Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM

Pac-12 Trends and Angles

ACC · Big 12 · Big East · Pac-12 · SEC

Venue: T-Mobile Arena - Las Vegas

Overall Betting Results
Favorites/Underdogs: 9-1 SU, 7-2-1 ATS
Over/Under: 4-6

Saturday, March 10

Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 2 USC
Overall: 23-10 SU, 21-12 ATS
Totals: 10-21-2 O/U

No. 1 Arizona
Overall: 22-10 SU, 15-14-3 ATS
Totals: 18-14 O/U
No. 2 USC vs. No. 1 Arizona (FS1, 10:00 p.m. ET)
The Trojans are back in a Pac-12 title for the first time since winning it all in 2009 behind Tournament MVP DeMar DeRozan. Whatever happened to that guy? Andy Enfield hadn't even reached a semifinal in his previous tries, but has gotten his team to defend with intensity over the past few weeks to make up for the loss of talented forward Bennie Boatwright, the team's most talented player. The under is on a 12-1-1 run in the Trojans' last 14 games, including an 81-67 loss in Tucson that fell five points shy of reaching the posted total. USC is giving up an average of just 51 points thus far and has likely secured its inclusion in the NCAAs. Last night's win over Oregon was a dominant one despite point guard Jordan McLaughlin and big man Chimezie Metu each having quiet starts. McLaughlin, typically steady, had six first-half turnovers and ended up with 10. Jonah Mathews and Elijah Stewart combined to go 10-for-15 from 3-point range, with Mathews putting himself on the short list for MVP honors with a 27-point night on 8-for-10 shooting. According to the Los Angeles Times, USC has now won 70 games in a three-year span for the first time in school history.

The Wildcats used an 11-0 overtime session to eliminate UCLA in advancing to their fourth appearance in a championship game in five years. If head coach Sean Miller is indeed coaching the final games of his college career, he's going out in style. He's tied Arizona legend Lute Olson with 16 Pac-12 Tourney victories and has an identical 16-6 record in this event. DeAndre Ayton, the player who Miller reportedly arranged payment to secure, went 13-for-16 against the Bruins, finishing up with a career-high 32 points and 14 rebounds. He scored the first seven points of the OT to help the 'Cats overcome the sting of losing a two-point lead when UCLA guard Jaylen Hands tied the game on a layup with nine seconds left. Ayton and USC's Metu each scored 18 points in their only meeting, which was highlighted by the Wildcats shooting 56 percent from the field and 9-for-20 from 3-point range. Rawle Alkins led all scorers with 20 points as 'Zona registered its seventh straight win in this series. Miller has never lost to Andy Enfield. The Wildcats haven't played USC in the Pac-12 Tournament since a semifinal win in 2011. The under is 7-2 in the last nine games involving the 'Cats.
Arizona 74
USC 68

Friday, March 9

Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 4 UCLA
Overall: 21-10 SU, 15-15-1 ATS
Totals: 18-12-1 O/U

No. 1 Arizona
Overall: 21-10 SU, 14-14-3 ATS
Totals: 17-14 O/U
No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 1 Arizona (Pac-12, 9:00 p.m. ET)
Any concerns the Bruins had about being left out of the NCAA Tournament were realistically eliminated as they staved off a Stanford upset bid to advance to their fourth semifinal appearance in five years. Arizona advanced past this round against the Bruins in '15 and '17. Aaron Holiday never left the floor against the Cardinal, scoring 34 points for the second straight game, helping make up for backcourt mate Jaylen Adams playing only 10 minutes. He's played all 40 minutes in four of his last five outings and is averaging 28.2 points, 5.4 boards and 6.8 assists in that span. Thomas Welsh added 18 points and 11 rebounds as UCLA never trailed Stanford. It defeated Arizona 82-74 in Tucson on Feb. 8, shooting 55 percent as all five starters scored in double-figures.

