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Article:Craig Projects The NCAA Tournament: PAC-10 Predictions

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  Well its time to start projecting the NCAA Tournament and see who is in, who is out, seedings, and bubble teams. This is Craig's, from CT Sports Picks, follow up article to his BIG 12 NCAA Tournament Predictions. Make sure you check out Craig's throwdown showdown battle with Mitch from cbbplace.com every Wednesday and Saturday. Craig and Mitch pick winners against the spread and break down the big game for the day, don't miss out come to cbbplace.com. Today Craig will look at the PAC 10 and break down there chances in the big dance.   Right now the PAC 10 has a solid 5 teams in the big dance and no bubble teams. The bottom teams in this conference have been competitive but not good enough to get on the bubble. Lets take a look at the 5 teams that are going to make the dance and look at potential seedings and predict there success in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Arizona State : Coach Sendek has his team playing great lately locking teams down with there match up zone and offensively being very efficient. Craig's top team from the Pac 10 in his Power Rankings are very tough team to prepare for with the match up zone that they have mastered. Hold teams to only 58 points per game and limit the number of possessions to there opponents better than any other team in the country. Player of the year candidate James Hardin can do it all and when he is playing well could carry this team deep in the tournament. Two schools of thought on ASU are ripe for a huge upset first round because the score in there games is usually close or a team that can make an elite 8 run with the 2nd best player in the country. Craig likes this team a lot and thinks they are looking like a #4 seed that could upset a #1 seed and end up in the elite 8.
  • Washington : Another 20 win season for an underrated Washington program. No one has talked about them all year but don't look now they are leading the PAC 10 and has the talent to make some noise in the big dance. Dangerous team that is a very balanced team with 4 players averaging double digits led by guard Isiagh Thomas at 15 points per game. Jon Brockman is a tough inside presence that is a little unorthodox but very effective. Defensive ball pressure helps this team get easy points and will need to crank up the defense even more if they want to make a run in the NCAA tournament. Looks like this team is headed to #5 seed but they need to finish strong as there strength of schedule is not good. If this team is a #5 seed like them to get beat the first round.
  • UCLA : Just a couple weeks ago Craig had UCLA #10 in his power Rankings and heading for a #2 seed in the west. How things have changes since then the Bruins have lost three of four and have been giving up nearly 78 points a game in that stretch. Ben Howland is known for his lock down defense and lately it has been no where to be seen. UCLA has the best individual talent in the PAC 10 but putting it together has been a problem. Collison and Shipp have a ton of tournament experience so don't rule them out. UCLA is most likely a #7 or #8 seed but could improve greatly if they win the PAC 10 tournament. Most top teams are hoping that UCLA is not there 2nd round match up because they are very dangerous. Howland will put it together and once again will see UCLA in sweet 16.
  • California : Looks like 20 wins should get this team in the big dance but a costly seeding hit with a loss to Oregon State last game. Even scoring has been the key for a big improvement at Cal this year, led by guard Jerome Randle averaging over 17 points and 4 assists a game. Coach Montgomery has brought his success that he had at Stanford over to the Bears and has them playing much better than any expert predicted. A year ahead of time this team will make the big dance as most likely a #7 seed. Look for this team to get upset in the first round due to the lack of experience but remember bear fans this team will be great next year.
  • Arizona : So much for Arizona having a down year as many predicted. Key wins over Gonzaga and UCLA will definitely put this team in the big dance. A bubble team 2 weeks ago that has put themselves solidly in the tournament winning 7 out of last 8 games. That included two upsets over Washington and UCLA. Budinger and Hill are great front court players that both can score and rebound very well. As hot as this team is the seeding could get much better if they keep winning. Let's assume they will and they will receive a #6 seed for there effort. Most likely a 1 win NCAA tournament but with the early departure of Lute Olson this season this still is a success for the program.

Currently only two PAC 10 teams are in the top 25 in the polls but don't be surprised if they have a little better showing than there rankings would indicate come NCAA tournament time. Come to cbbplace.com to view all of Craig's throwdown showdown videos!   Get all of your sports handicapping articles and Craig's official winners at http://www.CTSportsPicks.com !!


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