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Pac-12: When will league produce Final Four team?

Published March 31, 2014 1:07 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In 2008, when UCLA concluded its three-year run of Final Four appearances, it certainly seemed unlikely that no school from the conference now known as the Pac-12 would reach that stage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in the next six years. But that's where the league stands, after Arizona lost to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight and UCLA and Stanford were eliminated in the Sweet 16 by Florida and Dayton, respectively. So the question is which Pac-12 program is most likely to become the conference's next Final Four contestant. Arizona is the safe pick, based on the Wildcats' tradition, but coach Sean Miller's team was primed for 2013-14 with junior guard Nick Johnson and freshman forward Aaron Gordon probably headed to the NBA. UCLA is making a comeback with coach Steve Alford, the Bruins already have lost Kyle Anderson and Zack LaVine as draft early entrants. In many ways, 2013-14 was a breakthrough season for the Pac-12, with four teams making the round of 32 and three clubs in the Sweet 16 for the first time since '08. The increased depth provided by the likes of Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon and Utah also raised the league's profile. But sustaining that momentum may be difficult.