Thursday, February 28, 2013
Can USC win the Pac-12 tourney?
By Nic Reiner
The Pac-12 regular season title race is still tight, as four teams (Oregon, Arizona, UCLA, and California) have realistic shots to win the title with three games remaining. USC, at 8-7 in conference, is too far back for a regular season title but springboarded itself into postseason conversations last night with an impressive home victory over Arizona.
At this point, the Trojans only get into the NCAA tournament via the automatic bid that comes with winning the Pac-12 tournament next month in Las Vegas. It's likely they'll be seeded in either the 6 or the 7 spot and so will need to win four games in four days to ensure a spot in the Big Dance. Based on their play over the whole season, it's highly unlikely they can tally four straight wins in Vegas to earn the auto-bid. Before last night, USC's biggest moments came with a victory over UCLA last month and a two-point loss to Oregon in January. Still, it's important to consider the conference features no dominant team and nine teams are separated by just four games.
It would undoubtedly be shocking to see Bob Cantu's team come out of the Pac-12 but last night's victory showed that the Trojans can beat a top team during an important part of the conference season.