Both teams clinched their spot in Saturday night's title in typical March fashion: Absolute madness.
The Arizona Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking defeat after a wild comeback and one of the most chaotic game-ending sequences in recent memory. Unfortunately for Arizona, it was merely a regulation-ending sequence. Oregon was too much for Arizona in overtime, 95-89.
That wasn't the only semifinal to need five extra minutes. The California Golden Bears had appeared to have put the Utah Utes away and become the first lower seed to win a game in this year's Pac-12 Tournament. But a crazy, four-second, coast-to-coast sprint down the floor resulted in a buzzer beating layup for Utah's Lorenzo Bonam sent the game to overtime. From there, Utah would finish Cal, 82-78.
And then there were two. Not just any two, the top two seeds in the Pac-12 Tournament are the last teams standing. And not only is there the Pac-12 Championship on the line. This game also has NCAA Tournament implications. Both teams are very clearly in but there could very well be a 2-seed in the Big Dance on the line when the Ducks and Utes take the floor.
How can Oregon beat Utah?
Oregon seems to have this figured out. They went 2-0 against the Utes this season and were the only team to beat Utah on their home floor. They didn't just beat them, they nearly ran them out of their own gym, winning by 18.
The keys to those victories earlier this season were simple -- Be aggressive. And let Dillon Brooks do his thing. The All-Pac-12 sophomore forward averaged 25.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists on 58% shooting in his two previous meetings with Utah this season. Oregon's offense is relentless and can kill any team from all over the floor. They lure you in with shooting and the second you step outside on them, they start driving to the basket. Their offensive attack has, at times, looked flawless this season. They'll be looking to make it a perfect three-for-three against Utah.
How can Utah beat Oregon?
This is a tougher question. But I think the key is controlling the tempo. When Oregon is in control of the tempo, they're nearly impossible to keep down. Even on an off night, their tempo will eventually get to their opponent. But if Utah can slow the game down and make it a 40 minute grind, that's Utah's advantage. They'll be looking to eat up shot clocks with Brandon Taylor's handles and composure and Pac-12 Player of the Year, Jakob Poeltl will look to make the Ducks big men work in the post all night.
How can I watch?
Time: 8:00 MT
TV: Fox Sports 1