We dive into making our picks in the NCAA tournament knowing full well the Pac-12’s involvement could be fleeting.
Heck, as recently as a week ago, there was much hand-wringing over the possibility of the conference getting just one entry.
In fact, three Pac-12 teams landed spots: Oregon, Washington and Arizona State. Will any of them survive the weekend? Or even get to Saturday?
I come off a perfect showing during the Pac-12 tournament, so naturally I am expecting a disastrous followup. Here goes:
Last week: Jeff 11-0, Jake 7-4
Season: Jeff 88-30, Jake 77-41
Wednesday at Dayton, Ohio
No. 11 Arizona State (22-10) vs. No. 11 St. John’s (21-12), 6:10 p.m. (TruTV)
Jake: St. John’s lost four of its last five, and ASU tends to play well in big games. If the Sun Devils can control Shamorie Ponds, they will win. Besides, I’d like to see Bobby Hurley go against the players he recruited at Buffalo in the second round. Pick: Arizona State
Jeff: The Sun Devils played in Dayton last season, so they have a homecourt advantage of sorts, even if they are 1,200 miles farther away from home than St. John’s.Plus, Zylan Cheatham has waited too long for this chance to go home after one night. Pick: Arizona State
Friday at San Jose
No. 12 Oregon (23-12) vs. No. 5 Wisconsin (23-10), 1:30 p.m. (TBS)
Jake: None of the teams the Ducks beat during their current eight-game win streak is as good as Wisconsin. But the Badgers depend on Ethan Happ to do almost everything, and Kenny Wooten could cause him problems. Wisconsin would win four out of five times these teams play, but this time . . . Pick: Oregon
Jeff: I love the way Oregon is playing right now, but Wisconsin will bring Big Ten physicality the Ducks won’t recognize. If the game officials let ‘em play, as they often do in the NCAA tournament, big advantage to the Badgers. Pick: Wisconsin
Friday at Columbus, Ohio
No. 9 Washington (26-8) vs. No. 8 Utah State (28-6), 3:50 p.m. (TNT)
Jake: The Huskies are not the same team they were a month ago, while Utah State has won 10 straight and has an offensive weapon in Sam Merrill that Washington might not be able to control. Pick: Utah State
Jeff: The Aggies have won 17 of their past 18 games, and have become a trendy pick. Yes, they beat Mountain West power Nevada, but that’s their only win of consequence since Dec. 1. The matchup zone UW plays can be tough for first-time opponents. Pick: Washington