SALT LAKE CITY — Before the day began, the Utah basketball team had a chance to finish as high as No. 4 in the Pac-12 and earn a bye in the first round of this week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
By the end of Saturday’s six Pac-12 games, however, the Utes ended up eighth and will play Washington Wednesday at 1 p.m. MDT in the first game of the tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. A win there would pit the Utes against No. 1 seed Arizona the following day in the second round, also at 1 p.m.
The Utes lost to Stanford 61-60 earlier Saturday, but if they had held their late lead against the Cardinal, they could have earned the No. 4 seed if Arizona and Colorado won their games later in the day. It turned out both the Wildcats and Buffaloes lost close games, so the Utes wouldn’t have earned the bye with a win, but would have avoided the possible second-round matchup with Arizona.
Five teams finished in a tie for third place at 10-8 in the Pac-12 standings. Based on head-to-head matchups among the five teams, Arizona State and Cal emerged with the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, and first-round byes in the tournament along with No. 1 Arizona and No. 2 UCLA.
Colorado, which lost to Cal in overtime Saturday, gets the No. 5 seed, while Stanford is No. 6 and Oregon, which ended the season on a seven-game winning streak, is No. 7 and will play No. 10 seed Oregon State in the first round.
The Utes split their two meetings with Washington this season, losing 59-57 in Seattle and winning 78-69 in Salt Lake City.