The Wildcats left all of their off-court problems behind and used a big second half to win and cover against pesky Colorado. Reigning Pac-12 Tournament MVP Allonzo Trier picked up where he left off by scoring 22 points, ensuring no backdoor cover would be had by hitting 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. He averaged 20.7 points per game and led the team in minutes in last year's tourney. Center Dusan Ristic added 16 points and 11 rebounds against Colorado, helping make up for an off game from star freshman DeAndre Ayton, who shot just 4-for-14, picked up a technical for arguing with refs and ultimately fouled out. Ayton had a rough time against the Bruins the first time around, shooting 7-for-19. Beleaguered head coach Sean Miller would tie 'Zona legend Lute Olson with 16 Pac-12 Tourney victories by advancing to the championship game.
Arizona 78
No. 6 Oregon
Overall: 22-11 SU, 16-15 ATS
Totals: 14-18 O/U

No. 2 USC
Overall: 22-10 SU, 20-12 ATS
Totals: 10-20-2 O/U
No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 2 USC (FS1, 11:30 p.m. ET)
The Ducks have now followed the same blueprint in both Pac-12 Tournament wins, trailing for most of both games rallying down the stretch. A MiKyle McIntosh 3-point play on the Ducks' final possession and Kenny Wooten's second game-preserving block in as many nights helped them survive Utah 68-66. Elijah Brown was the offense for most of the night, connecting on 7-for-12 from 3-point range. Leading scorer Payton Pritchard has had a rough tournament, so Oregon needs his best game to advance here. Pritchard led the team with 18 points and seven assists in Eugene and added 17 points in L.A. two weeks later. USC won both regular-season meetings, 75-70 and 72-70, on Jan. 18 and Feb. 15. Dana Altman has the highest winning percentage in Pac-12 tournament history with a 78.9 clip, improving to 15-4 with two wins in this year's event.

While Oregon is in need of a Pac-12 Tourney title in order to reach the NCAAs, getting past this point almost certainly punches the Trojans' ticket. Andy Enfield has USC in a semifinal for the first time since 2011, but needs to reach the school's first championship game in '09 to avoid a nervous Selection Sunday. Despite a shaky offensive performance that featured a number of lulls, USC locked down defensively and allowed the fewest points since an 84-42 season-opening win over Cal State Fullerton. The under has an 11-1-1 mark in the Trojans' last 13 games, including both meetings with Oregon, where the total was 152 and 146.5, respectively. Bennie Boatwright, now out for the season, played in both wins over the Ducks, keying the first but going scoreless in the second. Point guard Jordan McLaughin averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 9 assists in the meetings.
USC 70
Oregon 68

Thursday, March 8

Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 8 Colorado
Overall: 17-14 SU, 14-16-1 ATS
Totals: 14-17 O/U

No. 1 Arizona
Overall: 20-10 SU, 13-14-3 ATS
Totals: 16-14 O/U
No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 1 Arizona (Pac-12, 3:00 p.m. ET)
The Buffs were impressive in taking down Arizona State 97-85 in the first round, potentially dooming the slumping Sun Devils to the NIT. Colorado hit 13 of 21 3-point attempts and got a huge game from freshman point guard McKinley Wright (20 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists), who proved the increased intensity level wouldn't be a problem. Head coach Tad Boyle was injured coming on to the court to break up a skirmish and has had a lot of success in this tournament, winning it in 2012 and owning an 11-5 all-time record.

Unless more allegations surface, it's expected that the 'Cats will have Sean Miller coaching and stars DeAndre Ayton and Allonzo Trier available for the rest of the postseason. Trier is the reigning Pac-12 Tournament MVP, helping Arizona defeat Oregon 83-80 in last year's final. He averaged 20.7 points per game and led the team in minutes in last year's tourney. Miller has won a pair of Pac-12 Tournament championships and is 14-6 in the event, which means he could surpass legendary Lute Olson in Pac-12 Tourney victories by winning another championship here, but his teams have never won as a top seed.
Arizona 80
Colorado 68
No. 5 Stanford
Overall: 18-14 SU, 17-15 ATS
Totals: 13-17-2 O/U

No. 4 UCLA
Overall: 20-10 SU, 14-15-1 ATS
Totals: 17-12-1 O/U
No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 UCLA (Pac-12, 5:30 p.m. ET)
The Cardinal have won five of six after cruising past rival Cal in the first round and looks to continue a late surge against a Bruins squad it bat 107-99 in 2OTs on Jan. 4 in Palo Alto. The Bruins won the most recent meeting at Pauley on Jan. 27 but should struggle to contain junior forward Reid Travis, who got the Cardinal started fast on Wednesday and will be the focal point here. He shot 7-for-11 against Cal and helped contribute to a 30-18 edge in points in the paint. It's no secret Stanford will look to pound it inside in an effort to wear down UCLA and capitalize on its lack of depth.

