How Weak Is Pac-12 Basketball?

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Everyone wrote off the Pac-12 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The highest seed any Pac-12 team was given was Colorado at No. 5. As a result, all five Pac-12 teams were underdogs and the four remaining in the tournament will continue to be underdogs, and that’s absolutely perfect. The Pac-12 is the underdog conference after all; not supposed to amount to anything and should just be happy to be invited to the Big Dance at all.

However, these underdogs are terrifying to play against. In the Round of 32, the four remaining Pac-12 teams defeated their higher-ranked opponents by an average of 22-points. These aren’t games won in the last fleeting seconds or won by a few lucky shots along the way. These games were over well before the last five minutes of the second half. These are dominant victories against teams that were deemed better than their Pac-12 counterparts, with perhaps one exception in No. 11 UCLA’s victory over No. 14 Abilene Christian in the Round of 32.

Now in the Sweet 16, the Pac-12 has four representatives, which makes up a full quarter of all remaining teams. The Pac-12 has the most representation out of any other conference at this point in the tournament. No one saw this coming, except Bill Walton.

From Twitter

Oregon’s victory over Iowa left no question as to who was the better team.

Getting out of the Sweet 16 and into the Elite Eight is the next challenge for the Pac-12. Only one Pac-12 team is guaranteed a spot in the Elite Eight because that is the winner of the Oregon vs USC game. On the other hand, it also means that there can only be a max of three Pac-12 teams in the Elite Eight as the Pac-12 is doomed to cannibalize itself within the tournament. That does seem appropriate because the Pac-12 is notorious for cannibalizing itself across all sports, the tendency that is partly to blame for the low-seeding of all Pac-12 teams within the NCAA Tournament.

The Pac-12 is making a mark on this year’s tournament. It is bringing much-needed exposure and may start to change the Pac-12’s image, at least in Men’s Basketball. With every victory comes more money to a conference badly in need of additional income and exposure, which will help in a big way with recruiting, as the Pac-12 can become a viable landing spot with prospective recruits.

This has all been accomplished in spite of Larry Scott’s leadership of the conference. It will also give the new Pac-12 Commissioner, whoever that might be, a great jumping-off point as the conference has some recent proven success.

Will a Pac-12 team win it all this year and bring home the National Championship? Unlikely, but possible. Making it through the tournament is difficult enough, and there is an element of luck the eventual winner needs to go their way. The Pac-12 to date has exceeded expectations and hopefully will continue to do so. It would be fantastic to see at least two teams reach the Elite Eight and if one team can reach the Final Four, it may begin to change perceptions of the strength of the Pac-12.

So how weak is the Pac-12 Conference? Is it time for this narrative to change, at least in the world of basketball?

David Marsh
Portland, Oregon
Top Photo: From Twitter

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Man we struggle with playing down in Tucson and Tempe, in pretty much all sports. A weird phenomenon.

Baseball team is getting schooled by Arizona. Can’t hit or score runs and AZ has the best team batting average in the country. Not a good mix. Won’t be surprised if we are swept this weekend.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Wow-the Pac-12 has TWO teams in the Elite Eight for Certain!

The winner of Ducks/USC contest and now OREGON STATE beat Loyola of Chicago to continue their incredible Cinderella run.

C’mon Ducks….let’s keep this going for the state!


I am a Beaver believer :). It is my alma mater so I have always rooted for them in every game they play besides against the Ducks. So happy to see them make it this far.

Gang Green 2

As a Duck fan, I’m really impressed with the current Beaver MBB team, and how well they are playing right now. It is really fun to watch their unprecedented run. It’s crazy to think they wouldn’t even be in the tournament if they hadn’t blitzed their way through the Pac 12 tournament.
Saw a graphic last evening where they have now won 6 games in a row, all away from home, and all in which they were given a less than 30% chance to win (spreads of about +6 to +9); that has essentially never been done before.
And it really isn’t a fluke . . . they are playing elite defense right now, and are generating enough offense from multiple players (though Thompson carried them a bit in the LCU game) to make it hard for other teams to focus on defending just one player. And man, they are shooting it well from the charity stripe!
Houston is going to be tough . . . but never count the Beavers out!


