It’s time to dance: PAC-12 men’s basketball tournament preview – Sports Out West
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It’s time to dance: PAC-12 men’s basketball tournament preview

Photo credit: PAC-12.com

The march to March Madness officially begins for the PAC-12.

The PAC-12 men’s basketball tournament tips off on Wednesday, March 9 and for the first time in conference tournament history, the event is sold out according to the PAC-12’s website.

What are some of the things to look out for inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas? Here’s a breakdown:

Utah comes in red hot

The Utes were facing a possibility of losing out on the third seed in the tournament as they trailed by 14 points late in their last regular season contest against Colorado.

But a miraculous 19-0 run not only lifted Utah to its 57-55 comeback win over the Buffaloes, but makes the No. 12 team in the nation the hottest PAC-12 team in the tourney, proven by the Utes’ seven-game winning streak.

Not only that, Utah has won its last 12 of 14 games.

Colorado, USC need breakout tournament to appeal to the committee

The Buffs’ devastating season finale road loss to Utah puts CU in a bind at 21-10, plus needing an impressive tournament performance to gain consideration for the big dance.

The same is the case for USC (20-11) as the Trojans need a deep tourney run to reappear in the March spectacle.

What works in Colorado’s favor is three late season victories against nationally ranked Oregon (91-87 on Jan. 17), California (70-62 on Jan. 31) and Arizona (75-72 on Feb. 24). USC has one victory against a ranked opponent from the PAC-12: the 103-101 four overtime thriller against Arizona on Jan. 9.

Both Colorado and USC still need to pull off second round upsets though against Arizona and Utah, respectively, to boost their resume in front of the selection committee, or it could be National Invitation Tournament time.

The conference will send at least five teams to the dance

Conference leader and eighth ranked Oregon is a shoe-in with its 25-6 record. No. 12 Utah, No. 15 Arizona and No. 24 Cal should have little trouble gaining entry to the 68-team field by virtue of its ranking. The fifth will have to be which team pulls a second round upset against those aforementioned ranked teams.

Fans looking to attend the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas will be able to find tickets available for resale at TiqIQ.com. Las Vegas hotels at Hipmunk.com start for as low as $39 during that week, lower than the ticket prices for the majority of sessions.  You can also find flights to Vegas at Hipmunk from any location in the country.

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Lorenzo Reyna

Lorenzo Reyna hails from the California's Central Coast, but has a bevy of experience with covering some fast-rising athletes from all over the Golden State. He's a former sports editor for The Reedley Exponent newspaper. His other credits include scout.com and nflevolution.com.
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