The preview during the regular season was quite accurate as to how much better Arizona are when compared with Oregon, turning the Pac-12 championship game into a very one-sided affair, winning 80-52 to claim the conference tournament.
Ranked #5 in the nation, this might have been enough for the Wildcats, winning the tournament for the first time since 2002, a first for Sean Miller as their head coach, to gain a #1 seed. Arizona began the game in high gear and Oregon never really had a moment to catch up, trailing by 15 at half time and eventually losing by the biggest margin ever in a Pac-12 tournament championship game, and getting swept by Arizona this season.
Joseph Young was the lone bright spot with 19 points, but it’s not nearly enough against a team that’s athletic and deep as Arizona are for yet another season. Brandon Ashley was hitting shots from all over the place to finish with a game-high 20 points, aided by a very big lineup with just one guard on the floor to make things difficult for Oregon. Stanley Johnson scored 14 points and T.J. McConnell added 12. Arizona didn’t need too much from their bench.
When anyone asks when Arizona last won the Pac-12 championship, you tell them 2015. For every great team, there comes a point where you really have to come together as a team, and we’ve done a great job of doing that. It’s just the right time; everyone seems to be clicking.
And this is the best point about Arizona, winning 11 in a row and 17 of their last 18 games as they head into the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky, without a doubt, are the best team in the nation until proven otherwise, but the NCAA tournament is often about coming together at the right time and putting a nice little effort over the course of six games. Arizona aren’t the only team on a roll, but they just might on the best one.