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Posted at 9:55 AM ET, 02/11/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: Sizing up the Pac-10

By Eric Prisbell

[Note: If you are planning to run an NCAA tournament office pool or a pool among friends, please contact me via e-mail. I'd like to hear from you about your pool. I'm not quoting you or anything; I'm just interested in your thoughts about an idea I have.


Conference rank: 7

NCAA tournament bids: 3-4

Locks: Arizona.

Probable: UCLA, Washington

Bubble: Washington State

Most likely to fade: Washington State. Ken Bone's team has performed admirably this season and - much like when Tony Bennett was in Pullman - can defend the heck out of you. Klay Thompson leads the league in scoring. But WSU has lost three of five and is staggering. It is already losing ground.

Sleeper: Washington. It's a little ridiculous to call the clear preseason favorite a sleeper, but that's how I see the Huskies. They snapped their three-game losing skid Thursday by scoring 109 against California. This is one of the most exciting teams in the country. They score almost 85 points a game and make more than nine three-pointers per game. But they give up nearly 70 points a game, and that's on a good day. If they play defense, they can advance in the NCAA tournament.

Player to watch: Derrick Williams. Arizona's sophomore forward is averaging 19.5 points per game and is shooting 63.3 percent, which ranks second nationally.

Most impressive coaching job: Sean Miller. In his second season at Arizona, Miller has the Wildcats poised to have a legit chance to win the Pac-10 title.

Biggest disappointment: Washington. Before the season, the Huskies were considered the main reason to keep an eye on the Pac-10. They have regressed and, at the moment, are looking at an unflattering seed in the NCAA tournament.

Most compelling story line: Can a Pac-10 team reach the Sweet 16? My guess is yes. Last season, critics treated the league like a punching bag all year and its two NCAA tournament teams, California and Washington, both won NCAA tourney games (Washington reached the Sweet 16).

By Eric Prisbell  | February 11, 2011; 9:55 AM ET
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Next: Bracketology: Eric Prisbell's NCAA tournament field of 68

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