The crazy, jumbled Pac-12 men's basketball regular season fit that description right to the end, with the best example being how Arizona State lost at Oregon State in overtime, but emerged from a five-way tie for third place with the No. 3 seed for this week's conference tournament in Las Vegas.
That's basically because of the Sun Devils' previous upset of Arizona. California earned the other available first-round bye with an overtime defeat of Colorado. Those teams are likely to meet in Thursday's quarterfinals.
There are dueling arguments about the value of the bye. One theory is that every win improves a bubble team's NCAA Tournament chances; the other is that a bad loss could be devastating to a team such as Oregon or Stanford. In any case, with top two seeds Arizona and UCLA losing Saturday, the quarterfinals could produce four epic games at the MGM Grand Garden.
Wednesday's first round (all times MDT)
No. 8 Utah vs. No. 9 Washington, 1 p.m.
No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 USC, 3:30 p.m.
No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 Oregon State, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 11 Washington State, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday's quarterfinals (all times MDT)
Utah-Arizona winner vs. No. 1 Arizona, 1 p.m.
Colorado-USC winner vs. No. 4 California, 3:30 p.m.
Oregon-Oregon State winner vs. No. 2 UCLA, 7 p.m.
Stanford-Washington State winner vs. No. 3 Arizona State, 9:30 p.m.
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