2017 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

Presented by New York Life
Event: March 8-11
T-Mobile Arena | Las Vegas, NV

2017 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament title game preview: No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 2 Arizona

Eric Evans Photography

When: Saturday, March 10 at 8 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. MT
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: ESPN

A week ago Saturday, the Oregon Ducks were in the visiting locker room in Corvallis and the Arizona Wildcats were in the visiting locker room in Tempe. Both Pac-12 hoops powerhouses had just defeated their respective rivals and were reveling about winning the regular-season conference championship.

Now both teams are in Vegas and there won’t be any sharing of a ‘ship. At 8 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. MT on Saturday, top seed Oregon will face No. 2 seed Arizona in the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament title game, with ultimate bragging rights and the conference’s automatic bid The Big Dance on the line.

“Look, anyone who plays Oregon has their hands full,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “I'm really excited for the Pac-12. We have a brand-new arena, world class, a sellout, national television, and you have two teams that are vying for whatever seed we're vying for. I think it speaks volumes for the Pac-12 Conference.”

No. 1 seed Oregon (29-4 overall, 16-2 Pac-12)

Tucked up in Eugene, coach Dana Altman has quietly assembled one of the nation’s most exciting squads. It starts with Pac-12 Player of the Year, Dillon Brooks, but the Ducks are more than just a one-man show. In Friday’s 73-65 win over Cal in the semifinals, Oregon’s role players like Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey stepped it up big-time.

The Ducks have to feel confident with the way they matchup against Arizona. Back on Feb. 4 at Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon handed the ‘Cats a 85-58 loss, the worst under Sean Miller since Dec. 2009. The Ducks shot an eye-popping 65.2 percent, including 64 percent (16-of-25) from 3-point land.

This marks the third straight Pac-12 Tournament title game for the Ducks, who won last year’s championship but lost to Arizona in 2015.

“We want to win this championship,” Dorsey said. “We want to win it back-to-back. Getting another ring, that’s a great feeling.”

Players to watch

Dillon Brooks, F, Junior
Height/weight: 6-7, 225
Key stats: 16.0 ppg, 51.7 FG%, 1.6 3PG

The Pac-12 Player of the Year was limited to just 21 minutes on Friday after picking up his fourth foul just two minutes into the second half. While the Ducks were able to overcome his absence against Cal, the margin of error will be much more slim against the Wildcats. In the win over Arizona in February, Brooks scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds.

Tyler Dorsey, G, Sophomore
Height/weight: 6-4, 195
Key stats: 13.0 ppg, 2.0 3pg, 3.4 rpg

The sharpshooter has been the top performer on Oregon’s offense in Las Vegas, piling up 44 points in two games, including a team-high 23 against Cal on Friday after he went 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Dorsey dropped 23 points and went 6-of-6 from 3-point land in the big win over Arizona in February.

No. 2 seed Arizona (29-4 overall, 16-2 Pac-12)

The Wildcats were fired up on Friday night, rousing the crowd in the final moments of their impressive 86-75 win over No. 3 UCLA. Once again, T-Mobile will feature a sold-out crowd, with many fans sporting their red Arizona shirts and raucous voices on Saturday.

“It’s a great boost for us, and we’re very appreciative of our fan base and how much they support us and the energy they bring us,” Arizona guard Allonzo Trier said. “But at the end of the day, it still comes down to us playing hard and doing the right things and playing well.”

While Arizona features one of the Pac-12’s toughest teams to guard, they also turned up the defense against UCLA, which features the best offense in the country, on paper. Simply put, Miller, the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, has one of the most athletic and talented rosters in the nation.

Players to watch

Lauri Markkanen, F, Freshman
Height/weight: 7-0, 230
Key stats: 15.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 3pg, 48.4 FG%

The freshman sensation from Finland had quite the performance on Friday night, tying his career-high with 29 points while giving the fans plenty to cheer about. What makes Markkanen so dangerous is that he can beat you from 3-point land, off the dribble or in the post.

Kadeem Allen, G, Senior
Height/weight: 6-3, 205
Key stats: 9.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.1 apg

Allen might not have the gaudy stats of his teammates, but the senior is the heart and soul of the team. Miller was gushing on Friday night while talking about Allen’s contributions on and off the floor, noting how rare it is to see a junior-college transfer and redshirt player have such a big impact for a primetime program like Arizona. Aside from bringing his attacking style to the Wildcats’ backcourt, he’s also a menacing, physical defender.

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