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

The tournament kicks off on Wednesday with ASU versus Washington State

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ASU now-senior guard Remy Martin (1) dribbles the ball on a drive down court against USC on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe.

ASU men's basketball looks to keep its hopes of capturing an NCAA Tournament berth alive as it begins the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. 

Here are some key matchups to pay attention to before the first round of games begins Wednesday afternoon.

No. 8 ASU Sun Devils vs. No. 9 Washington State Cougars

ASU won the teams’ lone meeting of the season on Feb. 27 off of a game-winning 3-pointer from senior guard Remy Martin in overtime. However, ASU lost its next two games, including a 39-point loss to Utah in its final regular-season game. 

The Cougars were without senior guard Isaac Bonton when they faced the Sun Devils. Washington State's offense is highly dependent on Bonton, who averages 17.7 points per game and four assists per game, which are the team's highest marks in both categories.

Sophomore guard Noah Williams is the team's second-leading scorer at 14.2 points per game and is only two games removed from a 40-point performance against Stanford. 

At a press conference Tuesday, head coach Bobby Hurley said the team will be without freshman guard Josh Christopher, who has missed the team’s last eight games, and freshman forward Marcus Bagley, who has played one game since late January. 

Martin, who finished February scoring over 20 points in eight straight games, cooled down dramatically over ASU’s final two regular-season games, posting consecutive single-digit scoring nights. 

The winner would face No. 1 Oregon next in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

No. 7 Utah Utes vs. No. 10 Washington Huskies

Utah and Washington split their regular-season series. Utah defeated Washington 76-62 in their first game of the season, but the latter team got revenge with an 83-79 victory on Jan. 24.

Utah is led by junior forward Timmy Allen, who leads the team in total points, rebounds, assists and steals this season. Four other Utah players besides Allen average eight or more points per game. 

Washington also features a varied offensive approach. Senior guard Quade Green, junior guard Jamal Bey and sophomore guard Marcus Tsohonis all average 10 or more points per game.

The Huskies finished the season on a three-game losing streak, losing to ASU twice and to Arizona once. The Huskies also finished with the conference's second-worst record.

The winner of this matchup will play No. 2 USC on Thursday in the quarterfinals. 

No. 6 Stanford Cardinal vs. No. 11 California Golden Bears

The Cardinal won both of their regular-season meetings against the Golden Bears, who have lost 11 of their last 12 games.

Senior forward Oscar da Silva leads the way for Stanford offensively, averaging 18.8 points per game on 58% shooting from the field. Freshman forward Ziaire Williams averages 10.7 points per game, while junior forward Jaiden Delaire sits at 12.5.

Cal has struggled on both ends of the floor all season, ranking 251st in the nation in offensive rating and 282nd in defensive rating. 

Junior guard Matt Bradley leads the Golden Bears offensively with an average of 18.4 points per game. Alongside him, junior forward Andre Kelly operates as an imposing presence inside, averaging 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

The winner would face No. 3 Colorado next in the quarterfinals. 

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 4:37 p.m. to provide information regarding the availability of Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley for ASU's game against Washington State.

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