The tourney is down to eight teams after the schools from Oregon both advanced last night. Day two offers a lot more intrigue than the first, as one team is clinging to a once-sure NCAA Tournament at-large bid, and three others are fighting for what may be an outside shot of getting one of those last spots in the Dance. This is the place to discuss the first three games of the day. The WSU-UW game will have its own thread later this evening.
For more on the Pac-10 tournament, head over to SBN Seattle's Pac-10 Tournament Storystream
Previous Meetings: Cal won 68-66 at USC, USC won 78-75 at Cal.
KenPom Predicts: USC wins 68-85 with 59% confidence.
These two teams played close in the regular season, with each one winning on the other's homecourt. The Golden Bears and the Trojans both have the talent to win three games in a row and secure the autobid. USC appears to be just on the outside looking in for an at-large bid and a win over Cal followed by a win over potential semifinal opponent Arizona may be enough to lock them into a spot in the tournament.
Cal would need a lot more help for an at-large bid. Two wins in the tournament of quality teams wouldn't hurt, but it probably won't be enough. WSU fans still holding on to at-large dreams of their own should root for Cal in this one, as USC is a team that is probably ahead of them.
Expect to see some well-played basketball today, these teams do not turn the ball over very often. A welcome change for me, after watching the turnover-fest that was the OVC tournament last week.
Previous Meetings: OSU won 76-75 at home, Arizona won 70-59 at home.
KenPom predicts: Arizona wins 80-67 with 89% confidence.
Arizona is one of only two teams in the Pac-10 that can feel comfortable about their chances of making the NCAA Tournament right now. The regular season champs are hoping to improve seeding with a run in the Pac-10 tourney, as they may be sitting on the 4-5 line right now. If 4 or 5 seeds advance to the Sweet 16, they usually meet one seeds. WSU found that out the hard way back in 2008.
Oregon State knocked off some of the heavyweights in the conference this year, in Arizona, USC, and Washignton, but all those wins occurred at home. Arizona had little trouble with the Beavers down in Tuscon. OSU also has the difficult task of playing less than 24 hours after beating Stanford last night.
Previous Meetings: UCLA won 67-59 at Oregon, UCLA won 64-54 at home.
KenPom Predicts: UCLA wins 71-63 with 81% confidence.
UCLA dominated the boards on both ends of the floor in the previous two match-ups. Oregon was just all-around bad offensively against the Bruins this year. The Ducks stayed close in the first game by forcing a lot of turnovers. They will need to do that again to have a chance.
Bruin fans usually dominate the stands at the Pac-10 tournament, and with UCLA once again near the top of the standings, I expect to see a lot of light blue and gold.
Still think WSU can get an at-large? Root for UCLA for the possibility of a "good win." Want an easier path to the conference title? Root for Oregon.
Stick around after this game for the WSU-UW thread.