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Dane Miller’s Pac-12 NCAA Tournament 2nd-Round Previews

Arizona, Washington State, and Oregon will look to keep the conference momentum going

Posted on March 22, 2024

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

The Pac-12 remains undefeated in the NCAA Tournament after 10-seed Colorado defeated 7-seed Florida on a late KJ Simpson shot on Friday.

The win swept all four under-seeded teams from the Conference of Champions into the Second Round.

Arizona, Washington State, and Oregon will look to keep the momentum going on Saturday against Dayton, Iowa State, and Creighton, respectively.

I preview all three games here and my game picks appear at the bottom.

7-seed Dayton vs. 2-seed ArizonaArizona football Pac-12

Saturday, March 23
9:45 am PT, CBS

Dayton runs one of the slowest paces in the country.

Coming into the game No. 336 in KenPom’s pace metric, the Flyers have a somewhat similar playing style to UCLA. The A-10 program has the country’s No. 50 field goal percentage defense which would top the Pac-12.

They also limit their turnovers better than most.

Dayton enters the game No. 49 overall in turnovers per contest, which would tie them for first in the Conference of Champions.

This is the exact type of team built to beat Arizona.

Kylan Boswell scored 20 pts vs Long Beach State | Rob Gray/USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Lloyd’s offense struggles in half-court games where no easy looks are afforded. Combined with a team that doesn’t turn the ball over and has an efficient offense, there’s a serious chance of a Dayton upset.

To prevent that, the Cats have to dominate the glass.

The Flyers are not a strong rebounding team and could be vulnerable to second-chance opportunities.

Kylan Boswell played the best game of his career in the First Round and Caleb Love may have found his rhythm.

If Arizona can find a way to score in transition while limiting its turnovers, the senior leadership on Lloyd’s roster should make the difference.

7-seed Washington State vs. 2-seed Iowa State

Saturday, March 23
3:10 pm PT, TNT

The Cougars face a better version of themselves in Iowa State.

The champion of the Big 12 Tournament has the country’s No. 12 field goal percentage defense. It’s nothing like Washington State has faced in the Pac-12.

KenPom rates the ISU defense as No. 2 in the nation.

But the Cyclones have one major vulnerability: rebounding.

Despite having such an elite defense, Iowa State struggles on the glass. They enter the game 254th in the country in rebounds per game. That would put them ninth in the Pac-12.

Isaac Jones’ 20 pts helped WSU get past Drake | WSU Athletics

If Kyle Smith’s team is able to crash the offensive glass and create second-chance opportunities, Wazzu will be in a stronger position.

Even so, the Cyclones will be tough to deal with on offense.

Four players average in double-figures and they share the ball at an elite level.

Tamin Lipsey scored 17 points against South Dakota State with seven assists and just one turnover. For Washington State to secure the upset, it must win the turnover and rebounding margins while hitting its threes.

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-1211-seed Oregon vs. 3-seed Creighton

Saturday, March 23
6:40 pm PT, TBS

Dana Altman and the Ducks have magic.

Now facing his former program in Creighton, the recipe is there for a Cinderella run.

The battle that could determine the game is the matchup between N’Faly Dante and Ryan Kalkbrenner.

Dante is playing confidently and has been ultra-efficient in March. Since the start of the month, the Oregon big is 58-for-69 (84.0 percent) from the field.

If Dante plays more aggressively than Kalkbrenner and sends a physical message early, UO will be in a favorable position.

N’Faly Dante had 6 reb and 2 steals vs South Carolina | Gene J. Puskar/AP

But Oregon’s success won’t come to fruition if Jermaine Couisnard is off.

The senior leader scored 40 points in the First Round game and is likely the focal point of the Bluejays’ defensive game plan.

If Creighton can force him to be inefficient, the chances of a UO upset decrease.

On the other hand, Altman’s main concern has to be Baylor Scheierman. The Bluejay guard has the green light to shoot from three and he averages 6.5 attempts from deep per game.

If Altman can keep Scheierman contained, the Ducks should find a way to get the job done.

Dane Miller’s Game Picks

Pac-12 in 2024 NCAA Tournament


No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 2 Arizona
Mar 23, 9:45 AM PT
Arizona football Pac-12Arizona
No. 7 Washington State vs. No. 2 Iowa State
Mar 23, 3:10 PM PT
Iowa State
No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 3 Creighton
Mar 23, 6:40 PM PT
Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12Oregon
This Week 3-2 (60%)
 Overall Record 180-85-0 (68%)

—More from Dane Miller—