Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson vs. ASU

VEGAS!
Photo by David Wallace/azcentral sports

Tournament time!

The Pac-12’s postseason basketball event has a fresh new home in Las Vegas. The fans are excited, the coaches are excited and the players are going to be locked in their hotel rooms with the curtains drawn and “Do not disturb” signs everywhere so nothing crazy happens.

Speaking of crazy, is it too late to get USC to bring back Kevin O’Neill for the week?

TWit-Pac has the TV schedule (all times Arizona/Pacific) and even a dose of baseball. March, baby! March!

Date     Time TV
Wed Mar 13 #9 ASU #8 Stanford 12 p.m. P12N
  #12 OSU #5 Colorado 2:30 p.m. P12N
  #10 Utah #7 USC 6 p.m. P12N
  #11 WSU #6 Washington 8:30 p.m. P12N
Thu Mar 14 Stanford/ASU #1 UCLA 12 p.m. P12N
  Colorado/OSU #4 ARIZONA 2:30 p.m. P12N
  USC/Utah #2 Cal 6 p.m. P12N
  Washington/WSU #3 Oregon 8:30 p.m. ESPNU
Fri Mar 15 UA/CU/OSU UCLA/SU/ASU 6 p.m. P12N
  UO/UW/WSU UC/USC/UU 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Sat Mar 16 Championship Game 8 p.m. ESPN

This is the time of year to choose your lunch breaks wisely. Then, if you’re going to be optimistic about Arizona’s chances you need to keep Friday at 6 and Saturday at 8 open.

Last week I was right. Sorta. I did correctly predict UCLA would win the outright regular season championship. I just missed one additional loss for everybody.

They always hype these tournaments by saying anybody can win, but this year who doesn’t have a reason for optimism? UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado all have solid NCAA tournament resumes. Stanford, Oregon State, Utah and Wazzu all ended the regular season with wins. The Utes and Cougs are coming off of sweeps for Elvis’ sake!

Oregon State and Colorado are playing each other for the second time in five days. If the Buffaloes survive it would set up the next chapter in a budding little rivalry with Arizona. The Wildcats will want revenge for CU killing their tournament dreams last year and the Buffs probably think they’re owed at least another couple wins for the Sabatino Chen game.

Arizona’s win over ASU established the formula for this team: There is no formula. If everyone plays just average the Wildcats will be on an early Southwest Airlines flight to Tucson. A couple guys have to get hot in each game if the Cats want to advance.

Last Saturday it was Nick Johnson’s turn to be the hero with Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill serving as a two-headed Robin and Kaleb Tarczewski acting as – I don’t know – a seven-foot Green Lantern?

Almost everyone leaves Vegas as a loser. Which one of the 12 teams is going to beat the odds?

* * *

Pac-12 baseball is back!

We’ll dive head-first into hardball when the BasketCats are done but I couldn’t let the start of conference play go unnoticed. Plus there are games on real live television this year!

First, here’s who is good this year according to the polls:

BA CB NC PG USA Avg
OSU 3 2 4 5 4 3.6
UCLA 11 10 7 4 7 7.8
Oregon 16 16 12 19 14 15.4
ASU 14 15 19 13 18 15.8
Stanford 18 16 18 18 19.2
ARIZONA 20 24 21 23 20 21.6

BA = Baseball America
CB = Collegiate Baseball
NC = National Collegiate Baseball Writers
PG = Perfect Game
USA = USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll

Here are the matchups on this opening weekend of league series:

OSU (15-1) at ARIZONA (14-5)
Game times are 6 on Friday and Saturday and Sunday at noon with the series finale televised on Pac-12 Network. The full baseball season TV schedule is here.

Washington (4-11) at UCLA (12-3)

Oregon (12-5) at USC (7-9)

WSU (9-6) at ASU (10-2)

Cal (10-7) at Utah (8-6)
Saturday’s game is on Pac-12 Network at 2.

Stanford (10-5) – bye

The series of the week is clearly in Tucson as the highest-ranked team so far this year opens against the team that finished No. 1 last year.

If things go well for Wildcat Universe, basketball will overlap with baseball both Friday and Saturday night. Stay calm. We’ll all get through this together.

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Scott Terrell is ready to divide his attention. Multitask on Twitter and Facebook.