When the Oregon Ducks beat Kansas in a regional final last weekend, they became the first team from the Pac-12 to make a Final Four since 2008.
Can they end another drought for the conference and win the national championship?
The Arizona Wildcats were the last Pac-12 team to win the NCAA Tournament. Lute Olson’s team took home the title in 1997.
So it has been 20 years since the “Conference of Champions” won the national championship in men’s basketball.
Pac-12’s close calls for National Championship
Stanford made the Final Four in 1998, but fell to Kentucky in a national semifinal. (Utah lost to Kentucky in the title game that season, but the Utes were not in the conference at that time).
In 2001, Arizona made a run to the National Championship Game, but fell to Duke in the final.
UCLA made the NCAA Championship final in 2006, but lost to Florida.
The Bruins got back to the Final Four in 2007, but fell to Florida in a national semifinal.
They returned to the Final Four for a third straight year in 2008, but lost to Memphis in a semifinal.
Winning a title this season won’t come easy for Oregon.
The Ducks will have to defeat North Carolina in a semifinal on Saturday to advance to the title game.
If they make it to the title game, they will have to defeat Gonzaga or South Carolina to win the Pac-12’s first national title in men’s basketball since 1997.
Pac-12 teams that have won the title
• UCLA (11): 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1995.
• Arizona (1): 1997.
• California (1): 1959.
• Utah (1): 1944.
• Stanford (1): 1942.
• Oregon (1): 1939.
Final Four schedule
Semifinal winners, 6:19 p.m., Channel 5 (Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson).
BEAT BICKLEY: NCAA Tournament contest
Previous story: Oregon ends Pac-12’s Final Four drought
In 2008, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love were part of a UCLA team that made the Final Four.
It was the Bruins’ third consecutive Final Four appearance.
They haven’t been back since.
In fact, until Oregon made the 2017 Final Four in Glendale with a 74-60 win over No. 1 seed Kansas on Saturday, no other Pac-12 team had been in the Final Four during that time either, a drought spanning nine years.
During the Pac-12’s drought, the Big East had sent eight teams to the Final Four. The Big Ten, seven. The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern had each sent five. Even the Missouri Valley, Horizon and Colonial conferences had Final Four representation.
The Pac-12 had some close calls during the drought.
Sean Miller, who has taken Arizona to seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments, has led his team to three regional finals.
The Wildcats just haven’t been able to get past the Elite Eight.
Arizona lost in the regional finals in 2015 (85-78 to Wisconsin) and 2014 (64-63 to Wisconsin).
The Wildcats also fell to UConn in the Elite Eight in 2011, 65-63.
The only other Pac-12 team since 2008 to make the Elite Eight before Oregon accomplished the feat this season were the Ducks last season.
They fell short against Oklahoma in a regional final, 80-68.
They were the only Pac-12 team to advance past the first weekend in 2016.
Three Pac-12 teams were in the Sweet 16 this year. And now, finally, one has made the Final Four.
azcentral sports’ Doug Haller contributed to this story.
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