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UCLA's Potential Seeding in the PAC-12 Tournament

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UCLA has a good chance at a first round bye

Kyle Anderson cutting down the nets from last year's PAC 12 Championship.
Kyle Anderson cutting down the nets from last year's PAC 12 Championship.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone agrees that UCLA has some sort of shot to still make the NCAA tournament.  You can read articles about it everywhere.  I am not going to try to analyze those for a simple reason: it depends on teams across the county.  The one thing for certain is that UCLA does not control its own destiny regarding the tournament.  For example, if a number of non-at-large teams pull off upsets in their conference tournaments, UCLA is likely out.  Also if all the favorites win, UCLA is likely in.

However, all the experts seem to agree that UCLA's chances depend on how UCLA does in the PAC 12 tournament, and a bad loss in the first game likely puts us out.  Obviously, if we win the tournament we would receive the automatic bid.  So let's take a few minutes to analyze the PAC 12 tournament and what UCLA fans should be watching.

For the crap teams (we lost to two of them, UC Berkeley and Colorado), I have gone ahead and predicted their final standings. I am not going to explain it in any detail.

12.  Fight On, literally, 3-15

11.  UW 5-13

10.  Colorado 5-13

9.  WSU 7-11

8.  Cal 7-11

7. Oregon State 9-9. (I am betting OSU goes 1-8 on the road and 8-1 at home; think home court matters in the PAC 12?)

The top two seeds seem likely as well.

1.  Arizona 15-3 -- I am betting they lose to Utah on the road.

2.  Utah 15-3 -- I am betting they win out.  Really does not matter as these two should be the top two seeds.

UCLA has to win its last two games.  Assuming UCLA wins it last two (11-7 overall) where does that put it among the remaining teams?   First lets discuss the two team  tiebreakers, page 57 of the PAC-12 Media guide.

1. Two-team tie

a. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.

b. Each team's record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the regular seasons standings, and then continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

c. Won-lost percentage against all Division I opponents.

d. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

4.  Oregon 11-7 (two games left, at Stanford and at OSU.)  This gets interesting.  I am betting OSU, arguably the best home team in the conference, beats them.  This means the key game may be Oregon v. Stanford.  This is really a hard game to pick.  I have very little confidence in my Stanford pick, but go for them on the basis that they are the home team.   (The tiebreaker here is complicated.  UCLA and Oregon split the regular season.  On the next tiebreaker UCLA is 0-1 vs. Arizona and Oregon is 0-2.  UCLA is 1-1 vs. Utah Oregon is 0-1)

5.  ASU 10-8 (CO, Stanford, Cal).  They have beat bad teams on the road and have been good at home and were close in their loss to Oregon.  So I assuming they win out.   The second most important game for UCLA may be Stanford at ASU.  (Note, UCLA loses any tie with them because of the head to head match up.)

6.  Stanford 10-8 (Oregon, ASU and Arizona).  I assume they are losing their Arizona road trip.  Again it all comes down to the Arizona State game.  (However, UCLA wins any tie with them because of the head to head match up.)

What does mean?  I guess I am predicting UCLA gets the first round bye as a three seed.

For those masochists who want to figure out what happens in a three way tie here are those rules:

2. Multiple-team tie

a. Results (won-lost percentage) of collective head-to-head competition during the regular season among the tied teams.

b. If more than two teams are still tied, each of the tied team's record (won-lost percentage) vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings, and then continuing down through the standings, eliminating teams with inferior records, until one team gains an advantage.   When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, use each team's record (won-lost percentage) against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to that group's own tie-breaking procedure), rather than the performance against individual tied teams.

If at any point the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.

c. Won-lost percentage against all Division I opponents.

d. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

Bottom lines:

1.  UCLA is looking "good" for first round bye. Playing a second tier PAC-12 team on no rest seems to favor UCLA winning at least a game in the PAC-12.

2.  Oregon controls its seeding.  Oregon  locks up third with a win at OSU or Stanford.  I am predicting they lose both, I think we get third in a tie.

3.  Stanford could really muck things up and make this a three way tie; if Oregon loses to OSU and Stanford beats Oregon and ASU.  In the resulting three way tie, I think we again get third.  (UCLA's record among the three is 3-1, Oregon's 1-2, Stanford's 1-2)

4.  Realistically, UCLA could be set up in the best possible fashion for a run in the PAC 12 tournament.  A first round bye and not having to face Arizona until the finals is the best they could ask for.

So yeah -- it is looking reasonable that UCLA could get in the NCAA tournament.  But if UCLA was where they should have been based on talent, there would be no sweating the details.

Go Bruins!