The Pac Ten Tournament will begin on March 10th when Oregon faces Washington State. In my mind two things have to occur for a team to come out of nowhere and earn an automatic bid to March Madness. First there has to be a team or two that assumes they are already invited and will not give their best effort in the Pac Ten Tournament and second their has to be a team that feels they can compete and defeat the best teams in the conference. California is the only team that should think they have an automatic invitation from the selection committee, because they won the Pac Ten regular season. The only other team that has an argument to feel the same way is Arizona State. On the other hand, ASU might have to advance to the title game to solidify their bid to the Big Dance, because the Pac Ten has been far from a powerhouse conference this season.
Washington and Arizona are athletic, fast and have good size and length. Their coaches might also be able to convince them that they have more talent on their rosters than the other teams in the Pac Ten. Both the Huskies and Wildcats have good guards. Isaiah Thomas averaged 17.2 for the Huskies and Nic Wise averaged 14.4 for the Wildcats. Arizona will face UCLA on Thursday and Washington will play Oregon State. These are games both teams can win and if they get first round victories then they could be faced with the task of knocking off California and Arizona State, the top two teams in the Pac Ten. If Washington or Arizona wins the tournament it would not be considered a shock. The Pac Ten does not have a dominant team. So-called upsets should be expected this next week.