they have to go into overtime to beat Missouri State, and then also get blown out by Santa Barbara at home. I just don’t see how they are able to compete in this conference, and I always love to see crazy statistics happen. Sorry Wazzu fans, this isn’t the year once again, but maybe Klay Thompson can send over some of his splash bros juice, if there is a thing?
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Now understand that my prediction for the Pac 12 crown is coming from the conference tournament in Las Vegas March 11-14, and not from the final conference standings. My pick to win the Pac 12 Conference Tournament is the California Golden Bears. A quick reasoning for my pick: I think Cuonzo Martin was a great hire for this team, they’ve got good depth throughout their starters and bench, and they scheduled tough non-conference games that will come back to help them in the tournament.
Now none of what I’ve already said may come true and happen, and that may be the case, but in today’s society there is always enough room to make predictions way too early in the season. Plus if the tournament is in Vegas, why not gamble with a few early predictions if it won’t hurt you!
Top photo by Donald Alarie
Evan Gilges is a senior at the University of Oregon, majoring in journalism and minoring in business. While growing up in the northwest, he grew a love for sports and the outdoors. Throughout high school he developed a passion for writing, photography, and editing. Someday he hopes to work for a magazine as a writer or photographer, and then later on he would like to teach journalism in high school and write children’s novels.
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