Now that all the confetti has been scooped up off the floor of the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the Tucson Express has already blazed a trail to Portland, it's time to crack the whip and take a look back at the now fully concluded Pac-12 Men's Basketball Season. Of course it's time for the Big Dance, and like most parties, some were left uninvited and had to settle for smaller parties, and some chose to just stay home.
||Pac-12 Tournament Results
||W vs. Cal, UCLA, Oregon (Won Tournament)
||A masterpiece of a season from Sean Miller and his team. Arizona had the best offense and the best defense in the conference, and left no doubt in Vegas who has the most devoted fans or the best team. There are bigger stakes ahead for the Kitties, of course. Coach Mike Montgomery may not like their chances against Kentucky but few teams have much of a chance against the Wildcats themselves. The nets in Vegas probably won't be the last ones that Coach Miller and crew cut down this season.
||W vs. Colo, Utah, L vs. Arizona
||Oregon continued its strong second half of the season by playing a strong tournament, and the loss to Arizona did little to taint what has been a spectacular job from COY Dana Altman, who worked wonders with a lineup that doesn't feature any real regular contributors taller than 6'7". The Go-Go Ducks forced most teams to adjust to their lineup and their style of play. Oregon closed the season as winners of seven of eight and 11 of their last 13. Mighty Joe Young earned his POY trophy by playing an astounding 91% of his team's minutes and posting an offensive efficiency rating of 112.4
||W vs. Stanford, L vs. Oregon
||The Utes closed out an overall very strong season by losing four of their last seven. Coach Larry Krystkowiak's Krew took on a rigorous non-conference schedule and in Pac-12 play posted the second best offense and the second best defense. Their bumps at the end cost them the silver in both the regular season and the tournament, but their deliberate style ultimately helped punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Despite a Twitter handle of @Runnin_Utes, Utah played at the slowest tempo in the conference. Who knew they liked their irony so thick in Salt Lake? Delon Wright, who posted the league's best ORtg of 129, easily could have been the POY.
||W vs. USC, L vs. Arizona
||UCLA's roller coaster season continued over the weekend with a hard-fought loss to Arizona that had most insiders and outsiders felt had ended the Bruins' NCAA hopes. However, a Sunday reprieve from the Selection Committee gave UCLA a stay of execution at NIT-shank Penitentiary. UCLA finished as the second-best offensive rebounding team in the Pac-12 and played the cleanest defense in the conference (31% Opp FT Rate). Man-beast Kevon Looney completed a sensational freshman year by posting an ORtg of 116, good for a 9th best in the league.
||L vs. USC
||The loss in Vegas to lowly USC marred what was a nice comeback story for the Sun Devils, who started conference play by losing their first four games. The NIT bid ends up as a nice carrot for a team that improved at the end of the year. Guard Savon Goodman saved his best for ASU's two biggest wins, an 81-78 vanquishing of the Wildcats and a 68-66 triumph over the Bruins. Goodman scored 35 points on 15-17 FG in those two games. Prior to the loss in Vegas, Herb's Heroes had won five of seven.
||W vs. Washington, L vs Utah
||The NIT comes with great disappointment to a Cardinal team that at one point was 15-5 and 6-2 to start conference play. Depth (lack thereof) and defense were the flaws that ultimately conspired with terrible injury luck to derail a season that had NCAA Tournament written all over it. Guards Chasson Randle and Anthony Brown suffered massive February shooting slumps as a result of their heavy workload. Nothing hindered Stanford's defensive efforts more than the Cardinal's propensity to foul. Stanford allowed the highest Opp FT Rate in the Pac-12 at 43.4%
||L vs. Colorado
||A huge upset of Arizona and a strong 15-2 record at Gill Coliseum has Beaver Nation committed to Coach Wayne Tinkle. It wasn't pretty, but Oregon State used a painfully slow tempo and a rugged zone defense led by GPII to stay above .500 overall on the season. They were one of two teams who declined an invitation to play in the CBI.....
||W vs. Washington State, L vs. Arizona
||...and the second was Cal. In Cuonzo Martin's first season in Berkeley, the Bears struggled to do anything well. California finished 10th in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Bears lose only David Kravish to graduation this year, so next year should be poised for a run at the top half of the conference.
||W vs. Oregon State, L vs. Oregon
||A team that was undone on the surface by injuries, most notably to Center Josh Scott, but also by internal strife. Standout Guard Askia Booker has chosen to leave the team rather than participate in the Buffs' efforts in the CBI. That's not a good sign, and outside observers consider Colorado a team in turmoil. It could also be that Booker is exhausted from taking a whopping 36% of his team's shots, the 4th most in the nation.
||L vs. California
||Went out in Vegas like they went in: completely allergic to defense. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cougars were very easy to score on, and they posted the worst defensive rating in the conference and the 315th in the nation.
||L vs. Stanford
|| Couldn't solve Stanford all year long, and couldn't recover from the loss of Robert Upshaw and then injury trouble for Shawn Kemp Jr. Nevertheless, the Huskies were game for a fight in Vegas, taking the Cardinal to the end of the game before succumbing to a Chasson Randle 3. Like their Apple State Brethren to the East, Washington's defense was very inviting to offenses following Upshaw's dismissal in January.
||W vs. Arizona State, L vs. UCLA
||Enjoyed an extended stay at the MGM with the upset against Arizona State, but the Trojans have to be happy that the season ended. After a brutal 28-point loss to Utah, four of the Trojans' final six losses were by single digits prior to UCLA's conquest in Vegas. So there's that to build on, I suppose. Andy Enfield's squad returns literally everybody next season. For the most part, I'd say that's a good thing.