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2013 Pac 12 Men’s Tournament Preview
Tuesday, 04/23/2013
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By Bobby Knight - It has been a year of So Cal dominance in the Pac 12 with both UCLA and USC blazing the trail though there are a few others that are looking to make a run this week in Ojai.  Cal has been playing well as of late winning 5 straight; Stanford has been very competitive over the last month giving some higher ranked teams all they want, and Washington, Oregon, and Utah have all shown they’re capable of pulling an upset or two.  

Let’s take a look at the day by day draw to see who will be standing at the end.   
Weather Forecast for Ojai California:  
Wednesday:  Sunny and 71 
Thursday: Partly Cloudy and 69 
Friday: Sunny and 73 
Saturday: Sunny and 77
1st Round - Wednesday:
#5 Washington vs. #8 Arizona – 11 am PST – In the regular season meeting Washington edged Arizona 4-3 in a match that saw the doubles point decided by a tiebreak and that saw 4 singles matches go the distance with Nick Kamisar clinching it at 6.  I don’t think this one will be as close as I look for Washington to claim the doubles point and pick up wins from Kyle McMorrow, Marton Bots, and Emmett Egger at 1, 2, and 3.  Prediction:  Washington 4-0  
#6 Utah vs. #7 Oregon 2 pm PST – In the regular season meeting Utah took it to Oregon winning 5-2 though I have a feeling this rematch will be a little closer on a neutral court.   I’m calling for Oregon to take the doubles point but Utah will take the momentum with straight set wins at 1, 2, and 5.  Oregon will answer with a win at 3 to close to within 3-2 but Utah will get the clincher at 6.  Prediction:  Utah 4-2   
2nd Round – Thursday:
#4 Stanford vs. #5 Washington – 11 am PST – Stanford took the regular season meeting in Seattle 4-3 in a match that came down to a 3rd set at 5 but I don’t think this one will be nearly as close.  This is a match Stanford has to win to keep its NCAA Tournament at-large hopes alive and I think the Cardinal will get it done by taking the doubles point and picking up wins at 2, 4, and 6 to advance to the semifinals.  Prediction:  Stanford 4-1
#3 Cal vs. #6 Utah – 2 pm PST – Cal won the regular season meeting 6-1 though 4 of the 6 singles matches were tight with 3 going to a 3rd set tiebreak.  I look for the Bears to take the doubles point and pick up wins at 1, 3, and 4 while Utah will pick up a win at 6.  Prediction:  Cal 4-1  
Semifinals – Friday:
#1 UCLA vs. #4 Stanford – Noon PST – The Bruins swept the 2 regular season meetings by winning 7-0 in LA and 5-2 in Palo Alto and a win here would give them the hat trick.  Stanford has won the doubles point in 9 of its last 10 matches (including the last meeting with UCLA) but I think Bruins come out ready to go and claim the point and then proceed to pick up straight set wins at 2, 3, and 5 to punch their ticket to the finals.  Prediction:  UCLA 4-0
#2 USC vs. #3 Cal – 3 pm PST – USC won the only regular season meeting 7-0 back in early February while the 2nd scheduled match in Berkeley was rained out.  This will be USC’s 1st match since its loss to UCLA so I have a feeling the Trojans will be firing on all cylinders and after taking the doubles point will grab straight set wins at 4, 5, and 6.  Prediction:  USC 4-0
Championship – Saturday:
#1 UCLA vs. #2 USC – 4 pm PST – Surprise, surprise we are looking at another UCLA/USC match with this being the 4th of the season.  All 3 previous encounters finished with a 4-3 score though while the 1st 2 were showstoppers the most recent meeting last Friday was as lopsided as a 4-3 score can be with UCLA hammering USC at 1, 2, 3, and 5 singles.  I think USC will respond and play much better this time around and it wouldn’t surprise me if Peter Smith made a few changes in his singles lineup (possibly moving Quiroz to 3 and dropping Hanfmann to 4).  Also something to look for will be how Emilio Gomez looks after retiring from his match last week against Marcos Giron.   In the 3 previous meetings, UCLA took the doubles point in the 1st 2 while USC got it last week.  I’m going to take USC at 1 and 2 doubles to give the Trojans the point.  In singles play I like Marcos Giron and Clay Thompson at 2 and 5 for UCLA while I like Roberto Quiroz and Yannick Hanfmann to get wins at 3 and 4 for the Trojans.  With 1 and 6 in tight 3rd sets I’ll take Ray Sarmiento to clinch it for USC to even up the season series at 2-2.  Prediction:  USC 4-2
So the question will be what happens if these two meet for a 5th time in Champaign?

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