(CBS) — Every year a couple schools come out of nowhere to steal a precious bid to the NCAA tournament.
Just a few years ago one of those schools was USC.
The 6th-seeded Trojans led a ferocious comeback to upset James Harden’s Arizona State to win the Pac-10 tournament and grab the automatic bid.
This year they come to Staples Center as the 4-seed with hopes of giving the Pac-10 four teams in the big dance.
Arizona and UCLA are locks. Washington is in as well, but they can’t give the selection committee any reason to leave them out if they fall to Washington State on Thursday.
Speaking of those Cougars, Klay Thompson has been reinstated and he could make some noise for WSU, who at one time was cruising to an at-large berth.
WSU will need to cut down the nets on Saturday to have an invite to the madness.
California could be a contender.
IF and that’s a big IF, Cal can win at USC, a showdown with top-seeded Arizona looms. UA swept the Bears, but won both games by just two points, including the epic triple-overtime game of the year.
The biggest dark horse, 10th seed and last place Arizona State.
The Pac-10 tournament has cost the Sun Devils a bid to the dance twice in a span of three years. (All 20+ win seasons).
Maybe it’s time for the Sun Devils to catch a break and steal a bid in a year they have no business playing in the postseason.
ASU draws Oregon on Wednesday night, a team they just beat on Thursday for the 6th straight time.
Pac-10 Tournament Predictions:
(10) ASU over (7) Oregon
(8) Stanford over (9) Oregon St.
(4) USC over (5) CAL
(1) Arizona over (8) Stanford
(10) ASU over (2) UCLA (If Lee doesn’t play)
(3) Washington over (6) Washinston St.
(4) USC over (1) Arizona
(3) Washington over (10) ASU
(4) USC over (3) Washington
Note: The author has never correctly picked the winner of any tournament in any sport.