Busting Brackets

Pac-12 basketball: 2024 Conference Tournament preview and predictions

Oregon v Arizona
Oregon v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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One of the perks of being in a power conference is having ample opportunities to get multiple teams in the NCAA Tournament. Right now, only two teams seem to be locks to make the Big Dance, and a couple more teams with a little more work to do.

Arizona will be the conference’s top-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens throughout the weekend. Most bracket projections have the Wildcats solidly as the first 2-seed. This isn’t surprising since Arizona has been one of the best teams in college basketball this season, taking down eight Quad 1 teams. The Wildcats' best win on the season was the second game of the season, pulling off the upset on the road against No. 2 Duke. Arizona’s hopes of snagging a 1-seed were most likely dashed on the final day of the regular season when the Wildcats fell to USC.

The other lock for the NCAA Tournament is Washington State. Most projections have WSU as a 6-seed. The Cougars avoided a Quad 4 loss this season and went 6-3 against Quad 1 opponents. WSU picked up two huge wins already this season, beating Arizona twice. If the Cougars can make it to the Pac-12 title game and beat Arizona a third time, WSU should move up a little in the selection committee's eyes. Much like Arizona, Washington State dropped its final regular season game, so it will be interesting to see if the loss to Washington costs the Cougars anything in the eyes of the selection committee.

Colorado is either one of the last teams in or one of the first out depending on which projection you are looking at. If Colorado sneaks into the NCAA Tournament it will be because they had a solid Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes don’t necessarily need to win the conference tournament, but knocking off one of the top two seeds wouldn’t hurt anything. Looking at Colorado’s schedule, you would be surprised that a 22-win team isn’t a lock, but 12 of those wins came against Quad 3 and 4 competition. And only two wins are against Quad 1 teams. Hopes for a tournament bid aren't dashed yet, but there is still work to be done.

Utah, on the other hand, will most likely need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to break into the field of 68. The Utes have wins over teams that should make the NCAA Tournament, but a handful of losses to teams in the bottom half of the Pac-12 down the stretch really hurt Utah’s chances of grabbing one of the final spots in the tournament. Utah has four Quad 1 wins, which will help its chances once the selection process begins. A loss to Oregon on the final day of the regular season might have sealed Utah’s fate, but the only way to ensure an NCAA Tournament bid would be to win the conference.

No other Pac-12 team made it on any of the bracket projections, so the only way they would make the NCAA Tournament would be as an automatic qualifier.