The Pac-12 broke precedent on Selection Sunday, sending four teams into the NCAA Tournament when recent history indicated a maximum of three would be invited.

Yes, this could have been much worse, folks.

The framework for NCAA bids is established in November and December, during the non-conference matchups that create ceilings and floors in the all-important NET rankings. And the Pac-12 was atrocious in the early months of the season.

It won a meager 63.6 percent of the games against outside competition — the lowest non-conference win rate, by far, among the power leagues.

On four previous occasions in the 12-school era, including last season, the Pac-12 won less than 70 percent of its non-conference games. Each time, it advanced no more than three teams to the NCAAs.

This season, the Pac-12 lost four games to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, five to the Mountain West and six to the Big 12 on its stumbling, bumbling path to that 63.6 winning percentage.

But despite the ghastly showing in the games that matter most, the Pac-12 managed to grab a fourth NCAA bid — barely.

Arizona State was the second-to-last team in the field and will play Nevada (and coach Steve Alford) in a First Four matchup on Wednesday.

USC was one line above the Sun Devils, grabbing the No. 10 seed in the East.

Those bubble teams joined powerhouses UCLA and Arizona, which earned No. 2 seeds in the West and South, respectively, to create the Pac-12’s quartet.

Four bids isn’t cause for celebration, but it surely brings a sigh of relief to the conference office and campuses across the footprint.

At one point during the season, the Pac-12 was careening toward two paltry bids.

In that regard, the Pac-12 stands as one of the Selection Sunday winners.

Our look at the landscape …

Winner: Pac-12 South. Referencing the old football divisions allows us to best sketch the imbalance that existed throughout the season. The hardwood power was concentrated in L.A. and Arizona.

Loser: Pac-12 North. The Washington, Oregon and Bay Area schools went 0-for-6 in NCAA bids, but at least they had a football season to remember! (Most of them, anyway.)

Winner: UCLA. The Bruins were seeded on the same line (No. 2) as Arizona but received the coveted placement in the West. Win twice in Sacramento, and they would head (back) to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Loser: Arizona. The Wildcats beat UCLA twice, won the conference tournament and had a better collection of victories than …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Selection Sunday winners and losers: Pac-12 escapes embarrassment as ASU joins USC, UCLA and Arizona in the NCAA field

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