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Pac-12: Big night for conference in NCAA Tournament
Thursday is a big night for the Pac-12, with three conference schools involved in the four games being staged in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Stanford and UCLA both play in Memphis, Tenn., where they could meet in an Elite Eight matchup Saturday. Arizona is in Anaheim, Calif.
A quick look at the three games:
Stanford vs. Dayton, 5:15 p.m. MDT
The No. 10-seeded Cardinal advanced to the Sweet 16 with upsets of No. 7 New Mexico and No. 2 Kansas, and now they're favored against the No. 11 Flyers. A team that was in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament as of early March has enjoyed a remarkable postseason, and Stanford is in great position to keep playing, thanks to other upsets in the South Region.<
If this matchup sounds familiar, it should. The Bruins lost to Florida in consecutive Final Fours in 2006 and '07, and have played their way into another big-time opportunity in coach Steve Alford's first season. No. 4-seeded UCLA has played outstanding basketball from the Pac-12 tournament through the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but it gets tougher tonight against the No. 1 Gators. The matchup of Florida's Scott Wilbekin and UCLA's Kyle Anderson should be a classic battle.
Arizona vs. San Diego State, 8:15 p.m. MDT
Arizona is the No. 1 seed in the West Region and meets the No. 4 Aztecs in Anaheim, Calif., where both teams should have a strong following. The Wildcats overwhelmed Gonzaga in the round of 32, but SDSU will present a tougher challenge athletically, with point guard Xavier Thames leading the way.
This ,matchup obviously is also a major upgrade for the Aztecs, who beat Nos. 13 and 12 seeds to reach this point.
In the West's other game tonight, No. 2 Wisconsin meets No. 6 Baylor.