Paradoxically, the fact that the Pac-12 is having its worst season in years actually makes its conference tournament one of the country’s most intriguing. After all, the intensity will be dialed up to 11 as teams accustomed to power-conference status scramble for position in what could easily be just a two-bid league this year.
In that pressure cooker, one player who could stand tall is Cal senior Jorge Gutierrez. His Golden Bears are likely to be the No. 2 seed in the conference tourney, and his combination of scoring punch, defensive acumen and experience could be just the formula his team needs to claim the conference’s automatic bid.
Herein, a closer look at Gutierrez’s place among the dozen players who will have the most impact on the results of next week’s Pac-12 tournament.