The Pac-12 Championship begins Wednesday in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena, and the tournament will have big March Madness implications for both Arizona and Arizona State.
Arizona comes into the tournament as the No. 2 seed after losing to top-seeded UCLA on Saturday night in its regular season finale. The second seed assures it a bye to the second round so it won’t begin its tournament until Thursday when it plays play the winner of Utah and Stanford.
The Wildcats have already assured themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament where they are likely to be a No. 2 seed and should be no worse than a three seed after a strong regular season.
Arizona is the defending champion of the Pac-12 Tournament after it won as the top seed over UCLA a year ago. The Wildcats enter the tournament as one of the Arizona sports betting favorites.
Arizona is listed with odds of +200 to win the tournament, trailing only UCLA, which opened at +120 on BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona.
Pac-12 Tournament Odds
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Arizona State Playing for NCAA Berth
Arizona State enters the tournament with much more at stake. Currently projected to be on the bubble for March Madness, Arizona State is looking to secure a spot in the top 68.
Entering Saturday’s final day of regular season play, the Sun Devils had a slim chance of the four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, but a three-point loss to USC sealed their fate, and they now face the 11 seed in Oregon State in the first round.
A win there would give them a rematch against USC in the quarterfinals and solidify their position in the NCAA tournament. The good news for Sun Devils fans and bettors is they beat Oregon State 68-57 earlier this year, and when Arizona betting apps odds open for the game, should be favored to win again.
The Sun Devils are currently +20000 to win the NCAA Championship at Caesars Sportsbook Arizona.
Arizona State’s offense is led by Desmond Cambridge Jr and his brother Devon. Frankie Rollins has been the main facilitator, averaging 4.5 assists per game. The three of them will need to have their strongest stretch of the season if Arizona State is to move on.
Tubelis Leads Wildcats
Arizona ended its regular season ended with a record of 25-6, including a 14-6 mark in Pac-12 play. The star of the season has been forward Azuolas Tubelis. The 6-11 junior leads the Pac-12 in both scoring and rebounding, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2006.
He became one of 15 players named to the late-season watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Wooden Award in addition to being one of the two finalists for Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Fans and oddsmakers seem unified in thinking the Pac-12 Tournament will once again come down to Arizona and UCLA, and it's hard to see a scenario where the two powerhouses don’t meet again in the finals.
Arizona will see either Utah or Stanford in the quarterfinals, two teams that on paper it shouldn’t have much trouble with. But this season, both did cause the Wildcats a bit of trouble.
Utah managed an upset victory in this matchup in December, but Arizona came back with a convincing 88-62 victory on Feb. 16. Likewise, Stanford also managed to upset Arizona this year with a shocking 88-79 victory. Arizona will no doubt be motivated to avenge that defeat if it gets another chance against the Cardinal.
Arizona’s tendency to lose games it should win has been a big downfall this year, as the Wildcats also count a 13-point loss against Washington State and a 89-88 defeat to Arizona State as other winnable games gone wrong.
On the bright side, this team has yet to lose back to back games, making a victory in the quarterfinal game seem even more likely. If UCLA and Arizona do manage to meet expectations and meet up in the final, it will set up an intense matchup between two squads that have swapped victories already this season.
The teams have a ton of history going back to last season and a rematch in the finals would be a treat for fans. After an eight-point victory earlier this season, Arizona lost the regular season finale to UCLA on Saturday night. That win for UCLA was its 10th in a row and solidified the Bruins as the top seed in the Pac-12 tourney and a contender for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.