Defeating USC to close out the season with their 20th win relieved some pressure for Steve Alford's team, which has an at-large resume good enough to land in the field despite the Pac-12's down season due to 3-0 mark against Arizona and USC in addition to a non-conference win over Kentucky. Alford is just 5-3 in this event and hasn't won much since claiming the 2014 title in his first season at the helm. He'll need G Justin Holiday to continue an excellent season as the team's driving force to have a shot to win here, especially with backcourt mate Jaylen Hands nursing a banged-up ankle.
Stanford 74
No. 10 Oregon State
Overall: 16-15 SU, 13-17-1 ATS
Totals: 15-16 O/U

No. 2 USC
Overall: 21-10 SU, 19-12 ATS
Totals: 10-19-2 O/U
No. 10 Oregon State vs. No. 2 USC (Pac-12, 9:00 p.m. ET)
The Beavers followed up dropping Arizona State in their home finale by exterminating Washington's NCAA Tournament hopes thanks to Wednesday's OT win. The Beavers did a nice job demonstrating patience against the Huskies zone and patiently played through Tres Tinkle and Drew Eubanks in the post. Oregon State won despite a scoreless stretch of more than six minutes and a poor shooting game from the perimeter. OSU matched its Pac-12 Tournament win total under head coach Wayne Tinkle, who is now 2-3 in the event. The Beavers have never won the tournament and only reached the final way back in 1988. Tres came down on someone's foot and limped the rest of the way against Washington, but is expected to play here. Oregon State lost to USC twice this season, failing to cover each time.

I's been a tumultuous season for the Trojans, who can't afford a loss here unless they want to go into Selection Sunday with little confidence in their inclusion in the field. A team expected to compete for a Pac-12 title lost two of their most talented pieces, deeming guard De'Anthony Melton ineligible in a move that was railed against by his teammates, then losing talented forward Bennie Boatwright to a knee injury in mid-February. Point guard Jordan McLaughlin and center Chimezie Metu are still among the best at their positions, helping secure a second-place finish by winning four of the last five. USC has only won one Pac-12 Tournament, doing so in '09 behind DeMar DeRozan. Andy Enfield has won a game in this tourney in three straight years, but hasn't led the Trojans past the quarters.
USC 74
Oregon State 66
No. 6 Oregon
Overall: 21-11 SU, 16-15 ATS
Totals: 14-17 O/U

No. 3 Utah
Overall 19-10 SU, 15-10-2 ATS
Totals: 10-17 O/U
No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 3 Utah (FS1, 11:30 p.m. ET)
The Ducks trailed for most of the game against Washington State, playing right into the upset-minded Cougs' hands by not speeding the game up and allowing a deliberate pace to prevail as they trailed 24-17 at the break. WSU sent the game to OT on a Malachi Flynn 3-pointer with under 20 seconds remaining and led in the extra session until a Payton Pritchard layup with 19 seconds left gave Oregon back the lead. Although avenging a regular-season loss in a bubble battle against the Utes would be helpful, the Ducks are in a position where they have to win this tournament to feel confident about their NCAA chances.

The Utes are on the bubble despite wins in six of seven down the stretch, including a home win over UCLA. The availability of senior center David Collette is a major variable here, but the efficient veteran big man is considered doubtful due to an ankle issue. Utah beat Oregon in Eugene 66-56 in the only regular-season meeting between these schools. The Utes have covered in eight of 11 and have seen the under prevail in six of their last eight games. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak is 6-6 in the Pac-12 Tournament and has been at helm for every Utah appearance, which includes a runner-up finish in 2016. Oregon beat them in that title game.
Oregon 70
Utah 66

Wednesday, March 7

First Round
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 9 Arizona State
Overall: 20-10 SU, 13-14-3 ATS
Totals: 16-14 O/U

No. 8 Colorado
Overall: 16-14 SU, 13-16-1 ATS
Totals: 13-17 O/U
No. 9 Arizona State vs. No. 8 Colorado (Pac-12, 3:00 p.m. ET)
Clinging to their spot in the field of 68 by the skin of their teeth according to most projections, the Sun Devils probably have the most to lose in this Pac-12 Tourney. After a 12-0 start and a Top 10 ranking around Christmas, Arizona State has put itself in danger of missing the NCAAs by losing four of the last five. They must win this 8-9 game and fare well against rival Arizona in the league tourney quarterfinals to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

The Buffs won at UCL A on Jan. 13, but that was their only win outside of Boulder all season. We’ll see how they handle a neutral site in addition to withstanding a desperate ASU team. In McKinley Wright, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has a point guard he can build around, something that hasn’t been present since Spencer Dinwiddie. Colorado split with the Sun Devils this season. The under has prevailed in seven on the last nine Buffs games.
Arizona State 78
Colorado 75
No. 12 California
Overall: 8-23 SU, 11-18 ATS
Totals: 10-16-2 O/U

