I'm not sure what the final straw was: I guess it was USC beating Arizona State.
USC had little chance of making the NCAA Tournament without winning the Pac-10 tournament. Arizona State was already an NCAA Tournament lock.
In the end, the Sun Devils had little or no incentive to actually win the Pac-10 Tournament. Pride, maybe. But pride isn't enough to counter desperation -- that's what USC brought.
If Arizona State was playing for its Tournament life, I suspect the result would have been different. Same thing with UNC vs. Florida State. Same thing with Wake vs. Maryland. Same thing with Oklahoma or Kansas or Texas or Xavier or Dayton... the list goes on.
More than anything else these past few days, what has been exposed is what a sham the "power conference" tournament structure is: NCAA "locks" have little reason to play to win -- NCAA Tournament seeding? Feh: Pitt will probably be a 1-seed anyway; same with UNC.
The point is: There is no way that the "lock" teams are playing their hardest -- or, at least, playing as hard as teams with a lot more to gain from the system. Plus: The experts seem to reward Bubble teams for wins over "name" teams in the conference tournament, even though these name teams aren't playing nearly as hard as they were in the regular season.
Look, I'm sure the top teams protest that they are trying their hardest -- but it simply doesn't hold water: You're telling me they care as much in an ultimately meaningless now as they will next week, when each game mean literally everything? No way.