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Preview: First round of the 2020 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

Eight teams will battle it out on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals

20200307 men's basketball vs Washington State

ASU junior guard Remy Martin (1) embraces senior guard Grant Fogerty (25) after an ASU victory over Washington State on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe.


Following the completion of the 2019-20 regular season, the Sun Devils will head to Las Vegas to compete in the 23rd annual Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena

With tournament play set to begin on March 11 at 12:00 p.m. MST, here is a brief look at each of the four first-round matchups.

No. 6 Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 11 Washington State Cougars

The Buffaloes trounced the Cougars 78-56 in the lone meeting between the two teams this season at the CU Events Center on Jan. 23.

Colorado started off hot in 2019, winning each of its first seven nonconference games and, at one point, earning a top-20 national ranking. However, the team has lost its last four straight and missed a bye as a result.

WSU will rely heavily on sophomore forward CJ Elleby, who finished fourth in the conference in scoring this season with 18 points per game and tied for second in steals.

The winner of the contest will advance to face No. 3 ASU in the second round.

No. 5 Arizona Wildcats vs. No. 12 Washington Huskies

Washington struggled this season, going 5-13 in the Pac-12 after amassing a 15-3 record and finishing first the year before.

Things don’t get any easier for the Huskies as they prepare to face a Wildcats team led by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Zeke Nnaji and freshman guard Nico Mannion, who was recently the subject of rumors surrounding the 2020 NBA Draft.

Arizona, which has won seven conference tournament titles, will be playing with a chip on its shoulder after losing its final regular season game to Washington 69-63 on Saturday.

The two teams split the regular season series 1-1, and whichever wins the tiebreaker will take on No. 4 USC.

No. 7 Stanford Cardinal vs. No. 10 California Golden Bears

Neither team ended its 2019-20 season on a high note, as Stanford and Cal enter the Pac-12 Tournament having both lost the last two games.

Before those two games, Stanford had won four straight and ended its season with an even 9-9 record in the conference.

The Cardinal split the season series with the Bears for the fifth consecutive year, with the latest game ending in a tight 52-50 Cal victory after the game-tying play was waived off.

The game will tip off at 6:00 p.m. MST and the winner will go on to play No. 2 UCLA in round two.

No. 8 Oregon State Beavers vs. No. 9 Utah Utes

The Beavers finished the 2019-20 regular season just 7-11 in conference play, but head to Vegas riding a two-game winning streak with victories against Cal and Stanford.

OSU, led by senior forward Tres Tinkle, who finished third in Pac-12 scoring with 18.4 points per game, split the season series with Utah after a 70-51 victory in their last matchup on Feb. 13.

Utah witnessed a breakout season from sophomore forward Timmy Allen, who led the team with 17.5 points per game this year — good for top five in the conference.

The winner of the game will advance to face Pac-12 Player of the Year Payton Pritchard and the defending Pac-12 champion: No. 1 Oregon Ducks.

The tournament is set to last four nights, with the championship game scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MST.

ASU, which finished 11-7 in conference play, hopes to secure the first Pac-12 Men’s Basketball title in program history.


Reach the reporter at hcroton@asu.edu or follow @thecrote on Twitter. 

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