The Pac-12 Conference tournament begins Wednesday in Las Vegas. Arizona might be the obvious NCAA basketball pick to win the title, but is there a better value on the board?
Jason's 2015-16 record as of Mar. 8: 10-9 ATS, 1-2 Total
The last time the Pac-12 Conference had a really strong basketball season, they were still the Pacific-10. Understandable, really. If you're one of today's blue-chip, one-and-done prospects, do you really want to spend that year on the West Coast, away from the media spotlight? And don't even get us started about the demographics in Salt Lake City or Eugene.
Despite these challenges, the Pac-12 has four teams in the rankings going into Champ Week. Any of them could win their conference tournament, which tips off Wednesday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This calls for another one of our patented award-vaporizing five-part series. We'll begin with an overview of the Pac-12 tourney and a look at the NCAA basketball odds boards for all 12 teams involved.
How The West Won
Right off the opening tip, here are the odds in question – we've taken the longest lines available on the futures market at press time for every team. Behold:
Arizona Wildcats +200 (BetOnline)
Oregon Ducks +375 (5Dimes)
Utah Runnin' Utes +400 (William Hill)
California Golden Bears +450 (Ladbrokes)
USC Trojans +2000 (SportsBetting)
Colorado Buffaloes +2700 (5Dimes)
UCLA Bruins +2800 (WagerWeb)
Washington Huskies +4000 (5Dimes)
Oregon State Beavers +4600 (Heritage)
Stanford Cardinal +5500 (5Dimes)
Arizona State Sun Devils +8000 (Ladbrokes)
Washington State Cougars +60000 (WagerWeb)
These odds pretty much fall in line with how the teams stack up according to the advanced stats. Oregon (25-6 SU, 17-11 ATS) won the Pac-12 regular-season title to sit at No. 8 on the AP poll, but No. 15 Arizona (24-7 SU, 16-15 ATS) outperformed everyone else in the conference. The betting public will not be fooled – not this time, at least.
No. 12 Utah (24-7 SU, 14-14-1 ATS) and No. 24 Cal (22-9 SU, 18-13 ATS) round out the most viable candidates to win the Pac-12 tourney. If you're looking for a deep sleeper, USC (20-11 SU, 17-13-1 ATS) and especially Colorado (21-10 SU, 17-11 ATS) deserve some attention. That's about it. Definitely avoid UCLA (15-16 SU, 11-20 ATS) at this price; the Bruins are not what they used to be.
Bottom Bracket Wrench
The tournament itself is set up so that each of the top four seeds (Oregon, Utah, Cal and Arizona) gets a bye into the second-round. All the first-round games take place Wednesday; we'll have our NCAA basketball picks for those games in Part 2 of this series. Getting the No. 4 seed does complicate things for the Wildcats. They'll face the winner of the game between No. 5 Colorado and No. 12 Wazzu, which will almost certainly be the Buffs.
The Utes should meet some resistance in the second round, too, provided No. 7 USC beats No. 10 UCLA. Otherwise, it looks like smooth sailing into the semifinals for Oregon and Cal. Come back soon for our official first-round picks, and may the sphere be with you.