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The Pac-12 is in a lot better shape than it was a year ago—the inaugural year of the new-look conference.
Last season, it was a foregone conclusion that the only entry they were going to have in the NCAA tournament was the team that cut down the nets at the Staples Center.
This time around, the action goes down in Vegas, and there's a good chance that the Pac-12 will send five teams into March Madness.
How it could go down
This season was supposed to be a two-team race, with UCLA and Arizona battling it out and everyone else trailing.
Both teams have had their ups and downs, and after impressive campaigns from California and Oregon, the Bruins and Wildcats will have to meet up in the semifinals instead of the finals.
Arizona will most likely have to take care of the Colorado Buffaloes, with whom the Wildcats split the season series. Expect them to prevail and meet up with the Bruins, who took out U of A both times they played.
Sean Miller will have his squad back at the top of their game, and they will send Shabazz Muhammad back to Westwood with a loss before he goes into his one and only NCAA tournament.
The other side of the bracket, with the aforementioned Cal and Oregon at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, is not nearly as intense.
When the Bears and Ducks throw down, Mike Montgomery's Cal should come out on top, only to then fall to the Wildcats in the championship game.
Pac-12 Finals: Cal vs. Arizona
Pac-12 Champs: Arizona