The PAC-12 have outdone themselves this year. What will probably be the most exciting tournament in the history of all college basketball tournaments will begin today (through Friday) in MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. WOOO! Vegas! Titillating as it sounds, everyone knows that none of the serious non-boxing, non-rodeo sports tournaments are held in Vegas. Last year’s tournament was held in the Staples Center in Los Angeles — a truer-to-form venue for a basketball tourney. But all joking aside, this year’s tournament could be good for our boys on the court. After a long and difficult season, Cal will start the tournament in the number two seed, with UCLA in first. Not to mention the fact that we have the PAC-12 player of the year.
This year’s tournament is bound to have everyone at the edge of their seats for two main reasons: there is no clear winner and every team is flippity-floppity. The Clog bleeds blue and gold, but even we have to admit Cal’s play has been inconsistent. The men of Cal basketball are fantastic at energizing the whole of Haas Pavilion when they’re at their best, but they are tragically disappointing at their worst. Each of the many turnovers in the Stanford game was like a kick to the groin.
Even UCLA, with the number one seed, isn’t close to a power house. Just the fact that they lost 61-73 to number 11 Washington State only a week ago is bound to raise some flags, but it gets worse. Their obnoxiously flamboyant zubaz uniforms are going to make it very difficult for them to be taken seriously.
The point is, a conference tournament like the one taking place in Vegas is just a way of giving the under-performing teams a chance to look like winners. It’s a beautifully hackneyed underdog story in which the teams who have worked the hardest and developed the most throughout the season are shafted aside by dumb luck when they mess up a single game, and the team with no talent and even less teamwork somehow becomes the tournament champions because the stars align in their favor. It makes us tear up too.
All the teams have a more or less equal chance of winning this year, and it might make for a good show. Really, it doesn’t matter what happens as long as U$C loses to Utah in the first game. Which they will, because the Utes are better at holding it together in Vegas than those party-driven blowhards in L.A.
Kamin Kahrizi covers sports. Contact him at [email protected]
Photo Source: TheDailySportsHerald, under Creative Commons