Northwest

How Bill Walton predicted the Pac-12’s success in NCAA Tournament

Northwest

Few know the Pac-12 Conference better than Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

He’s a UCLA alum, West Coast native, and he can talk for days about his beloved “Conference of Champions,” all while wearing tye dye and capturing the spirit of the Grateful Dead.

So, when the 68-team NCAA Tournament bracket was released for the men’s teams, Walton unveiled his Final Four to his ESPN play-by-play partner, Dave Pasch. The former Trail Blazer selected five Pac-12 teams for the four spots, including two from the same region.

Well, now he’s looking like a genius and probably owns the most accurate bracket in America.

No. 6 USC beat No. 7 Oregon to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 20 years, No. 11 UCLA upset No. 2 Alabama in overtime, and No. 12 seeded Oregon State will face off against No. 2 seeded Houston on Monday.

The Pac-12 makes up three of the teams heading to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2001. 

 

According to ESPN, this is the first time two teams seeded 11th or lower (No. 11 UCLA and No. 12 Oregon State) made the Elite Eight in the same tournament.

Hey, maybe it started out as a joke, but Bill Walton was (mostly) right. The Pac-12 is the Conference of Champions.