The Brackets were released earlier today, and the Pac-10 pulled away with six bids. Here's our breakdown of the Pac-10 teams fortunate enough to make it to the dance floor.
UCLA: #2 seed
UCLA was deserving of a #1 seed in some people's opinion, but thanks to two consecutive losses to end the season, and a sub-par performance in the Pac-10 Tournament, they didn't get it. If UCLA would have beaten Cal, I think they would have played in a close game against Oregon, and the winner of the game would go on to win the tournament. Obviously, UCLA wasn't so fortunate, and Oregon won the tourney no problem. If you take a look at the four number 1 seeds, all of them won their conference tournaments. UCLA fares better in the Pac-10 tournament, they get the number 1. They didn't, so they've got to be happy with the #2 seeding. They face Weber State Thursday.
Oregon: #3 seed
The Ducks boosted their stock greatly with their decisive win in the Pac-10 tournament. The week prior to the tournament, I saw Oregon projected as high as a #7 seed, but they stirred things up when they showed off their high flying offense against Cal and USC. I expect to see them go deep into the tournament this year, and I don't think they will have any problems getting to the Sweet 16. Wisconsin could pose a threat, but I still like Oregon. If the Ducks were to get past Wisconsin, that could set up a match up with Florida, which is where things could get interesting.
Washington State: #3 seed
Washington State has got to be the team being ripped up the most by the analysts right now. Almost every bracket I have seen or show I have watched has picked Oral Roberts to beat Washington State in the first round, but I just don't think it's going to happen. I don't think the Cougs are getting the credit they deserve, and we'll just have to wait and see if they can back it up on the court. They didn't get a bad draw to get to the Sweet 16, and they would face the winner of Vanderbilt/ George Washington if they beat Oral Roberts. After that, I don't think they would be able to play with Georgetown, another team that you could make a case for a #1 seed.
USC: #5 seed
USC draws Arkansas in the first round, and has to play in one of the always intersting 5/12 games. Every year at least one of these games is an upset, and this is the one I see going the way of the underdog this year. I'm thinkin' next year is the Trojans' year, but if they are able to get past Arkansas, I don't think there's any chance of them beating the Longhorns.
Arizona: #8 seed
Arizona/ Purdue is an interesting match up that could easily go either way. It seems like one of those pesky games on the bracket every year that you know you're going to get wrong no matter what team you choose. I still haven't decided whether to pick Arizona or Purdue, but I have made up my mind that neither team can play with Florida.
Stanford: #11 seed
If you were watching the Selection Show on CBS like I was, you know that Stanford was the only bubble team from the Pac-10. Ironically, they were the last team announced of the field of 65. They draw Louisville, a team they have the potential to beat if the Lopez brothers show up to play. Stanford is one of those teams that could beat any team in the field if the planets were aligned. They have solid post play as we all know, but they also have some tremendously talented guards in Hill, Washington, Johnson, Goods, and several others. They are very deep, and eight of their players average over 13 minutes a game.
There we have it, folks. The Pac-10's representatives in the Big Dance.
We will begin to roll out our bracket region-by-region starting tomorrow.
Go Beavers! (Even though it doesn't really apply here...)