Tournament to be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arizona State Sun Devils vs Oregon Ducks (-14.5, 154.5)
Arizona State opened tournament play Wednesday by shooting 56 percent from the field and receiving 27 points and 13 rebounds from forward Obinna Oleka in a 98-88 overtime victory over ninth-seeded Stanford. The game marked the highest-scoring contest in Pac-12 tournament history, and fans can expect another up-tempo affair Thursday as the Sun Devils face an Oregon team that ranked third in the league in scoring at 79.2 points per game. The Sun Devils boast three of the top 12 scorers in the league in Torian Graham (18.2), Tra Holder (16.7) and Shannon Evans II (15.2), who erupted for 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in last month’s one-point loss to Oregon. Coach Bobby Hurley’s five starters accounted for 96 of the team’s 98 points in the first-round win over Stanford, so fatigue could be a factor against the rested Ducks.
Oregon was tested by the Sun Devils on Feb. 2 in Eugene before Pac-12 player of the year Dillon Brooks took over in the final three minutes and pushed the Ducks to a 71-70 victory. Brooks averaged 17.9 points in conference play to lead the Ducks, who enter the tournament on a six-game winning streak but know they need to win the title to secure a top seed in the NCAA Tournament’s West region. “The West is going to be decided on who wins the Pac-12 tournament,” Brooks told reporters. “We want to be that, so we have home fans and a lot of energy. We know what’s at stake, and we’re trying to win out.” Junior forward Jordan Bell was named the league’s defensive player of the year after finishing in the top 10 in rebounding (7.9), steals (1.4) and blocks (2.1), while also scoring a career-best 10.1 points per game on 63 percent shooting.
* Sun Devils are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
* Ducks are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 7-0 in Sun Devils last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
* Under is 5-1 in Ducks last 6 vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
* Underdog is 6-1-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
California Golden Bears vs Utah Utes (-2.5, 130)
California lost five of its final six games of the regular season and received a surprising test in Wednesday’s 67-62 first-round victory over 12th-seeded Oregon State. Sophomore forward Ivan Rabb, who is expected to declare for the NBA Draft after the season, contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Bears allowed Oregon State to shoot 58.8 percent from 3-point range. The Bears edged Utah 77-75 in double overtime at home on Feb. 2 before turning in one of their worst efforts of the season in a 74-44 loss to the Utes in Salt Lake City on March 2. The Bears lead the Pac-12 in scoring defense but were held to a total of 90 points in road losses to Utah and Colorado last week and need more production from senior wing Jabari Bird and freshman point guard Charlie Moore.
Utah closed the regular season with three straight wins but could be without two key players Thursday in guard Devon Daniels (suspension) and forward David Collette (concussion), with both listed as game-time decisions. Junior forward Kyle Kuzma was named to the All-Pac-12 first team after leading the Utes in scoring (16.0) and rebounding (9.6), and his battle with the dynamic Rabb will be a key matchup Thursday. Utah’s lone senior, guard Lorenzo Bonam, scored a career-high 26 points in last Saturday’s 67-59 victory over Stanford as the Utes reached the 20-win mark for the third consecutive season. Bonam ranks third on the team in scoring at 12.7 points for the Utes, who average 78.9 points and lead the league in rebounding margin at plus-7.4.
* Golden Bears are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games.
* Utes are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 4-1 in Golden Bears last 5 vs. Pacific-12.
* Over is 9-1 in Utes last 10 neutral site games.
* Golden Bears are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Colorado Buffaloes vs Arizona Wildcats (-7.5, 138.5)
6-5 senior guard Derrick White had one of his lowest-scoring games of
the season in the only meeting between these teams, scoring seven points
on 3-for-7 shooting in the 82-73 loss at Arizona on Jan. 7. The
Buffaloes got on a roll as the No. 6 seed in 2012 and beat Arizona in
the championship game, but their tournament runs have ended with losses
to the Wildcats in three of the four years since. Colorado has shown it
can still rise up and take down a highly ranked team, beating then-No.
10 ranked Oregon 75-65 on Jan. 28 in Boulder, Colo. Xavier Johnson is
another senior who should be inspired to keep his college career alive,
and he’s coming off back-to-back 19-point, six-rebound games.
owns the most tournament victories (27) in the 19-year history of the
event, but they’ll need to beat a confident Colorado team that overcame a
19-point deficit to beat Washington State in the first round. Allonzo
Trier is averaging 23.3 points in the past four games for the Wildcats,
and the 6-5 shooting guard doesn’t possess the wear and tear that many
players are feeling this time of the year. Trier was suspended the first
19 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug and the
tournament opener will be just his 13th game this season. Trier figures
to be matched against White, who scored 19 of his 26 points in the
second half to spearhead Wednesday’s comeback against Washington State.
Lauri Markkanen is the player the Wildcats need to be concerned about.
He finished below is 15.2 scoring average in eight of the past 10 games
and the 7-foot freshman forward is shooting 37.2 percent from the floor
in the last nine to drop his season mark to 48.4. Rawle Alkins is
another key freshman for Arizona, and the 6-4 guard showed his growth by
scoring 11 points and grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds in the regular
season finale Saturday against Arizona State.
* Buffaloes are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games following a straight up win.
* Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 12-3 in Buffaloes last 15 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 overall.
* Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Southern California Trojans vs UCLA Bruins (-10, 169.5)
The Bruins finished the regular season ranked third in the coaches’ poll and defeated every team on their schedule, avenging losses to USC, Arizona and Oregon the second time around. The Bruins lead the nation in points per game (91.3), field-goal percentage (52.6), assists per game (21.7), total assists (674), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.90) and made a school-record 314 3-pointers. UCLA suffered a massive scare when freshman T.J. Leaf had to be helped off the floor eight days ago, but Bruins coach Steve Alford said he “fully anticipates” Leaf will be ready for the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal Thursday night
The Trojans didn’t let a 10-point deficit late in the first half of their first-round game against Washington get them rattled, instead slicing it to two at the half and then passing the Huskies for good with about 17 1/2 minutes to go in the 78-73 victory. USC lost to UCLA on Feb. 18 at Pauley Pavilion 102-70 as Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double, putting up 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but before that the Trojans won four in a row in the series. Jordan McLaughlin likely will spend time guarding Ball, and Ball can’t relax on defense either, as McLaughlin had another sensational performance in the first round, finishing with 11 points, six assists and no turnovers. In the last four games, the junior point guard is averaging 14.2 points, shooting 50 percent from the floor and has 35 assists with just six giveaways.
* Trojans are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Bruins are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
* Trojans are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
* Over is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.