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Only Three Pac-12 Teams Make 2019 NCAA Tournament

Washington, Oregon earn bids while Arizona State will have to play-in as part of the First Four. Meanwhile, the Pac-12 schools appear to have taken power back from Larry Scott.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament Final-Oregon vs Washington
Both the Huskies and the Ducks have been selected to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

All season long, we’ve talked about how weak of a conference the Pac-12 has been this year.

We anticipated that the only way the Pac-12 would get more than one team in would be to have a team other than the Washington Huskies win the Pac-12 Tournament. Well, obviously, the Oregon Ducks defeated Washington in last night’s championship game to earn the conference’s automatic bid.

But there was one more surprise today when the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced. A third Pac-12 team was actually selected. No, don’t get your hopes up. Murry Bartow still isn’t taking this year’s UCLA Bruins to the Big Dance. The surprise was the selection of the Arizona State Sun Devils for one of the First Four play-in games.

As far as other conferences go, the Big Ten has eight teams while both the ACC and the SEC each have seven. The Big 12 is sending six teams and the American and the Big East are both sending four teams.

Of the Power Six conferences, the Pac-12 has the fewest teams in this year’s tournament and even the American Conference, which isn’t one of the Power Six, has more than the Pac-12.

Well, at least the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors have decided that it’s time to reign in Larry Scott by establishing a board of presidents and an Athletic Directors’ Council, headed by Arizona AD Dave Heeke, has been created. Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star explains:

When Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott held his annual press conference Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, he was accompanied by Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano. It was a long overdue change.

Scott has always gone solo. It has always been about Larry.

But Pac-12’s presidents and athletic directors have finally changed that course. This is no longer The League of Larry. Eight of the presidents who hired Scott in 2009 and essentially allowed him to bypass the ADs, have since been replaced.

Now the ADs, not Scott, are in charge of setting policy; Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke is the new chairman of the ADs’ council.

Well, that sounds like a good first step towards fixing the Pac-12’s problems. But, for now, it doesn’t change the fact that, in this year’s NCAA Tournament, it’s going to be a little hard to “Back the Pac.”

Here is this year’s full NCAA Tournament bracket.

Go Bruins!