Predicting how many Pac-12 teams will make the men's NCAA Tournament

How many teams out of the 12 will get to go dancing this year? Will the Wildcats keep up the good work? Will the Ducks, Buffs, and Cougs fall just short? Will USC and Oregon State make surprise appearances?

Oregon coach Dana Altman talks to his team during a time-out against Kent State at Matthew Knight.
Oregon coach Dana Altman talks to his team during a time-out against Kent State at Matthew Knight. / Chris Pietsch/The Register Guard / USA
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The bad news is that fans still have about nine weeks until March Madness games start. The good news is that it is looking very likely quite a few Pac-12 teams will go dancing this postseason.

With the Arizona Wildcats currently ranked at No. 11 in the nation, the team is nearly guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament this year, barring any unforeseen disasters.

Meanwhile, the rest of the teams at the top of the conference; Oregon, Colorado, and Washington State, need to go just above .500 on their games for the rest of the season.

The rest of the conference – Arizona State, Stanford, Utah, UCLA, Cal, Washington, Oregon State, and USC – is going to have to win out if they want a chance at the tournament. 

For Oregon State or USC to even see the NIT Tournament this year, the Trojans and the Beavers probably have to win the rest of their games.

As of right now, I believe that four teams from the Pac-12 will get a spot in the 68-team March Madness bracket.

With that groundwork laid out, here’s what I specifically think needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to make it to the men’s NCAA Tournament this season:

  • No. 11 Arizona’s spot is nearly clinched
  • Oregon and Colorado need to win about 6-7 of their next 11 games
  • Washington State needs to win about 8-9 of their next 11 games
  • Arizona State, Stanford, and Utah need to win 10/11 games and win at least 2 games in the Pac-12 Tournament
  • Cal must win out (11/11) and make it to the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament
  • USC and Oregon State need to win 11/11 to make it to the NIT Tournament

Here’s who I think, as of right now, will actually make the tournament:

  • Arizona Wildcats
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Colorado Buffaloes
  • Utah Utes

While Washington State has stepped up in recent weeks, I don’t think the Cougars can hold onto the momentum that they have built. I think the team will lose steam as they head toward the conference tournament.

Since Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington State would have byes in the first round of the Pac-12 tourney, were the season to end today, I would say they will most likely all make it to the semifinals of the conference tournament.

If Wazzu does end up losing steam and dropping from 4th in the conference, I think that Utah and Arizona State both stand a good chance at making a run at the conference tournament title.

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