Lucky No. 12 for the Pac-12 Conference
Oregon was largely considered to be the most under-seeded team in this year's NCAA tournament, receiving a "12" next to its name on Selection Sunday. Looking at things glass-half-full-style, however, Rob Clark of the Register-Guard earlier this week wrote that it could be a lucky No. 12 for the Ducks.
Turned out to be a lucky No. 12 for the Pac-12 as a whole. Not only did Oregon take care of Oklahoma State 68-55, but 12th-seeded Cal was also able to upend fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61. The Pac-12 is the first conference in NCAA tournament history to advance two 12 seeds in the same event.
As Clark points out in his article, No. 12 seeds had won 38 games against No. 5 seeds coming into this year's Big Dance. With Oregon and Cal's wins today, a No. 12 seed has knocked off a No. 5 seed at least once in 26 of the 29 years since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
But the Pac-12 hasn't always been so lucky with its conference number when it comes to NCAA seeding. According to CBS Sports' year-by-year NCAA tournament history, it took until 2009 for a Pac-12 team that was seeded 12th to win a first-round game (Arizona did the deed against future league mate Utah). Before that, 12th-seeded Pac-12 teams had gone 0-5 in the NCAAs (if you count Utah's first round exit in 2002, back when it was a member of the Mountain West Conference).
The conference's luck has changed dramatically however. Its teams are now 3-1 in tournament openers when seeded 12th since 2009.
Including twice today.