LAS VEGAS — This year more than any year seems like the one in which it would be most foolish to make picks based on seeds.
In the end, for me at least, that's still what it came down there.
Call these Pat's picks, if we must, but here's a quick glance at how I believe the Pac-12 Conference tournament will shake out as the first round begins Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Arizona defeats USC
CU defeats Cal
Stanford defeats UCLA
Oregon defeats Washington State
Washington defeats Arizona
CU defeats Oregon State
Arizona State defeats Stanford
Oregon defeats Utah
Washington defeats CU
Arizona State defeats Oregon
Arizona State defeats Washington
I believe the Buffs will get to the semifinals for just the third time, and the first since 2014. For the title, I feel like Arizona State has the balance — offense, defense, rebounding — to win its first Pac-12 Conference tournament championship. In this scenario the league would get two bids to the NCAA Tournament.
On Tuesday, CU's Tyler Bey was named to the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District VIII team. Bey also landed a spot on the AP's version of the All-Pac-12 team, earning second team honors. Bey was named first team All-Pac-12 in a vote of league coaches, but that first team includes 10 players. The AP version features a five-player first team and five-player second team.
Named to the AP first team was Washington's Jaylen Nowell and Matisse Thybulle; Oregon State's Tres Tinkle; USC's Bennie Boatwright; and Robert Franks of Washington State. Tinkle and Nowell were unanimous selections.
Joining Bey on the second team was Utah's Sedrick Barefield, Stanford's KZ Okpala, and the Arizona State duo of Remy Martin and Zylan Cheatham.
Bey has been unstoppable since a second-half benching during a home loss against Oregon State on Jan. 31, recording double-doubles in eight of 10 games since.
"The greatest thing about what I get to do, is I get to see guys like Tyler Bey mature and grow and develop from the time they get on campus to the time they leave campus," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "The amount of growth and maturity that he has shown — not only on the basketball floor but off the floor in the classroom, socially, dealing with (the media)—he's better today than he was as a freshman. He's certainly a better player today than he was as a freshman.
"The consistency, when you keep banging the drum with young men and you tell them what they need to do...I know Tyler can rebound, I know he can defend, I know he can score. When you say, OK, we need that on a consistent basis...and he becomes that consistent, dependable guy, it's very rewarding. The credit goes to him. The players have to make that happen. The coaches just have to set the bar and hold them accountable along the way. That was part of the Oregon State thing was holding Tyler accountable. And he responded."
Bey and point guard McKinley Wright have had an ongoing bet throughout the season about which of them would earn more votes for the Pac-12's All-Defensive team. Wright won that bet, earning honorable mention for the second consecutive year.
"That was my main goal this year — making that all-defensive team," Wright said. "(Bey) owes me some push-ups and suicides (sprints) and all that kind of stuff."