It's conference tournament week, and the Pac-12 has some intriguing teams playing on Wednesday.
We take a look at some of the surprises, and which of those teams can make a run this week:
Which team playing on Wednesday do you think has the best chance of making it to Saturday?
Gabe Encinas: This is tough, but probably Arizona State. Oregon State, Stanford, California and Colorado have all struggled down the second half of Pac-12 play and having momentum going into the tournament is huge. Not saying that Arizona State is carrying a lot of momentum, but they did beat UCLA and Arizona both recently and depending on how the other half of the bracket plays out, ASU would have the best chance of those teams playing Wednesday. The likelihood of that happening is very low, but I'm just answering this question.
Ryan Kelapire: Stanford. For one, I think it's safe to say that Arizona is going to make it to the title game from their side of the bracket, so it leaves us with Stanford, Oregon State, Colorado, and Washington as our possibilities. I don't think the Buffs or Huskies have the talent to beat either Oregon or Utah, so you can eliminate them. So now you're choosing between Oregon State and Stanford. I'll pick the Cardinal because while both teams struggled to finish the season, I believe Stanford simply has more talent than OSU. Also, Stanford showed last season when they beat Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, that they are always capable of an upset.
Bryan Doherty: With the loss Saturday, Stanford dropped to the 6 seed in the tourney and as a result won't be on Arizona's half of the bracket. Frankly I don't think they can beat Utah but if they did, there's nobody on that half of the bracket that should concern them in the semis. They could definitely beat Oregon on a neutral. With Randle being a senior knowing his team has to have the auto, a player of that caliber could certainly come up huge over a couple days. While some may lean UCLA, I just don't buy the Bruins still and think that first matchup was more about Arizona playing poorly.
David Potts: Stanford. Stanford would need to beat Washington, Utah, and probably Oregon in order to make it to Saturday. That's tough, but not impossible. Most importantly, Stanford wouldn't have to play Arizona until the championship game. In contrast, Arizona State might be able to beat USC and UCLA, but would have to beat Arizona in the semifinals to make it to Saturday, and that almost certainly won't happen.
Ben Leech: Stanford. They are desperate for wins to build a resume which means they have to make a run to the conference tournament final vs. presumably Arizona to get them off the bubble.
Zach Tennen: That is a really tough question. Many of these teams are likely going to be written off by the critics. If I had to make a bold pick, it would be that 11th seed Washington advances to the finals. The Huskies have underachieved a bit this year and have solid players like Nigel Williams-Goss who can get the job done.
Anything more surprising than ASU getting the 5 seed?
GE: No. Before ASU's win over Arizona, they were 3-6 in the conference, looking at the 11 seed for the Pac-12 Tournament. College basketball is weird.
RK: Oregon getting the 2-seed. I thought the Ducks were going to have a down year after the departures they had and the offseason turmoil, but they had a great season with all things considered. However, it might be equally surprising that Utah finished behind Oregon. It seemed like throughout the season everyone expected Arizona and Utah to finish 1-2 in the conference without really considering anyone else.
BD: Colorado getting a 10 seed is pretty surprising to me. They obviously proved to not be a very good team but they're more talented than the likes of ASU, Oregon State and Washington State. Injuries played a part but the Buffs simply lost too many games they had no business losing in league play to lead to what amounted to a pretty disappointing season.
DP: Utah giving up the two-seed to Oregon. A few weeks ago, we were talking about the Arizona/Utah game deciding who would win the regular season conference title. That seems long ago -- Arizona ended up winning the conference by three games. And despite being clearly better than everyone else in the conference, Utah ended up losing to Washington, letting Oregon slip by into the two seed.
BL: Only thing more surprising to me is how bad Colorado underperformed this season but ASU as a 5 seed is absolutely stunning.
ZT: I'm happy for Arizona State's basketball program. It had a surprisingly successful season and opponents cannot take the Sun Devils for granted. I would predict they lose against UCLA on Thursday.