No. 5 Stanford
Overall: 17-14 SU, 16-15 ATS
Totals: 13-16-2 O/U
No. 12 California vs. No. 5 Stanford (Pac-12, 5:30 p.m. ET)
The Bears have won only once in 2018, a span of 17 games entering this first-round contest. They defeated the Cardinal in Palo Alto on Dec. 30 and narrowly pulled off a sweep, losing 77-73 at home on Feb. 18. Their best bet of winning a game here hinges on controlling the boards thanks to their ample size down low and getting a big shooting night form Don Coleman, who started hot but ended up shooting just 25 percent from beyond the arc this season. Freshman Justice Sueing has been Cal’s most impressive newcomer, averaging 16.4 points and five rebounds. The under has prevailed in 12 of 15 Bears games, including three in a row.

The Cardinal finished Pac-12 play by winning four of five, wrapping up a season sweep of Arizona State with an 84-83 upset in Tempe as a 12-point underdog. While junior Reid Travis and seniors Dorian Pickens and Michael Humphrey led the way, freshmen Daejon Davis and Kezie Okpala emerged as x-factors in helping turn the season around. Stanford’s achilles heel may be the free-throw line, where they barely top 66 percent. Jerod Haase lost his first Pac-12 Tournament game as head coach at Stanford 98-88 in OT to ASU last season but is in a favorite’s role here. They’ve won five straight games as chalk.
Stanford 74
California 65
No. 10 Oregon State
Overall: 15-15 SU, 12-17-1 ATS
Totals: 15-15 O/U

No. 7 Washington
Overall: 20-11 SU, 14-14-1 ATS
Totals: 12-17 O/U
No. 10 Oregon State vs. No. 7 Washington (Pac-12, 9:00 p.m. ET)
The Beavers saved their best for last, dropping Arizona State in their home finale and ruining Senior Day at Washington State by scoring 92 points. This is a good matchup for Oregon State, which won at home 97-94 in 2OT and lost in Seattle 79-77 on March 1. Tres Tinkle averaged 25.5 points and shot 21-for34, while Stephen Thompson averaged 20.5 and Drew Eubanks added 16.5 points and 10.0 boards, making 13 of 17 shots. OSU was the 12th seed last year and has only won one Pac-12 Tournament game under head coach Wayne Tinkle.

Mike Hopkins’ first season at the helm went better than anyone could’ve expected, highlighted by home upsets of Arizona and ASU in addition to a non-conference win over Kansas in Kansas City. The Huskies are still on the bubble due to a sloppy finish and the fact they were swept by both Utah and Oregon. Noah Dickerson made 18 of his 31 shot attempts against the Beavers, averaging 26.5. Washington shot 16-for-37 from 3-point range and will be counting on Jaylen Nowell and Matisse Thybulle to continue emerging on both ends of the floor.
Oregon State 73
Washington 70
No. 11 Washington State
Overall 12-18 SU, 14-15 ATS
Totals: 16-13 O/U

No. 6 Oregon
Overall: 20-11 SU, 16-14 ATS
Totals: 14-16 O/U
No. 11 Washington State vs. No. 6 Oregon (Pac-12, 11:30 p.m. ET)
Head coach Ernie Kent hopes to avoid being sent packing by his former employer, especially since it could spell the end of his unsuccessful four-year run in Pullman. The Cougars haven’t won in this postseason tournament since 2009, but did beat Oregon to open the month behind 28 points from Malachi Flynn and 19 from Robert Franks. They’ll need similar performances to pull off another upset. The over has prevailed in the last five Washington State games, part of a run that has seen it come in 10 of the last 13 games. No Pac-12 team allowed more points per game than the 81.8 the Cougs allowed in conference play. Oregon averaged 80 in splitting its two meetings.

Although a puzzling March 1 loss at Washington State took some of the bite out of pulling off wins over Arizona State and Arizona to end February, the Ducks did win an important road game in Seattle against U-Dub to edge it out for the No. 6 seed. Oregon swept ASU and beat the ‘Zona and UCLA, but struck out in key non-conference games against Oklahoma and Baylor, so it realistically needs to win this tournament to see its name called on Selection Sunday. Streaky senior guard Elijah Brown, son of Golden State assistant Mike Brown, scored just seven points on 1-for-8 shooting in the regular-season finale at Washington after averaging 21.5 points his previous four outings. Any chance the Ducks have to win four games in four days hinges on him and backcourt mate Payton Pritchard playing well.
Oregon 83
Washington State 71

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