Jan 21 2012; Boulder, CO, USA; General view of the Pac 12 emblem on the basketball court at the Coors Events Center before the start of the game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Colorado Buffaloes. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Was it Really a Down Year for the Pac 12?


The entire country has spent the majority of the season bashing on the Pac 12 basketball teams.  Things like “this may be the worst basketball season ever for the Pac 12 “and “this power conference may only get 2 bids to the NCAA tournament”.   I would like to ask everyone to re think what they supposedly know about the Pac 12 this season.  Am I crazy to say this?  Maybe, but hear me out.

I want to look at the top 2 teams in the Pac 12 and compare them to the rest of the country.  After watching an entire season of basketball it is pretty clear to me that the 2 best teams in the Pac 12 are the Washington Huskies and the Arizona Wildcats.  No disrespect to Cal but I believe that the cats and dogs are just a little bit better.  Let’s start by comparing Washington and Arizona to other top tier conferences.  I will start with the SEC which boats the top ranked team in the country.  While it is true that Kentucky is really good the second best team in that conference is Florida.  If you remember early in the year, Arizona and Florida played an overtime thriller in which the Cats came up just short.  This was way before Arizona had an identity as a dominant defensive team and the team also played without Josiah Turner.  That game would be completely different now if they played again.  The big team in the SEC is Kentucky and it is true that they are beastly.  I think the Washington Huskies would give Kentucky fits though.  The Huskies are one team that can match up against Kentucky athletically and physically.  Washington rebounds well and they have athletes up and down the lineup.  I think if you are this brilliant Kentucky team you are praying to stay away from the Washington draw on selection Sunday.

Ok, well what about the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, and Big 12.  Let’s look at some of the great ones from these conferences.  Syracuse is the other “dominant” team this year but once again the Pac 12 teams would give the Orangemen fits in my estimation.  Our league has some amazing guards and shooters that could break down that Syracuse zone.  Washington would look to exploit the offensive rebounds that tend to happen against a zone and Arizona under Sean Miller has played outstanding versus zones.  The second best team in the Big East is debatable, but that team wouldn’t scare the Pac 12 duo.  The Big 12 has Kansas and Missouri, the Big Ten has Michigan State, and the ACC has Duke and North Carolina.  When I look at the matchups against any of these teams I really wouldn’t foresee a blowout in any of these games.  I actually think Washington and Arizona would hold their own in the majority of the games and maybe win a few.

I want it to be clear; I’m not saying that Arizona and Washington would beat all of these teams mentioned.  What I am saying is that it is March and there is bound to be some madness.  When you look at the season now that it is complete, the Pac 12 should still have 2 pretty good teams that will get a chance to turn some heads in the tournament.



  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    Hey, I am the editor for the Oregon Ducks FanSided site http://www.autzenzoo.com. I think you are being biased towards ‘Zona just a little, or you might be underrating Cal. The Golden Bears are easily the most efficient team in the conference and are one of the top 20 most efficient teams in the country. The Huskies are more talented and are just as good as Cal, but ‘Zona is clearly the third team behind the two. They have the talent, but they have those games- if you catch my drift. ‘Zona is going to turn things up if they make the NCAAs, and they have a better chance of winning in the tournament than the Ducks. ‘Zona is actually the second most efficient team in the conference, which goes in their favor. However, I think you overlook Cal’s defense and their big three of Crabbe, Cobbs, and Gutierrez.

    • nmueller

      Hi Joe, I agree with you that Cal is a very strong team. I know that they could make some noise in the tournament as well. I don’t think Cal necessarily creates matchup nightmares because they aren’t freakishly athletic like UW and they don’t play small and force the other team to matchup to you like AZ does. I’m looking at it purely from a matchup standpoint. Honestly, I think that any of the 4 teams (UW, Cal, AZ, and Oregon) would have a legitimate chance to make a sweet 16 run. In my estimation though the Wildcats and Huskies are playing the best right now and would give the elite teams in the nation a big scare. I know that there will always be a little bias towards the school you root for but when I just look at the eyeball test it tells me that UW and AZ look pretty solid. I really hope the league gets at least 3 bids to the tourney and one of the teams steps up and makes a run. Good luck in the Pac 12 tourney, I know the Ducks are a damn good team and I definitely don’t want to run into your team again.