Pac-12 basketball: Seen & heard in Las Vegas

2013-03-14T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:09:27Z Pac-12 basketball: Seen & heard in Las VegasPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

New home

The MGM Grand Garden Arena had hosted only one day of basketball, ever, before the Pac-12 tournament made its debut Wednesday.

Fans gathered into the casino arena, which typically hosts concerts (the Eagles are here later this month) and boxing matches, sitting in emerald green seats temporarily positioned around the court.

In an arena with a capacity of 13,127, the early session drew 7,451 fans.

The late session - with less exciting games: USC-Utah and Washington-Washington State - attracted 8,566 fans.

"I've enjoyed coming here," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I know when you take a look at our section of tickets, I'm pretty biased when you can look up and see all that red."

Loud

Arizona State boasted maybe the session's best student section.

Members of The 942 Crew - named after a desire to fill all 942 student section seats at Wells Fargo Arena (seriously!) - stomped and cheered the Sun Devils to an overtime victory against Stanford.

It was impressive as Colorado, which for the second straight year flew its 50 most loyal students to see the Buffaloes.

"I think it's great, as far as somebody cheering for you," ASU guard Jahii Carson said. "You always want to do good for somebody that's cheering for you.

"We come out there and don't wanna let our fans down. They traveled way out here to Vegas. Some didn't have the expenses to come out and fly. Some drove.

"So we'd like to give them a show and support them as well as they support us."

Moral victory?

Craig Robinson's sister might be the most famous woman in the world, but that didn't stop him from using a sports cliché.

"It's like kissing your sister when you say it's a moral victory," he said.

The Oregon State coach then tried to explain how his 18-14 team had a lot of moral victories.

"While it didn't look like it this season, we've made a lot of progress," Robinson said. "You know, when I first got to Oregon State, we were trying not to lose by 30.

"And this year, because of these guys' hard work, continually, we were in absolutely every game we played in the Pac-12."

Robinson received a contract extension in September that takes his deal through the 2016-17 season. He inherited a team that went 0-18 in Pac-12 play in 2007-08.

"I think most of you folks who know me, know that, if I thought we were stinking up the place, I'd probably say it," he said.

Quotable

"People called me disabled because of my size on the basketball court, and I use that to my advantage. … They say I'm height-disabled." - Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson, who is listed at 5-10

What are the odds?

Since we're in Vegas, we might as well check in with what the Wise Guys think about the Arizona Wildcats' chances.

The UA is a 22-1 shot to win the NCAA tournament, according to the sports book at the MGM Grand. That's the best rate of any Pac-12 team.

UCLA was listed at 40-1, Oregon 50-1, Cal 100-1 and Colorado 125-1.

The Wildcats' chances have improved dramatically since they opened at 35-1 on April 30, 2012.

Wildcats the fave

The MGM Grand sports book also listed the following odds for the Pac-12 tournament, before it began Wednesday:

Arizona 9-5

UCLA 3-1

Oregon 7-2

Cal 9-2

Colorado 6-1

Arizona State 10-1

Stanford 12-1

USC 15-1

Washington 15-1

Oregon State 50-1

Washington State 75-1

Utah 75-1

Another quotable

"That's everybody's goal before the season starts - to make the tourney. And whatever tournament that we get into, and whatever opportunity that we have, we're going to try to fulfill it." - Stanford guard Aaron Bright, on his team's likely NIT destination

The big number

17-1

ASU's record this year when it leads at halftime. The loss came in overtime to UCLA.

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