March 13th, 2013, is the opening day of the 2nd Annual PAC 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament under the new PAC-12 brand name. In recent years the previous PAC-10 and now PAC-12 Tournament was held at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, California. The Staple Center is a great facility but maybe not the best venue when trying to lore travelers from vast regions of the West, like Arizona, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Even the Los Angeles crowd has grown stale but when you throw Las Vegas into the mix fan interest may be stirred up. Some people make up excuses for why they have to go to Las Vegas. Businesses and conventioneers always have Las Vegas at or near the top of their list of locations to hold conventions, business meetings, etc. . . , especially when there are participants are coming diverse locations.
The MGM Grand for the first time will hold a college basketball game as the host of the PAC 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The venue is not as big as Staples Center but it provides a great up close intimate environment for the fans and the players. MGM and other venues on the Las Vegas Strip will be rolling out the red carpet to make this event a win win for everyone involved.
Though the physical logistics for the PAC 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas are in place and ready to perform, the same cannot be said about the PAC-12 teams that will be vying for a PAC-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship.
From the beginning of the PAC-12 season to the crowning of its PAC-12 Men’s Basketball regular season champions, UCLA, the PAC-12 has seen its teams show up to play one game and not the next. Inconsistent play has plagued the league and has seen its ranking as a league, nationally, tumbling towards the bottom of the heap.
One nationally unranked PAC-12 team played on the home court of a PAC-12 top 10 ranked team nationally and beat them handily. The top ten ranked team, playing against a team they should beat, used the anger from their previous lost, (the anger that they should have had the previous game defending their home court as a top ten ranked team should be able to do), to beat another lower end PAC-12 team by 44 points. The team that beat the top ten team turns around and plays the team that lost to the top ten team by 44 points, at home, on a special court, on a historically special night and lose. Are you following?
The inconsistent play among PAC-12 teams this season has been an ongoing pattern that has reduced the creditability and thus the value of the league, the teams and players nationally.
UCLA is the PAC-12 Men’s Basketball 2012-2013 regular season conference champions. Years from now the details of how they won this title will not be important as they are now and will disappear into the sands of time. The Bruins won by default. Michael Jackson would be proud of them because the Bruins did a perfect “Moon Walk” into a PAC-12 Men’s Basketball championship title and the Oregon Ducks signed off on it.
On Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 UCLA was in the race for first place and the conference title as they would face a Washington State team that was at the bottom of the conference. A team they should beat. They had just had maybe their best overall team win of the season against Arizona in their last game this season in Pauley Pavilion. The UCLA Bruins had not lost to Washington State over the past 19 years of visiting Pullman Washington. The UCLA Bruins lose to Washington State on March 6th.
The Oregon Ducks could have performed a perfect version of Gene Kelly’s epic scene of “Dancing in the Rain” if they could only win two games, since UCLA lost to Washington State, the Ducks had to beat Colorado and Utah who are near the bottom of the PAC-12 to win conference championship. Oregon did not remember it was duck season so they were not prepared for the attack they would receive from the hunters of Colorado. The Ducks lose. California had a run for the conference title, but after a nice little win streak they let Stanford deal them the hand of fate in a game they needed to possibly steal the PAC-12 title from UCLA and Oregon.
To UCLA’s credit after the horrible loss to Washington State, they bounced back to defeat this season’s version of a turnover, lay-up missing, poor shooting and decision making Washington team they had not beaten in the last eight visits to Seattle. In the mean time, believe it or not, Oregon despite it’s lost to Colorado, was still in the hunt for at least a tie for the PAC-12 title but they get essentially blown out by Utah. Explain that! Thus, the UCLA “Moon Walk” is in full effect, as the Bruins do a little more to win the PAC-12 regular season championship title.
This year’s PAC-12 Tournament should be titled “I Have Been Redeemed From The Curse Of The Conference Regular Season” Tournament. The Best teams in the PAC-12 have been beaten by the worst teams. The worst teams have finished strong coming down the home stretch to spoil the dreams of their league leaders. This year the PAC-12 is a recipe for musical chairs. No one knows who is going to win the upcoming PAC-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The “lose and you go home” format to win the PAC-12 Tournament Championship title is the medicine the league needs to establish as a temporary cure for players and teams who do not come to each game ready to play. You lose, get your bags and go home.
The other valuable component of this new PAC-12 / Las Vegas tournament venue is that it can be utilized as an “Off Broadway” practice of how to win a championship. This “Off Broadway tune-up can be the training ground for the “On Broadway” big dance that will take place through the Madness of March’s NCAA Playoffs, the “Final Four” and then the crowning of a champion. The “Off Broadway” and “On Broadway” venues both have the same “lose and you go home”, sudden death format. Which PAC-12 team will forget their past and put on the championship mantle that says; “We will not be denied!”
Where is the milk? It is under the sink. Whaaat. . . ? Do you know where the trash bags are? They are in the refrigerator? What are the trash bags doing in the refrigerator and why is the milk under the sink? Blame men’s college basketball they have too many things out of order. . . Please get that sandwich out of the blender! One of these teams in the PAC-12 needs to bring order and creditability back to the PAC-12 Conference. No questions asked, just get it done. Somebody step up and win a tournament championship, then go after the national championship. Check Ball! More is coming, look out. . .