Four potential tournament teams from the Pac-12 (the California Golden Bears, Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats and Washington Huskies all have decent shots, some more decent than others). Is there any way to squeeze three of those teams in?
Here's the latest bracketology updates for the Pac-12. Far from favorable, but still there's reason for hope.
Joe Lunardi: Cal a 10th seed (Midwest Region with Creighton/Michigan State), Washington an 11th seed (East Region with Vanderbilt/Michigan), Oregon the third of the First Four Out, Arizona the third of the Next Four Out.
Chris Dobbertean: Cal a 10th seed (West Region with Vanderbilt/Michigan State), Washington an 11th seed (Midwest Region with Gonzaga and Marquette), with Oregon in the Next Four Out.
Jerry Palm: Cal a 12th seed as one of the last four in (East Region with Florida State/Wisconsin), Washington a 13th seed (Midwest Region with Murray State and Creighton), Oregon third of the first four out.
Regardless of this bleak outlook, bracketology still gives hope to the Pac-12. There's a legitimate chance for the conference to get at least three (and yes, possibly four) teams into the Dance.
Yes, it's probably a one scenario sort of thing and would require other bubble teams to fall hard. But imagine this:
- Arizona winning the Pac-12 Tournament and earning the auto-bid. The Wildcats have the weakest case of all the four Pac-12 teams that could make it, but this scenario is highly plausible. They've played Washington closely in their previous meetings and have proven they can beat UCLA.
- Oregon winning two conference games and making the tournament final. The Ducks beating Cal would give Oregon an elusive top 50 RPI win, and considering they're already straddling the bubble, a narrow loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament final would put them in the conference hunt.
- Washington winning one conference game and losing to Arizona in the semifinal. Washington has a weak case, but winning a conference championship puts them in good shape as long as they don't bomb out of the tournament. Winning one game should be enough to save them, and losing to a Wildcats team they've already beaten twice in narrow fashion is no shame.
- Cal winning one tournament game and losing to Oregon in the semifinal. Even despite their two consecutive losses to finish the season, the Bears probably wrap up an at-large bid if they win their opening tournament game and definitely if they win two; their RPI is too high.
Although the Pac-12 sending four teams is still pretty far-fetched, three isn't out of the question if Arizona or Oregon win the tournament and Cal/Washington win one-two games. It's crucial that at least three of these teams make the Final Four of the Pac-12 tournament if they plan to be more than a two bid conference.
Now that I've suggested this, we're probably going to end up with a UCLA-Colorado Pac-12 final, so these scenarios were fun to imagine while it lasted.