One of the biggest Las Vegas sports betting weekends of the year is the first week of March Madness but Sin City will get two college basketball appetizers this weekend. Both the Pac 12 and the Mountain West conferences will host their post-season tournaments in Las Vegas, with each starting Wednesday and running through the weekend.
The new T-Mobile Arena will play host to the Pac 12 Conference Tournament from March 8-11. Four First Round games are set to tip off at 12 PM PST, with the Stanford Cardinal and Arizona State Sun Devils opening the tournament. Those teams will compete for a chance to play against the #1 ranked Oregon Ducks in the quarterfinals and while the Ducks are the top seed heading into the tournament, all eyes will likely be on the UCLA Bruins.
Led by freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, UCLA has one of the top offenses in the country and if they can navigate their way to a Pac 12 title this weekend, could find themselves slotted into a #1 spot for this month’s NCAA Tournament. Another standout player to watch throughout the tournament, if they can advance out of the First Round, is Washington’s Markelle Fultz. Some NBA insiders say he could be the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft but he’ll have a tough match up with the USC Trojans in tonight’s First Round nightcap.
On the other side of the strip, the Mountain West Conference Championship will play out at the Thomas & Mack Center. While the UNLV Rebels will have the hometown crowd behind them, it is the other in-state team, the University of Nevada Wolfpack, that is the #1 seed heading into the tournament.
While there may not be any lottery picks participating in the Mountain West Conference Championship, the only way a team from the conference is going to be dancing next week is if they win the tournament. Even Nevada, who ended the season atop the conference and with a 25-6 record, isn’t guaranteed a spot in the field of 68 if they don’t take care of business this weekend.
That should make for much different dynamic between the two Las Vegas tournaments. The top few teams from the Pac 12 are playing to boost their NCAA Tournament seeds and for bragging rights, while the Mountain West teams are playing to keep their seasons going. More information on each conference tournament can be found in the links above.