NCAA Tournament Predictions 2012: 4 Pac-12 Teams Will Receive Bids

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NCAA Tournament Predictions 2012: 4 Pac-12 Teams Will Receive Bids
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

That headline is laughable—and probably punchable—for the Big Ten, Big East and Big 12 readers in the crowd.

The Pac-12 is experiencing a down year, currently behind such powerhouse conferences as Missouri Valley (led by No. 24 Wichita State) and Conference USA (led by Southern Miss) in the RPI.

Early NBA defections have been a killer to the conference's usual power brokers. 

Derrick Williams (Timberwolves) would be in his junior season in an Arizona uniform and Brandon Jennings (Bucks), if he had qualified, would be a senior in Tucson.

DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) would be in his last year at USC.

This is supposed to be Klay Thompson's (Warriors) final season in Pullman. Same for former Washington guard Isaiah Thomas (Kings).

Jrue Holiday (76ers) and Tyler Honeycutt (Kings) would still be at UCLA, a senior and junior respectively.

But premature departures to the pros are a fact for all of the major conferences. That's not the sole reason behind the Pac-12's rugged season.

The overall coaching hierarchy seems diminished, apart from the elite class that makes up the top four (Mike Montgomery, Sean Miller, Lorenzo Romar, Ben Howland).

The number of star players is down overall.

And the numbers lay out the truth: The conference has failed to beat a ranked opponent all year.

All those factors mean the following argument is difficult to make. But I'm a glutton for outraged comments, so here it goes:

The Pac-12 will receive four berths in the NCAA Tournament, last year's expansion of the field allowing the conference to make a decent showing in bracket numbers. And the teams that make it to the tourney will fare better than expected.

Remember, the RPI is a huge liar. There is still enough talent at the top of this conference to make four bids completely legit.

Here are the four Pac-12 teams that deserve to be in the NCAA bracket:

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