In what has been a down year for Pac-12 men’s basketball, the conference sent only two teams, Cal and Colorado, to the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament. Washington, Arizona, Oregon and Stanford will all be making an appearance in the 2012 NIT tournament.
To get the official printable 2012 NIT bracket click here.
For both Washington and Arizona, this was a season in which one crucial win could have made the difference between going to the NIT and going to the NCAA basketball tournament.
The Washington Huskies (21-10), who finished the regular season ranked first in the Pac-12, received an NIT No. 1 seed. The Huskies will be going up against No. 8 seed Texas-Arlington (24-8) on March 13 (7 p.m. Pacific, ESPNU).
Washington faced two AP Top 25 teams this season, losing to both. The Huskies' first loss to a ranked team was to then-No. 11 Marquette, 79-77. Marquette finished the season ranked No. 9 in the AP Top 25.
Washington’s second loss to a ranked team was to then-No. 7 Duke, 86-80. The Duke Blue Devils finished the season ranked No. 6 in the AP Top 25 and second in the ACC.
A lot of criticism of Washington occurred after the Huskies lost 92-73 at home to South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits won the Summit Conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid this year, and will be making their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
The Arizona Wildcats (23-11), who finished the regular season ranked fourth in the Pac-12 and lost to Colorado in the Pac-12 tournament title game, received an NIT No. 1 seed. The Wildcats will be facing No. 8 seed Bucknell on March 14 (6 p.m. Pacific, ESPN2).
Arizona was widely expected to dominate in the preseason. However, the Wildcats failed to beat any major non-conference teams.
The Wildcats suffered a 61-57 loss to then-unranked San Diego State this season. The Aztecs are now ranked No. 18 are the top team in the Mountain West. Arizona also lost 71-60 this season to then-unranked and now No. 24 Gonzaga.
The Wildcats' only game against an AP Top 25 team this season was a 78-72 loss to then-No. 12 Florida.
Like other teams in the Pac-12 this year, Arizona's performance against top teams outside of the Pac-12 has been far from stellar. However, none of the Wildcats' losses were complete blowouts either.
The Oregon Ducks (22-9), who finished the regular season tied for second with Cal in the Pac-12, received an NIT No. 3 seed. The Ducks will face No. 6 seed LSU (18-14) on March 13 (6:30 p.m. Pacific, ESPN).
The Stanford Cardinal (21-11), who finished the regular season seventh in the Pac-12, received an NIT No. 3 seed. The Cardinal will be facing No. 6 seed Cleveland State (22-10) on March 13 (8 p.m. Pacific, ESPN2).
The first round of the NIT is on March 13 and 14. The second round takes place March 15-19. The quarterfinals occurs on March 20 and 21. The 2012 NIT men’s basketball semifinals and championship will take place on March 27 and 29, respectively, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
With four representatives out of the 32 teams competing in the NIT, including two No. 1 seeds, the Pac-12 can be expected to dominate in the tournament. If nothing else, it can be a building experience for a conference that needs to improve to once again be seen as competitive with the best teams in the NCAA.
The two other No. 1 seeds in the 2012 NIT are Tennessee (18-14) and Seton Hall (20-12).