Preview: Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinals

ASU will face off against No. 1-seeded Oregon in the second round

Tight finishes and a large upset headlined the first round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. In one of the close matchups, ASU defeated No. 9-seeded Washington State 64-59 and will face No. 1-seeded Oregon in the next round.

Here are some key points to look for in the tournament's four quarterfinal matchups on Thursday.

No. 1 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 8 ASU Sun Devils 

Oregon defeated ASU 75-64 in their lone meeting of the regular season.

The Ducks secured the victory by making 40% of their 3-pointers and recording 22 assists. The Sun Devils struggled to create offense in the absence of freshman forward Marcus Bagley and freshman guard Josh Christopher, who exited midway through the game due to injury. 

The Sun Devils will be without both Christopher and Bagley again Thursday. Coming off of its lowest-scoring win of the season, ASU will likely need more offensive production to counter Oregon, who possesses the conference's fourth-best scoring offense.

The Ducks, who do not start an underclassman, are led by a pair of All-Pac-12 First Team honorees: senior guard Chris Duarte and redshirt senior forward Eugene Omoruyi. The two combined for 36 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and six steals in Oregon's game against ASU.

Oregon senior guard LJ Figueroa, junior guard Will Richardson and redshirt junior guard Eric Williams Jr. all average above 10 points per game and shoot at least 36.8% from beyond the arc. 

The winner will take on either No. 5-seeded Oregon State or No. 4-seeded UCLA on Friday.

No. 2 USC Trojans vs. No. 7 Utah Utes

Utah picked up its first Pac-12 Tournament win since 2016 in a 98-95 victory over No. 10-seeded Washington Wednesday night.

Utes junior forward Timmy Allen, an All-Pac-12 First Team nominee, led the team by recording 24 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in the win. Six Utah players scored above 10 points, and the team made a season-high 14 3-pointers in the game.

USC is led by Pac-12 Player of the Year Evan Mobley, who is averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game.

Redshirt senior guard Tahj Eaddy serves as USC's second scoring option, averaging 13.8 points per game this season and has scored double-digit points in 10 out of his last 11 games.

USC and Utah split their regular-season series, with Utah defeating USC 71-61 the last time the two teams met on Feb. 27. 

The victor will face the winner of No. 3 Colorado vs No. 11 Cal in the semifinals.

No. 3 Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 11 California Golden Bears 

After losing 11 out of its last 12 games to end the regular season, Cal stunned No. 6-seeded Stanford 76-58 Wednesday night. 

Cal knocked Stanford out of the tournament for the second year in a row off of the play from junior guard Matt Bradley, who finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The Buffaloes are led by seniors McKinley Wright IV, an All-Pac-12 First Team nominee, and Jeriah Horne. Wright IV leads Colorado with 15.3 points and 5.7 assists per game, while Horne averages 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. 

Colorado looks to extend its four-game win streak with a win against Cal.

The winner of this game will take on either No. 2-seeded USC or No. 7-seeded Utah in the semifinals.

No. 4 UCLA Bruins vs. No. 5 Oregon State Beavers 

Although UCLA and Oregon State are separated by just one seed, the two teams had very different experiences in conference play this year. 

The Bruins posted a 13-6 record against Pac-12 opponents, while the Beavers were outscored by 2.1 points per game in conference play. 

However, the teams' lone regular-season matchup was highly contested, as UCLA won 57-52. 

The Bruins are led by their guard trio of redshirt sophomore Tyger Campbell, sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr. and sophomore Johnny Juzang. Campbell averages 5.6 assists per game, the second-best mark in the conference, while Jaquez Jr. and Juzang average 11.8 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.

The Beavers are led by senior guard Ethan Thompson, an All-Pac-12 First Team nominee who leads the team in both points and assists per game with 15.5 and 3.9, respectively. 

Sophomore guard Jarod Lucas also averages 12.8 points per game on 39% shooting from three. 

The winner will face either No. 1-seeded Oregon or No. 8-seeded ASU on Friday in the semifinals.


Reach the reporters at cfahrend@asu.edu and cbreber@asu.edu, and follow @chris_drop_ and @carsobi on Twitter.

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