The Pac-12 tournament moved to Las Vegas for the first time after spending the last 11 years in the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The move was a pretty big hit as the games featured more lively atmospheres as well as some great games with dramatic finishes. There were three overtime games and three more games that were decided by three points or fewer.
This tournament had it all. There were upsets as No. 10 seed Utah made a run to the semifinals. There were fantastic individual performances such as Arizona State’s Jahii Carson’s 34 points in the opening round against Stanford.
Unfortunately, there was also tough injury luck. UCLA’s Jordan Adams was the lost for the season with a broken foot he suffered in the final play against Arizona.
In the end, Oregon ended up cutting down the nets, something that was a bit of a surprise given how the Ducks finished the season.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from the 2013 Pac-12 tournament.
Oregon was reeling a bit heading into the Pac-12 tournament, losing its last two games at Colorado and Utah in pretty ugly fashion. The Ducks were outscored by a combined 33 points in those games, but they bounced back to win their first conference tournament title since 2007.
Along the way, Oregon received a few breaks. Utah upset second-seeded California in the quarterfinals, and the Ducks faced UCLA without Jordan Adams, who went down with a broken foot in Friday’s semifinal.
Still, the Ducks took advantage and cut down the nets in Las Vegas. Now, they will try to carry that momentum into the NCAA tournament.
UCLA’s strong tournament run came with a great price as freshman wing Jordan Adams went down Friday night with a season-ending broken foot. The injury occurred on the final play of the game as the Bruins were trying to stop Arizona’s Solomon Hill from forcing overtime.
Adams had put together arguably his best performance of the season Friday against Arizona. He had 24 points and was the biggest reason the Bruins were able to overcome an 11-point deficit in the second half. At one point, Adams scored 13 straight points for UCLA.
Now, the Bruins will be without Adams as they enter the NCAA tournament. He is second on the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game and had scored at least 17 points in six of his last eight games.
There is no sugarcoating it. UCLA’s prospects to make a serious run through March Madness took a big hit when Adams went down.
Colorado came out a winner in Las Vegas simply because it did what it had to do to stay on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble. The Buffaloes got a 74-68 win over Oregon State, avoiding a second loss to the Beavers in less than a week.
Had Colorado dropped that first-round game, the Buffaloes may have been sweating a bit on Sunday when the field of 68 is announced. Because it took care of business the way it was supposed to, Colorado should comfortably make the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
The return of Andre Roberson was also a plus for the Buffaloes. Roberson averaged 13.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as he played for the first time since missing the final two regular-season games with a virus.
Arizona’s struggles against the top of the conference continued in Las Vegas. The Wildcats lost to UCLA, 66-64, in the semifinals on Friday night and blew a double-digit lead in the process. That brings Arizona’s record against the top three teams in the league (UCLA, Oregon and Cal) to 0-5.
The loss also caps off a disappointing close to Arizona’s regular season. The Wildcats have lost three of their last five games, with two of those losses coming to the Bruins.
Arizona will still probably get a No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament on the strength of its work in the nonconference portion of its schedule. However, the Wildcats are obviously limping into March Madness, and they will be a popular pick for an early NCAA tournament exit.
Utah will not make the NCAA tournament. After a 15-17 season, the Utes won’t be playing any postseason basketball. However, Utah closed the season strong with an excellent performance in the Pac-12 tournament, making it all the way to the semifinals before losing to Oregon.
The Utes upset USC and Cal in Las Vegas to win their third and fourth consecutive games. That four-game winning streak was the longest for the program since the 2008-09 season when Utah went 24-10 and made the NCAA tournament.
Considering the team won just six games all of last season, it was a successful second season for Larry Krystowiak. He clearly has the Utes heading in the right direction.
Stanford went out in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament, losing 89-88 in overtime to Arizona State. The Cardinal entered February very much in the NCAA tournament conversation, but they struggled down the stretch, losing six of their last 10 games.
Chasson Randle, the team’s second-leading scorer, struggled with just five points on 2-of-12 shooting, and the Cardinal had no answer for Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, who scored a game-high 34 points.
Now, Stanford hopes to move on to the NIT to defend its title from a year ago. If that happens, there will still be something to play for, but the Cardinal were hoping to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in Johnny Dawkins’ five-year tenure.