Pac-12 Bracketology: March 16 EditionPosted by Connor Pelton on March 16th, 2013
After four months of basketball, fields for the NCAA, NIT, and CBI will be released tomorrow. In this piece, we’ll put together where each Pac-12 team fits into the picture as of late afternoon Saturday.
|Category||Team||Projected Seed||Projected Opponent||P12 S Curve Rank|
|Definitely Dancin’||Arizona||5||Iowa State/Virginia||17|
|Bubble In||Colorado||10||Colorado State||38|
|Bubble Out||Arizona State||2 (NIT)||New Mexico State|
|NIT Locks||Stanford||3 (NIT)||Richmond|
|NIT Bubble Out||Washington||N/A||Weber State (CBI)|
Definitely Dancing: Arizona is the highest ranked Pac-12 team, and will remain the highest no matter the result of the UCLA/Oregon game tonight. The Wildcats have to like their current standing on the seed line, as it gives them a chance at an opening game with a team that will have played two days earlier. I project either Iowa State or Virginia to be that team, and if I were a Wildcats fan, I’d be pulling hard for Virginia rather than the Cyclones. Next up is six seed UCLA, and if they beat Oregon tonight to take home both the regular season and conference titles, I see them climbing up to a low five-seed. But right now they would match up with Bucknell, the Patriot League champions that finished the season at 28-5. The Bison are much more dangerous than your usual mid-major conference champion, ranking only behind Gonzaga, New Mexico, Saint Louis, Memphis, and Creighton as the mid-major conference champs. Our final lock goes to Oregon, a team that slipped to the bubble last week before winning its first two Pac-12 Tournament games and advancing to the tournament championship game. The Ducks will of course want to win tonight, but knowing their only escape from the #8/#9 game will be with a loss to the Bruins, a defeat wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. If they were to remain where they currently are at 3:00 PM PT tomorrow, I have Dana Altman and company meeting NC State in the Second Round.
Bubble In: Colorado and California are both technically on the bubble as ten-seeds, but only one team should be nervous through Sunday afternoon despite being ranked back-to-back on my seed line. The Buffaloes should be in after getting a win on Wednesday against Oregon State, bringing their record to 21-11 and putting their RPI at #38. I actually have them matching up with rival Colorado State in their Second Round game, which would be must-see television for everyone around the nation. The Rams finished their season at 25-8, but actually lost to the Buffs back in December. Unlike Colorado, California earned a bye into the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament, but also unlike the Buffs, they are truly on the bubble. Losing their last two games of the season killed the Golden Bears, especially since neither of those losses came to teams that will be included in the field of 68. Regardless, Cal still has a better résumé than teams like Middle Tennessee, La Salle, and Iowa State. They, however, get a much tougher opening match-up than Colorado, facing MVC champion Creighton for the second time this season. The Bluejays have one of the most prolific scorers in the nation in Doug McDermott and have posted wins over Wisconsin, Akron, and Wichita State (twice). So yeah, not the easiest opening game.
Bubble Out: Arizona State is still technically on the NCAA bubble, but barring a surprise like leaving Colorado out in 2011, ASU is headed to the NIT. I have them hosting New Mexico State in what would be a very spicy first round game. I currently see the Aggies as the last at-large team in the NIT field, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. NMSU has one of the nation’s tallest players in Sim Bhullar and has racked up 27 wins so far in the 2012-13 season. They are also playing in the WAC Championship game tonight, so ASU’s matchup is obviously not set in stone.
NIT Locks: Stanford is squarely in the NIT and will likely be announced as a three- or four-seed when the bracket is revealed tomorrow night. The Cardinal finished the year with two wins and two losses, but considering the losses were to Colorado and Arizona State by a combined three points, there is no shame in that. I currently have Johnny Dawkins‘ team hosting an interesting Richmond team to start the NIT. The Spiders closed the year with an 18-14 mark and boast wins against VCU and Charlotte.
NIT Bubble Out: Washington has slipped from an NIT lock to on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday eve in just the course over a few weeks. That likely won’t change over the next 21 hours, meaning the Huskies are headed for the CBI. I currently have the Dawgs hosting Weber State in an interesting first round game.