Pac-12 Bracketology: February 19 EditionPosted by Connor Pelton on February 19th, 2013
Exactly 26 days from now, brackets for the NCAA Tournament, NIT, and CBI will be revealed on Selection Sunday. In this piece, we’ll put together where each Pac-12 team fits into the picture as of today. To see last week’s projections, click here.
|Category||Team||Projected Seed||Projected Opponent||Pac-12 S Curve Rank|
|Definitely Dancing||Arizona||3||Stony Brook*||11|
|Colorado||9||San Diego State||37|
|California||12||North Carolina (Play-In)||50|
|Bubble Out||Arizona State||1||Rutgers|
|NIT Bubble In||Washington||8||@ Maryland|
|CBI Bubble In||Oregon State||N/A||@ South Dakota State|
|CBI Bubble Out||USC|
Definitely Dancing: Despite their recent struggles, both Arizona and Oregon remain locks at this point. I have the Wildcats a tad lower on the S-curve than most prognosticators, but they get to go to either Salt Lake City or San Jose instead of being shipped back east. Nothing is very special about their first round opponent, Stony Brook. The Seawolves, who I project to win the America East, currently sit at 19-6 and have notable seven- and one-point losses in games at Maryland and Seton Hall, respectively. Oregon cannot do anything to play itself out of the field of 68 thanks to its road sweep of the Washington schools. The Ducks have a great shot at winning the regular season championship, as they are already a full game up on UCLA and don’t play a team currently in the upper third of the league from here on out. Being the lowest #5 seed on the board, Dana Altman’s squad gets Virginia, the top #12 seed, in their NCAA opener. The Wahoos have won seven of their last nine and are rising on mock brackets everywhere pretty quickly.
Bubble In: UCLA drops a seed down to the outer part of the bubble in this week’s addition. The Bruins were jumped by teams like Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, who simply are just earning better resume wins than UCLA. Since UCLA is the top #9 seed, it faces #8 seed UNLV, resulting in virtually a pick’em. Colorado sits immediately behind UCLA on the #9 seed line. The Buffaloes picked up a huge win over Arizona on Thursday night, made even more so after dropping an overtime decision to Arizona State two days later. CU can go into the Pac-12 Tournament with its NCAA hopes locked up if they finish the regular season 3-2. With three home games, that certainly is possible. I currently have California as the last team in the field. Amazingly, the Golden Bears climbed 44 spots (not counting automatic bids) and completely jumped the entire NIT field since my last projection. Winning five of their last six games has done wonders, especially with three of those victories coming against Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA. I have them facing North Carolina in the #12/#12 play-in game in Dayton, in what would be both a challenging and must-see game for fans around the nation.
Bubble Out: I now have Arizona State dropping from bubble in to the first team out in this week’s projections. Its home loss to Stanford and RPI-killing defeat at Utah hurt the Sun Devils immensely, but the rebound game at Colorado makes up for it. ASU needs to finish the regular season with a better record than California and hope Indiana State drops a couple games as well. Additionally, they have to avoid additional bad losses. A win over Washington State on Thursday night is a must. Despite a rough week against the LA schools, Stanford has jumped some big fallers throughout the NIT field and is all of the sudden my eighth team out of the NCAA bracket. The best thing the Cardinal have going for them right now is their RPI and quality wins. Ranked 67th in the RPI and with good victories over California, Oregon, and Arizona State, the Cardinal have been a popular trend to include in the field of 68 the last couple weeks. I still think they need to finish the season 4-1 to have a shot, however.
NIT Bubble In: After a good start to conference play, Washington has dropped seven of its last nine games and has fallen from at least an NIT lock to the NIT bubble. They are my second-to-last team in the NIT field, which of course is dangerous territory since regular season conference winners that don’t go to the NCAAs get an automatic spot in the NIT. I think they make it in with 18 wins, which isn’t impossible as three of the Dawgs’ remaining five games are in Seattle.
CBI Bubble In: Oregon State is the second-to-last team in my CBI field. The Beavers certainly have shown the talent and potential to earn consideration for the NIT, but the fact that they can’t close out games relegates them down here. There are still some deserving teams behind Oregon State (West Virginia, USC, Purdue), so the Beavs can’t just pack it in and cruise the rest of the way. They’ll need three wins in their final six (counting the Pac-12 Tournament) to be a lock for the CBI, and five if they want to be on the outer fringes of NIT discussion.
CBI Bubble Out: USC is still just outside the CBI field, but it is rising quickly while some previous CBI bubble clubs fell hard throughout the week. I still think it’ll need to finish with a record of .500 or better to make the field, which is possible as three of the games will be played at the Galen Center.