Arizona State defied my expectations and was one of the last two teams off of the bubble as they’ll play in Dayton as a No. 11 seed as the Pac-12’s third rep. Washington also snagged an at large bid as a No. 9 seed, while the conference tournament champion Oregon Ducks earned a No. 12 seed.
The Sun Devils were able to overcome losses to Washington State and Princeton in order to make their second straight trip to Dayton to play in the first four against St. Johns as an 11 seed. This will be tough matchup for Sparky as St. Johns is very good at forcing turnovers, and does an even better job at taking care of the rock on the offensive end; while ASU has struggled with ball security at times this season. St. Johns had some tough games against a few NCAA tournament teams, but they also lost a couple games they shouldn’t have and that’s why the Red Storm were the last team to earn an tournament bid.
Despite playing some bad basketball down the stretch, including getting their ass kicked in the Pac-12 tournament title game, the Huskies earned a ninth seed and will get to take on eighth seeded Utah State. This game will be interesting as both teams have been pretty efficient at preventing two point shots while forcing their respective opponents to take longshot three pointers. Utah State earned the eighth seed by winning the Mountain West with an impressive run through its tournament.
As for the Pac-12 tournament champions, the Ducks earned a No. 12 seed after their run to the title. Oregon’s domination of Washington in the title game earned it a bid in the tournament — and a nice jump in Kenpom’s rankings — but it clearly didn’t impress the committee that much as they’ll be going up against No. 5 seed Wisconsin. The Badgers will be a challenge for UO, but don’t be surprised if the Ducks pick up the upset with how hot they’ve been playing.
Three teams in the NCAA tournament is about the best case scenario for the Pac-12 after the season it had. The depths that the bottom of the conference fell to weakened the cases for all three of these teams, but these three teams overcame their weak resumes to make the tournament.