Nine Pac-12 teams head to postseason play
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, COLORADO, OREGON, STANFORD and UCLA earned bids to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, while CALIFORNIA and UTAH received bids to participate in the National Invitation Tournament. OREGON STATE will participate in the College Basketball Invitational.
“The multiple postseason selections speaks to the strength of the Pac-12 this season,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Our regular-season champion Arizona spent all year either atop or near the top of polls, and the Pac-12 was as deep as any conference top to bottom.”
UCLA (26-8) earned the Pac-12’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth on Saturday after defeating Arizona, 75-71, in the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament championship game. The Bruins, who are making their 46th NCAA Tournament appearance, are the fourth seed and will face 12-seeded Tulsa on Friday in the South Region’s second round in San Diego, Calif.
Arizona (30-4), the Pac-12‘s regular season champion, claimed the No. 1 seed in the West Region and will meet Weber State on Friday in San Diego, Texas. The Wildcats are making their 31st appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their sixth as the No. 1 seed.
Arizona State (21-11) is the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region where it will meet Texas Thursday in Milwaukee, Wis., Colorado (23-11) locks in an eight seed in the South Region and will face Pittsburgh Thursday in Orlando, Fla., Oregon (23-9) fills the bracket as a seven seed in the West Region and will meet BYU on Thursday in Milwaukee, Wis., while Stanford (21-12) rounds out the at-large selections for the Pac-12 as a No. 10 seed in the South Region and will meet New Mexico on Thursday in St. Louis, Mo.
The six teams participating in the NCAA Tournament equal a league-best that was achieved four other times (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009). Last year the Pac-12 had five teams in the Tournament field. The 11 teams over the past two years are three more than the three years before combined and indicate the improvement of the Conference’s depth and overall strength.
Utah (21-11) opens first round NIT action on the road at St. Mary’s Tuesday, while California (19-13) will host Utah Valley Wednesday. For the Utes, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2009, while the Bears are making their seventh consecutive postseason appearance.
Oregon State (16-15) will host Radford Wednesday in the opening round of the CBI. The Beavers are making their fourth CBI appearance and captured the CBI postseason crown in 2009.