First, the excellent news: It’s nonetheless unhealthy, and it’s nonetheless anyone’s bracket. Much less good: Even what’s left of the 2019 Pac-12 males’s basketball discipline — aged, fading starlet that it’s, the Norma Desmond of the Energy 5 subset — isn’t unhealthy sufficient handy the championship trophy over to a bunch that turns the ball over 23 occasions in 40 minutes. In opposition to Cal.

“I’m unsure we deserved to win this recreation,” mentioned Colorado males’s basketball coach Tad Boyle advised the Pac-12 Community, fairly rightly, after his Buffaloes eked out a 56-51 win Wednesday within the first spherical of the league tourney in Las Vegas. “Undecided if anybody deserved to win it, to be trustworthy.”

Let’s imagine the identical of the loop as a complete, however bids are bids, and one among these mugs goes to should punch that computerized ticket on Saturday night time, even when mentioned mugs dance like Elaine Benes all the best way as much as the trophy presentation. With mid-major No. 1 seeds flaming out left and proper at their respective tourneys over the earlier week, and given Washington’s regular-season-ending stinker at residence to Oregon final weekend, the Pac-12 appears to be like as ripe for a Looney Tunes second as some other bracket nonetheless kicking. Which could clarify why honored ESPN speaking head Jay Bilas hopped with each ft onto the Buffs Bandwagon Wednesday night time, tweeting:

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I wouldn’t be shocked to see Colorado take the PAC-12 Match. Washington and Arizona State are one of the best groups, however behind McKinley Wright and Tyler Bey, the Buffs can steal the Computerized Bid.

Now earlier than you run to the window at Mandalay Bay, some caveats apply. If Wright has one other Cal recreation in him (18 factors, seven rebounds, 4 treys) or, higher but, two, Katy bar the door. If Bey has one other Cal recreation in him (1-for-6 from the ground, seven turnovers), effectively, Katy defend your eyes.

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The fourth-seeded Oregon State Beavers (18-12) are up subsequent for No. 5 seed CU (20-11) late Thursday afternoon, and the one assembly between the 2 squads, again in Boulder on Jan. 31, was a story of two halves: The Buffs squandered leads of 40-35 on the half and 63-61with 5:55 left solely to fall, 76-74, in what turned out to be CU’s final residence setback of the marketing campaign. Group Tad outscored the Beavs 26-16 within the paint throughout the first half however suffered a 22-12 deficit within the submit throughout the second, and, not like soccer, there was no Mike McIntyre or Jake Luton to level fingers at throughout the submit mortem.

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However get past that, to Bilas’ level, something is feasible. The winner of CU-OSU will get the top-seeded Huskies or No. eight seed USC, and the Trojans already did the Buffs a favor by knocking out Arizona, provided that the Wildcats had eradicated CU from the Pac-12 tourney in every of the final three league tourneys and in 5 of the final six. Arizona State and Oregon, a preferred sleeper decide, are on the opposite facet of the bracket.

Nothing comes straightforward in Vegas, however for the Buffs, who haven’t sniffed a semi since 2014, the dance flooring has hardly ever seemed this vast open, or this manageable. Simply as long as they don’t shoot themselves within the foot once more earlier than the music actually begins.


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