Unrelated subject: Trejon Williams has committed to Oregon as of yesterday. He’s the top ranked football recruit in the state, #9 safety in the nation for 2022 per 247Sports (#137 overall). The hiring of Marcel Yates as safeties coach is already paying dividends!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I love how in one of his interviews–he is now out recruiting for the 2022 class as well! A 4-Star with Rivals….means he is a good one.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Spring Football Announced!

The first spring football practice is this next Thursday, April 1st, with the Spring Game on Saturday May 1st!


My FishDuck Friends….I do have to report something special; in the second game versus LMU….Oregon freshman from Missouri, Makenna Kliethermes, struck out 15 batters, including the entire side in the 7th inning to record a No-Hitter in a 3-0 victory at The Jane this afternoon. Whew!

And the Softball team won 14-2 in the first game versus Loyola Marymount….two more games to go.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Oregon Baseball Finally on TV!

The Oregon series at No. 21 Arizona is on the Pac-12 Channel over the next three days with tonight’s game starting at 7:00 PM PST.

And thank you David for a fun article preparing us for an amazing weekend to cap a Sweet Sixteen Week!


The PAC has 25% of the Sweet-16 field. If two teams survive, then 25% of the Elite-8 will be PAC12. I like the chances that the Final Four holds one or more teams from the PAC. All four teams left are playing their best ball if the season. Go Ducks.


The LA schools going home, and the Oregon schools continuing works for me.

Gang Green 2

Well, well . . . PAC12’s gonna have at least 2 in the Elite Eight, and UCLA could make it 3 (although beating Alabama will be a tall order).

Santa Rosa Duck

Thanks David Marsh, thorough article.

USC favored by 2.5 points as of this morning.


The reason the NCAA basketball tourney is so much fun to watch is the underdogs win games. So far the tourney has played out as usual with many lower seeds upsetting teams who were thought to be too good to lose.

The next set of games we will start to see how good the Pac-12 is. Getting the the elite 8 and final 4 is a tougher go. Is the Pac-12 just pulling off upsets or is there a team that can make it to the final 4, stay tuned.

I don’t think the Pac-12 is weak, but not sure we have it to pull a full Bill Walton, and put too many through to the 8 and 4.


Definitely rooting for every PAC12 team this weekend…..except the Trojans. Love seeing our conference travel to the midwest and dominate. Bill Walton has been spot on, and having watched many games in other conferences this season I could see where he is coming from. When the Ducks are on they look like one of the best teams in the country if you are just considering the eye test.

If the Ducks shoot anything near like what they did against Iowa then USC is in big trouble. Thing is….you live by the 3 and die by the 3 so it’s going to boil down to how well they shoot the ball from deep. If Figueroa and Richardson are hitting their shots then I really like our chances, if not it could be a similar outcome as the last time we played USC. Look for Eric Williams to be a key X factor.

What’s absolutely amazing to me is the Beavers story. They have a real shot to make it to the elite 8. They match up well with Loyola Chicago with Silva and the big guy for Loyola playing a very similar type of game. Really looking forward to watching that one and rooting on the Beavers…..though I really like the Loyola team as well, so there is no way to be disappointed in that one.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Agreed; I am cheering for the Beavs and the conference in that one too!

Santa Rosa Duck

I am a little concerned about you guys cheering for the Beavers!


I think 1 reason to cheer for the Beavs now is hoping we get another shot at them in the Finals! I was quite dissatisfied with the result (when we played them) in the P12 tournament, and I would like to see what happens when we face them on normal rest (between games). I know that means that we would have to get through USC and Gonzaga, but if the Ducks keep playing the way they played Iowa, I think the sky is the limit!

Go Ducks!!


I have always thought that teams that rely on the 3 have a harder time in tournament situations as it seems it will eventually fail in a game. But the Ducks have balanced scoring and seem to find a way to make up for a part of their game being subpar on a given night.