By Andrew Kahn
The Pac-12 began the postseason with 10 consecutive wins and still has four teams alive in tournament play. For the second straight year, the Sweet 16 includes three Pac-12 teams, as Arizona, Utah, and UCLA advanced in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford is still going in the NIT, while Oregon, Arizona State, and Colorado saw their seasons come to an end.READ MORE: Yuba City Neighborhood 'Traumatized' After High Speed Drivers Repeatedly Crash Into Homes
Arizona, the 2 seed in the West Region, had no problem with Texas Southern in the first round, maintaining a 21-point first half lead to win 93-72. On Saturday against 10 seed Ohio State, the Wildcats found their groove offensively in the second half and pulled away to win 73-58. T.J. McConnell was the driving force, scoring 19 points and adding six assists, six rebounds, and five steals, all while holding Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell to 3 of 19 shooting. Arizona moves on to play coach Sean Miller’s former school, 6 seed Xavier, on Thursday (7:17 p.m PT, TBS) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The winner will play the Wisconsin-North Carolina winner for a spot in the Final Four.
Utah wasn’t playing its best heading into the NCAA Tournament but has rediscovered its form to reach the Sweet 16. The fifth-seeded Utes used their defense to beat Stephen F. Austin on Thursday, 57-50, and their offense to top Georgetown 75-64 on Saturday. Freshman center Jakob Poeltl shot a combined 12 for 13 from the field. Utah faces No. 1 seed Duke on Friday in Houston (6:45 p.m. PT, CBS).
Should the Utes pull the upset, they could face Pac-12 foe UCLA in the next round. The Tournament selection committee was criticized for giving UCLA a bid, but the 11th-seeded Bruins have made the most of it. Bryce Alford was incredible against SMU, making 9 of 11 three-pointers for his 27 points. He hit four in the final 3:40, each basket more difficult than the one before. The final one, which gave UCLA the 60-59 win, came on a controversial goaltending call. On Saturday, UCLA coasted to a 92-75 win over 14 seed UAB, which had upset Iowa State. Center Tony Parker scored a career-high 28 points. A huge challenge awaits in the form of 2 seed Gonzaga (4:15 p.m. PT, CBS).READ MORE: Trap, Tag, Haze: New Efforts To Get Bears To Behave In Tahoe Area
Ducks Are Done
Oregon’s season is over but the short-handed Ducks should be proud of their accomplishments. On Friday against Oklahoma State, Pac-12 Player of the Year Joseph Young dominated the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to lead Oregon to victory. The Ducks were tied with No. 1 seed Wisconsin late in the second half but lost 72-65. Young’s only rest in the Tournament came in the closing seconds against Wisconsin; the senior scored 57 points in the two games.
Other Postseason Performances
In the NIT, Stanford beat UC Davis and Rhode Island and will play Vanderbilt tonight at home (6 p.m. PT, ESPN). A win sends the Cardinal to the semifinals in Madison Square Garden. Chasson Randle scored a career-high 35 points against URI and needs 27 to break the school’s career scoring record. After beating defending NCAA Tournament champ UConn, Arizona State was bounced from the NIT by Richmond in overtime on Sunday. Coach Herb Sendek is reportedly meeting with the school’s athletic director today to discuss his future with the program. Colorado won a game in the College Basketball Invitational before losing at Seattle yesterday.MORE NEWS: While New California Stimulus Could Go Long Way For Some, Economist Says It May Bring No Benefits
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.