I’ve said this before and alluded to it on Twitter a few times. But it needs to be said once more — and expanded upon so much so that it gets its own post. The Pac-12 is a terrible basketball conference. To highlight why, let’s go through some facts about the conference and its teams.
Update: On Andy Glockner’s SI.com Bubble Watch (HERE), he has sections for each conference titled “Locks,” “Should Be In,” and “In the Mix.” The Pac-12 has NO “Locks” and NO TEAMS that “Should Be In.” If the regular season champ wins the Conference Tourney, this could be a one-bid league.
The league’s worst team, Utah, is unquestionably the worst team in a Big Six conference. By year’s end, they might end up the worst Big Six league team EVER. Right now, their “resume” includes the following:
- A season-opening 3-point home win in a squeaker against NAIA San Diego Christian College
- A 6-point loss at home to Montana State (ranked 301 at KenPom.com)
- A trip to the Bahamas where they lost to Harvard, UMASS, and UNC-Asheville by a combined 64 points
- A 31-point home loss to Cal State Fullerton
- A 29-point road loss at Weber State
I know what you’re thinking – that every conference’s basement has bad teams. Let’s consider the league’s best team by KenPom ranking (Cal) and the one considered to be the league’s most talented (Washington). First, Cal. They have a nice record, but here are their high-profile games/opportunities:
- A 39-point loss to Missouri in Kansas City
- A road loss at San Diego State – who’s supposed to be rebuilding this season
- A 17-point loss at UNLV
The most impressive wins are Georgia and Denver – neither are ranked higher than 75 in KenPom’s rankings.
Washington’s schedule has given them chances to make a splash. Let’s see what they’ve done with those chances:
- A loss at St. Louis
- A close loss to Marquette
- A closer-than-it-really-was loss to Duke
Also on Washington’s rap sheet are losses at mediocre Nevada and a 19-point home loss to unheard-of South Dakota State. (Note: don’t sleep on Nate Wolters though. If SD State makes the NCAA’s, he could be this year’s Steph Curry. He’s averaging 21.5 points per game.)
Here are some more Pac-12 FAIL’s:
- Arizona State alone has lost home or neutral site games to the following teams: Pepperdine (KenPom 227), Fairfield (105), DePaul (151), Nevada (107), Northern Arizona (302), Southern Miss (71), and Fresno State (166).
- USC lost a home game to far-travelling Georgia – which is bad but not as bad as losing another to Cal Poly
- Washington State lost a neutral site game to UC Riverside
The league’s best win is either a neutral win over Texas by Oregon State, a neutral win over Oklahoma State by Stanford, or a home win over NC State by Stanford. Those are bubble teams on their best days.
To put a bow on this, I see the following conferences having more NCAA bids than the Pac-12 when Selection Sunday comes along:
- Mountain West (UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico)
- A-10 (Xavier, St. Louis, Temple)
- Missouri Valley (Creighton, Northern Iowa, Wichita State)
- West Coast Conference (Gonzaga, BYU, St. Mary’s)