On Thursday night, the bad year of Pac-12 came to an end.
Buffalo not only beat Arizona, a fashion choice for a Final Four race, in Boise, Idaho.
The Bulls made the Wildcats cower. In the final minutes of an 89-68 loss, an Arizona squad dropped two digits to place 13-seed trash and played ghost defense, an apathetic conclusion to their season.
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Wildcats also made history. Since the Big 12 was created in 1996-97, no league between the six major conferences (Power 5 and Big East) had failed to send a team to the second round until Thursday when the Pac-12 became the first, according to ESPN & Info statistics.
According to data from the US Department of Education. UU., Arizona spends $ 3.1 million per year on men's basketball. Buffalo spends $ 500,000. Sean Miller makes $ 4 million per year and Buffalo coach Nate Oats earns $ 600,000 a year.
Those advantages did not help the Wildcats in the first round.
Arizona will share its misery with the rest of Pac-12, a conference that failed and offered little evidence that it even belonged in the field.
Arizona State beat Xavier and Kansas before they had problems in the league game this season. The selection committee still gave an offer to the Sun Devils. What did they do to show their gratitude? In the first four, they scored 56 points against a Syracuse team that many believe had not earned a place in the quagmire.
A turbulent UCLA team lost the lead and lost to San Buenaventura in a showdown in the first four. .
Andy Enfield's USC team, which finished second in the Pac-12 standings, deciphered the "snub" lists in the Sunday of Selection. The performance of the Pac-12 and the historic outcome of the tournament justified, however, the decision of the selection committee to exclude an average team from an average league.
It did not start this way.
Arizona (third) and USC (10th) won big slots in the Associated Press preseason poll. UCLA started at No. 21. Oregon received two votes after adding five-star talent Troy Brown Jr.
Arizona, UCLA, USC, Stanford and Arizona State had all incoming recruitment clbades ranked among the top 35, by ESPN.com.
Deandre Ayton, who helped Arizona regain a place in the national standings after the team lost three consecutive games in the Battle 4 Atlantis over the weekend of Thanksgiving, is potentially the first national team in the NBA draft this summer. And UCLA had turned to Aaron Holiday to replace Lonzo Ball, while USC returned all the key players from a year ago. The hot start of the Arizona state expanded the school car as well.
By the end of Thursday night, however, everyone was disappointed.
That's a statement that goes beyond basketball.
The FBI bribery investigation that rocked college basketball has focused on a couple of prominent Pac-12 programs. Former USC badistant Tony Bland was arrested in September and De & # 39; Anthony Melton never played in 2017-18 due to his alleged links with Bland and the investigation.
Former Arizona badistant Book Richardson was also arrested in the FBI investigation. Later, ESPN reported that Miller had participated in a payment plan to play for Ayton's services. Miller and Ayton denied the report and the school was stuck in the program.
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The league will participate in Friday games without a dog in the fight. The sinister shadow of the FBI investigation and possible consequences will intensify now that the three-bid league is no longer participating in the NCAA tournament.
Pac-12 is now left alone with questions.
Will Steve Alford enter the off-season in the hot seat? What about Enfield?
How fast will Bobby Hurley have this turbulent season?
And what is the future of Arizona basketball?
The latter is the most complicated question in the conference.
Miller led the show with the Final Four aspirations that an underrated Buffalo team just lost. Wildcats have no commitments. They are losing all the headlines.
What about the rest of the Pac-12 and the teams that did not participate in the NCAA tournament?
At least three Pac-12 squads will no longer be the top 100 of KenPom .com after this one-season mess.
In December, LaVar Ball took out LiAngelo Ball – suspended due to his involvement in a robbery during a trip abroad to China – from the UCLA program. He then placed him and his younger brother LaMelo Ball in a Lithuanian professional league, ending his amateur status and baduring that LaMelo would not fulfill his commitment to UCLA.
Critics complained of the limited competition the brothers would face in one of Europe's minor leagues suggested that Pac-12 would have helped both develop and thrive.
However, after Arizona's loss to Buffalo on Thursday, the Ball brothers have this in their favor: at least they're still playing.