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The Daily Wildcat


NCAA Tournament analysis: Who is in, who is out?

Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

With March Madness less than three weeks away, teams are scrambling to boost their RPI and make that final push off of the bubble and into the field of 68.

In no conference is that late-season mayhem more apparent than the Pac-12, where virtually no team is safe and NCAA Tournament futures are far from certain. Here’s a look at the conference’s tournament hopefuls and their chances of impressing the selection committee enough to earn a bid to the big dance:


(22-6, 12-3 Pac-12)

The Golden Bears have been rock solid and, barring a collapse, are a lock for the field of 68. Even if Cal goes 2-1 against Utah, Colorado and Stanford and wins a game or two in the Pac-12 Tournament, Jorge Gutierrez and company will still be dancing in March.

RPI: 30

Strength of schedule: 85

Best win: 69-66 at Washington

Worst loss: 92-85 at Oregon State

Best loss: 64-63 at San Diego State

Next three: at Utah, at Colorado, at Stanford

Lunardi’s pick: 9-seed

Daily Wildcat prediction: 8-seed


(19-8, 12-3 Pac-12)

Washington is the conference’s most talented team, and that talent is translating into wins. The Huskies have won eight of their last nine games and seem poised for a 9- or 10-seed if they can handle Washington State, USC and UCLA.

_RPI: 57

Strength of schedule: 74

Best win: 69-67 at Arizona

Worst loss: 92-73 vs. South Dakota State

Best loss: 86-80 vs. Duke

Next three: at Washington State, at USC, at UCLA

Lunardi’s pick: 11-seed

DW prediction: 9-seed


(19-9, 10-5 Pac-12)

This is where the tournament picture gets murky. Arizona, Oregon and Colorado all have a case for that third, and most likely final, NCAA Tournament bid. But while the Ducks and Buffs have each racked up a win against the Wildcats, Arizona’s tough non-conference schedule, productive losses and road victory against Cal put it over the top.

The Wildcats have only lost one game by more than 10 points. Arizona has arguably the easiest remaining schedule of any team. If the Wildcats can take care of the Trojans, Bruins and Sun Devils and win two games in the Pac-12 Tournament, it should be the third and final Pac-12 team to go dancing in March.

RPI: 66

Strength of schedule: 96

Best win: 78-74 at Cal

Worst loss: 59-57 vs. Oregon

Best loss: 78-72 OT at Florida

Next three: vs. USC, vs. UCLA, at ASU

Lunardi’s pick: 12-seed

DW prediction: 12-seed, play-in game


(19-8, 10-5 Pac-12)

Between its RPI of 56, blowout victory at Washington and gutsy road win at Arizona, Oregon could trump the Wildcats and get in the tournament. But unlike Arizona, the Ducks fell to Cal twice and Oregon State at home. The Ducks’ inability to take down Cal combined with their tough remaining schedule will leave them on the outside looking in. If there is a fourth team from the Pac-12, however, Oregon is it.

RPI: 56

Strength of schedule: 75

Best win: 82-57 at Washington

Worst loss: 76-71 vs. Oregon State

Best loss: 86-83 at Cal

Next three: at Oregon State, vs. Colorado, vs. Utah

Lunardi’s pick: First four out

DW prediction: First four out

Colorado (18-8, 10-4 Pac-12)

CU had a great chance of avenging last year’s snub and earning a bid until a 71-57 loss at Arizona put the Buffs behind the 8-ball. Colorado’s resume is right on par with Arizona and Oregon’s, aside from its weak RPI and SOS.

RPI: 75

Strength of schedule: 127

Best win: 87-69 vs. Washington

Worst loss: 84-64 at Stanford

Best loss: 67-58 vs. Wichita State

Next three: vs. Stanford, vs. Cal, at Oregon

Lunardi’s pick: Out

DW prediction: Out

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