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Dane Miller’s 2024 Pac-12 Tournament Semifinal Previews

The four top seeds will face off: No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 Oregon and No. 2 WSU vs. No. 3 CU

Posted on March 15, 2024


  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

The best teams advance.

All of the higher-ranked seeds advanced to today’s Pac-12 Tournament Semifinals in Las Vegas.

As a result, the Conference’s top field goal percentage offense faces its top field goal percentage defense when Colorado and Washington State square off in the late game.

I preview that contest below along with Arizona’s matchup against Oregon. My picks appear at the bottom.

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12Arizona football Pac-12No. 4 Oregon v. No. 1 Arizona

Friday, March 15
5:00 pm PT, Pac-12 Network

Arizona dominated the Ducks in the first two matchups.

The Cats won by 20 in Tucson and 10 at Matthew Knight Arena. Caleb Love scored a career-high 36 points in Eugene while dropping 22 at McKale.

That’s probably not a good sign for the Ducks on a neutral floor. The Arizona crowd grows throughout the tournament, too, and should be in full force for the Semifinal matchup.

Tommy Lloyd got key production from his bench against USC.

Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis combined to score 27 points on 10-for-14 shooting. Lewis was second on the team in rebounding, as well, snagging six boards.

The efficient shooting night covered up sloppy play among the starters. The Cats can’t have another game where Kylan Boswell, Pelle Larsson, and Caleb Love combine for 9-of-31 (29.0 percent) from the field.

Arizona men's basketball at Oregon on Jan 27
Arizona at Oregon on Jan 27 | Thomas Boyd/AP

But defense is the key to beating Oregon.

Lloyd was upset after the game in Tucson because UA allowed 53 points in the second half. That should translate to Arizona coming out on defense with something to prove.

If Lloyd’s players can force turnovers that lead to transition scores, the Wildcats will be in a comfortable position.

Rebounding is the other key.

N’Faly Dante is a beast in the paint. He had 12 rebounds in the victory against UCLA on Thursday while going 8-for-9 from the field with 19 points.

If Dante can outplay Oumar Ballo and the Ducks win the rebounding margin, there’s a chance they could pull off the upset.

No. 3 Colorado v. No. 2 Washington State

Friday, March 15
7:30 pm PT, FS1

Washington State played well in their Tournament opener.

The Cougars held Stanford to just 62 points and won by 17. Six players scored in double-figures and the game was never really in doubt.

Colorado also had a strong debut.

The Buffs beat Utah by 14 and Eddie Lampkin Jr. had one of his top games of the season. The big scored 17 points with 12 rebounds and was arguably the difference in the matchup.

But what happened on Thursday is meaningless if you can’t reach the final on Saturday.

For Kyle Smith and the Cougars, forcing turnovers will be key.

Colorado leads the Pac-12 in turnovers committed per game and they run a fairly quick pace, which creates a vulnerability.

Colorado mens baskeball vs WSU on Dec 31
Colorado vs WSU on Dec 31 | CUBuffs.com

If the Buffs get sloppy with the ball, WSU figures to capitalize. With the top defense in the Conference, scoring on them won’t come easy.

Ruben Chinyelu will have a challenge to deal with in Lampkin, but the length of the Cougar perimeter defenders should be crucial.

Colorado is mostly a guard/wing team that doesn’t make a point of emphasis to get the ball to their bigs. Their shots tend to come from the perimeter or drives to the rim, and they use elite ball movement to find the open look.

If the Wazzu defenders get caught out of position as a result, CU could make them pay.

It’s a battle between the Pac-12’s top field goal percentage offense and its top field goal percentage defense.

Something has to give.


Dane Miller’s Game Picks

2023-24 Pac-12 Tournament Games


Pick

No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 1 Arizona
Mar 15, 5:00 PM PT
Arizona football Pac-12Arizona
No. 2 Washington State vs. No. 3 Colorado
Mar 15, 7:30 PM PT
Oregon
This Week 7-1-0 (88%)
 Overall Record 176-81-0 (68%)



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