The Pac-12 is in the midst of a down year–No. 1 seed Arizona is just 25th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings, and no one outside of the ‘Cats are a lock for the NCAA tournament–but that doesn’t mean the conference tournament will lack entertainment.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch this week’s action in Las Vegas:
Live Stream Info
The tournament starts on Wednesday, March 7, and concludes with the championship on Saturday, March 10. All 11 games will be televised nationally on either Pac-12 Network or Fox Sports 1 (full schedule and bracket can be found here), but if you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch a live stream of every Pac-12 tournament game by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
FuboTV: Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports 1 are both included in the “Fubo Premier” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch any game live on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
Additionally, if you want to watch a replay of any game, FuboTV has included DVR, as well as a “Lookback” feature, which allows you to watch any previously aired sporting event up to 72 hours after the game without having to DVR it.
Sling TV: Fox Sports 1 is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package, while Pac-12 Network is included in the “Sports Extra” add-on. You can include both in your free 7-day trial, and you can then watch any game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Additionally, if you want to watch a replay of any game, DVR can be added when signing up for your free trial.
Games on Fox Sports 1: If you’re only interested in watching the games on Fox Sports 1, both DirecTV Now and Hulu With Live TV include FS1 in their live-TV streaming packages, though they don’t currently offer Pac-12 Network.
On offensive talent alone, Arizona stands as the clear favorite. Freshman DeAndre Ayton is the Conference Player of the Year, the most efficient offensive player from a power conference this season, and potentially the No. 1 pick in June. Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins, who are also headed to the NBA after this season, can both fill it up, while Dusan Ristic is a good role player down low.
But the problem for the Wildcats, beyond the potential distractions stemming from the wiretap controversy, is a defensive one, mainly on the perimeter. They don’t force turnovers (269th in the country in defensive turnover percentage), they don’t defend the 3 (239th in three-point percentage defense) and they rank just 95th in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency ratings.
Pomeroy’s model gives Arizona just a 24.2 percent chance to cut down the nets in Vegas this week, which is the lowest among all conference tournament favorites this week:
After Arizona, things get a bit murky, as there a handful of teams with both potential but none without warts.
USC won four of five down the stretch to get the No. 2 seed, and they aren’t short on offensive talent, but they went 0-3 against the other top contenders (Arizona and UCLA) and are without Bennie Boatwright. UCLA has wins over Kentucky, Arizona and USC (twice), and they have a Top-20 offense, but they’re also 111th in defensive efficiency.
Utah is one of the hotter teams in the conference with six wins in their last seven, but they also went just 1-5 against the Top-3 seeds. Arizona State is one of the more peculiar cases, as they amazingly boast wins over two potential No. 1 seeds (Kansas and Xavier), and they’re a solid 38th in Pomeroy’s rankings, but they completely fell apart in Pac-12 play.
Oregon beat both Arizona schools a couple weeks ago, and they have the kind of inside-outside play that can be really dangerous, but they went just 3-6 away from home inside the Pac-12. Even No. 7 seed Washington has potential, as their 2-3 zone with Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle at the top can cause fits like they did in wins against Kansas, USC and Arizona, but they crumbled down the stretch and went just 3-5 after a massive sweep of the Arizona schools in early February.
Put it all together, and you have a wide-open tournament featuring a bevy of teams fighting for their NCAA tournament lives. That should make for four very entertaining days of basketball in Vegas.