Five of the seven teams from Pac-12 Conference flopped in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. An amazing seven teams from the Pac-12 made it to March Madness. Impressively every Pac-12 team was the higher seed in their opening round matchup. Unfortunately for Pac-12 basketball fans, March Madness proved to be too much for most of them. The Pac-12 was in fact a conference loaded with plenty of talented teams. By early Friday afternoon (PT) all but two of those teams were out of the tournament. Here is a rundown of the highlights and low lights for the Pac-12.
The #8 seed Colorado Buffaloes started off Thursday for the Pac-12 with a second half collapse against the #9 seed Connecticut Huskies. Colorado was up 9 at the halftime but UConn took control of the game sending the Buffs home early. Number nine defeating number eight is not exactly a shocking upset but it was still a disappointing start for the conference.
The #3 seed Utah Utes were able to right the ship for the conference with an 11-point victory over the #14 seed Fresno State Bulldogs. Utah and Oregon were the only surviving Pac-12 teams. The Utes will take on the #11 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday night on TNT.
Next up, the #6 seed Arizona Wildcats took their turn to be upset after playing poorly for most of the game against Wichita State. The Shockers with little rest after beating Vanderbilt on Tuesday in a play in game still managed to take it to the Wildcats upsetting Arizona 65-55.
Wrapping up Thursday for the Conference the #8 seed USC Trojans took on the Providence Friars. Sadly we all know what happened in this one, abysmal free throw shooting all game and a blown defensive assignment in the final three seconds allowed the Friars to survive and advance.
After a tough day Thursday, things did not improve on Friday for the Pac-12. The #7 seed Oregon State Beavers took on the #10 seed Virginia Commonwealth Rams. The Beavers trailed for most of the game before losing 75-67. The Beavers had not made the NCAA Tournament in over a quarter of a century, and have not won a Tournament game since 1982. That streak will continue for at least another year as VCU took down another Pac-12 team.
Up next was Cal. The #4 seed California Golden Bears took on the #13 seed Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The Bears did not play well in this game at all. While it was a close game for much of the contest Hawaii deftly handled everything Cal threw at them. The Bears simply did not play like the team that finished fourth in the Pac-12. This game was the biggest disappointment out of any of the Pac-12 teams. Certainly March Madness is a well-earned nickname where plenty of crazy upsets happen every year but Cal really had no business losing that game.
Finally, or perhaps mercifully, the first round came to a close for the Pac-12 with the #1 seed Oregon Ducks taking on the #16 seed Holy Cross. While folks who love upsets dream about a 16 beating a 1, it did not happen here. As expected, Oregon easily took care of business and moved on to the second round along with Utah as the remaining two teams still representing the Pac-12 in the NCAA Tournament.