Bid thief brewing? Utah rallies to upset Cal in Pac-12 quarterfinals
LAS VEGAS — After another day of bubble teams spitting the bit left and right, Utah finally has delivered college hoops nation a story line to watch. The Utes, the 10-seed in the Pac-12 tournament, got a tough Jarred Dubois game-tying 3 in the final seconds of regulation and then dominated overtime to dump 2-seed Cal, 79-69. The Utes advance to Friday’s semifinals, where they will play the winner of the night’s final game between Oregon and Washington.
Despite the seed difference, this isn’t that surprising an upset. The Pac-12 was the most closely bunched of the major conferences in terms of points per possession in league play, and Utah had swept the Oregon schools on the last weekend of the season. As suggested in the tourney preview, the bracket also shaped up favorably for the Utes, with UCLA, Arizona and Colorado all on the other side, making the bottom half ripe for a surprise run from someone.
They’re only halfway there, but the Utes are now two wins away from stealing someone’s spot in the dance. Teams like Middle Tennessee State, Boise State, Saint Mary’s and others around the cutline are hoping this run at some point in the next 48 hours, but it’s a bit of fun for everyone else in what’s been a pretty stagnant championship week in terms of bubble drama.