Busting Brackets

Pac-12 Basketball: 3 teams most likely to make 2018-19 NCAA Tournament

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Remy Martin
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 13: Remy Martin /

This has been one of the most disappointing starts for Pac-12 basketball in recent memory. Which teams are still most likely to make the NCAA Tournament?

Heading into conference play, there is not one 10-win team nor is there one in the Top-25 of ESPN’s AP or Coaches Poll. Despite Arizona falling out of the Top-25 for one week last season, 2011-2012 was the last time a Pac-12 team was not ranked in the Coaches’ Poll at this time of the year. (AP Rankings not available in Week 9 of every year).

That has occurred this season after Arizona State fell out of the top-25 after suffering a loss this past week. They were the only Pac-12 team even receiving votes to this point. With things looking dire, here are the programs most likely to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

Arizona State

Things were looking promising for one Pac-12 team in Arizona State as they upset then #1 ranked Kansas at home but that quickly blew over as they were upset at home the very next game against Princeton. Then came the brutal loss to Utah in the Pac-12 opener. What Arizona St. needs to improve on to be successful is their team defense.

The Sun Devils are currently tied for 203rd in the nation for scoring defense, giving up an average of 72.1 PPG. Their scoring offense is much better, tied for 69th in the nation and powered by freshman sensation Luguentz Dort. Dort is averaging 18.1 PPG which sits at 6th in the nation for freshman behind lottery picks R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and others.


Oregon can be the second team to receive a bid in March but their hopes took a big hit with the season-ending injury to star big man Bo Bol. It’s is hard to see them playing well enough to secure themselves a bid to the big dance without the 7’2 center.

Louis King is still getting accustomed to the big stage but has played an increasing amount of minutes since returning from injury which is a good sign. They are the highest rated Pac-12 team in Ken Pom’s Index at #37. Their issue is opposite of previously mentioned Arizona State in that their offense is what needs improvement. They have the nation’s 26th ranked scoring defense but the 234th scoring offense . Bol Bol and Payton Pritchard are the only Ducks averaging double figures, showing their need for a third primary scorer (now really a second) on the offensive end.


Arizona wins the Pac-12 tournament securing themselves a bid. By no means have the Wildcats been bad this year but the FBI Investigation and the loss of players like Ayton, Trier and Alkins has people questioning their abilities. Sitting at 10-4 none of their losses are to bad teams but they were beat by close to 20 at home to both Auburn and Gonzaga. They lost by three points at Alabama and by nine at home to Baylor which is their “worst” loss.

The Wildcats have four former Top-50 recruits in Brandon Williams, Brandon Randolph, Emmanuel Akot and one of those being McDonald’s All-American Chase Jeter. They also have a few more former Top-100’s aside from the players previously mentioned. Clearly the potential is there for Arizona but will they be able to maximize is it the real question.

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I can talk about their potential all day but when it comes down to it, they need to execute. Last season Arizona’s potential was of National Championship caliber but they got blown out by 21 points in the first round to Buffalo. Yes, Buffalo was an experienced and veteran team but so was Arizona. They began conference play with an eight-point win over Colorado, a good sign for the Wildcats going forward.