With the conclusion of the regular season today, the bracket is set for the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament, which will run from next Thursday through Sunday at Key Arena in Seattle. Oregon St.'s first game will be Friday night at 6 PM. As the #1 seed via their regular season championship, the Beavers (26-3, 16-2) are 1 of 4 teams with a first day bye.
All of the games will be carried on the Pac-12 Network except for the championship game Sunday night at 6 PM, which will be the Sunday night featured game on ESPN.
The tournament tips off at 11:30 AM Thursday, with 7th seed Washington St. (16-13, 7-11) taking on 10th seed Oregon (13-16, 6-12). The winner will play again Friday morning at the same time, against #2 seed Arizona St. (26-4, 15-3). The Sun Devils finished second, 1 game behind Oregon St.
The Cougars finished tied with USC for 7th place, but held the tie-breaker over the Trojans on the strength of their head to head win. The Ducks finished tied with Colorado after their 62-55 upset of Stanford today, but lost the tie-breaker to the Buffs, who won the only head to head meeting.
The second game in Seattle, at 2 PM Thursday, pits 6th seed UCLA (12-17,8 10-) against 11th seed Arizona (10-19, 3-15), with the winner advancing to a 2 PM Friday game against 3rd seed Stanford (21-9, 13-5).
The Bruins finished alone in 6th place, while the 'Cats wound up tied for last with Utah, whom they split the season series with, but got the 11th seed based on their upset of Stanford. The Cardinal finished tied for 3rd with California, and split their regular season series with the Bears, but earned the higher seed when they beat Oregon St. 69-58 Thursday night.
Thursday evening starts at 6 PM, with 8th seed USC (15-4-, 7-11) taking on 9th seed Colorado (13-16, 6-12). The winner will be Oregon St.'s opponent Friday night. A win by the Trojans on Thursday night will set up a rematch of last season's tournament title game.
The final first round game at 8:30 PM pits 5th seed Washington (22-8, 11-7) against 12.th seed Utah (9-20, 3-15). The Utes are the only team in the conference that has to win a game in Seattle to have a double digit win year. The winner of that game meets 4th seed California (21-8, 13-5).
Friday afternoon's winners will meet Saturday night at 6 PM in the first semi-final, and the evening's winners match up at 8:30 PM, which means Oregon St. could face a rematch with California, whom they beat Saturday afternoon 73-55 to claim the conference regular season title out-right. The Beavers already had the #1 seed sewn up as a result of having swept Arizona St.
Of note, while its possible that the Beavers will meet a revenge minded bunch of Bears, they won't have to face both them and Washington, one of only 2 conference teams to beat them this season.
Oregon St. also won't have to contend with both Stanford and Arizona St. either, as they would run into each other before either could encounter the Beavers (unless one or both were upset before that).
The timing of the draws will make it feasible for Beaver Nation to turn out in number in support of their team as they did last year at Key Arena. Oregon St. is the second closest team to the tournament site, and got good starting times, though its odd that the #1 and #2 seeds play earlier in the day Friday than the #3 and #4 seeds. The Stanford/California conference pecking order dies hard.
Only 3 teams besides Stanford have ever won the Pa-12 Tournament, with Arizona St. winning the inaugural edition in 2002, UCLA in 2006, and of course USC (over OSU) last year.