The Pac-12 got off to a great start to the basketball postseason, with 3 teams winning opening round NIT games and another in the CBI, all by double figure margins.
Oregon had the best night, and the best crowd, as the Ducks rolled past LSU 96-76. Oregon got their offense rolling early and never looked back. The Tigers were down 17 well before halftime, as well as at the break. The Ducks got 5 players in double digits, led by Devoe Joseph, with 25. Garrett Sim added 15, but the real difference was that Oregon was getting interior production to compliment their usual solid perimeter play, with Tony Woods coming through with 14 points.
The Ducks' next action will be a Sunday evening game at Matt Court, at 5 PM, against Iowa.
Where as Oregon had a good turnout besides the students and band, Washington played in a mostly empty Alaska Airlines Arena outside the student section. It took most of the game, as Texas-Arlington played the Huskies close until the last few minutes, when Washington finally pulled away to an 82-72 win. It was the Terrance Ross show, as Tony Wroten produced more assists than baskets. Ross rolled to a game high 23 points, including a first half stretch where he scored 11 consecutive points for the Huskies, ranging from a dunk to a midrange jumper to a 3 pointer.
The Huskies will be in action again Friday night, and as the overall #1 seed to the NIT, they will be at home. The opposition will be Northwestern.
Stanford played in an almost unoccupied Maples Pavilion, but that's normal, and had their hands full most of the night as well, but pulled away from Cleveland St. late, and secured a 76-65 win. Aaron Bright came off the Cardinal bench for a game high 17 points, including 8 straight for Stanford, in an 8-2 run that took just over a minute, and made it a 73-54 game.
The Cardinal will have to wait until the outcome of today's Illinois-St-Mississippi game to know who and where they play next. Stanford would host Illinois St., but will have to travel to Oxford, MS, if the Rebs win.
In CBI action, Washington St. won their first round game, downing San Francisco 89-75 on the Dons' own floor, behind a game high 25 points by Brock Motum. The Cougars will next get the winner of tonight's Wyoming-North Dakota St. game.
Today, in addition to Oregon St. taking on Western Illinois in the first round of the CBI, California takes on South Florida in the play-in round of the NCAA Tournament, and Arizona hosts Bucknell in the NIT.
2 Pac-12 Women's teams are in action as well (Oregon St. plays UC-Davis tomorrow at Gill Coliseum at 7 PM), as Colorado hosts Northern Colorado, and Washington hosts Cal-Poly. (It will be interesting to see how well the Husky women draw compared to the men last night; it won't take many to make them the "big draw" of the week in Seattle!
The Pac-12 didn't get a lot of respect nationally, and that's due to a lot of unspectacular non-conference opponents and a lot of losses to those that were back in November and December. There's a lot of the same deal on the women's side as well.
In defense of the conference, there were a lot of young players and new players in the conference this year, and teams rightfully spent the pre-conference portion of the season getting things sorted out. Unfortunately, those pre-season games now mean far more than conference championships. At this point, all the conference can do is go out and win. Preferably, win a lot, by a lot. So far, so good.
Go Beavers and Go Pac-12!