February 29, 2016

Aiming to host NCAA first & second rounds

The Cardinal took a big step last weekend towards its goal of hosting the first & second rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Its upset of OSU bettered its RPI (as reported by the NCAA) from 10 to 8. Although factors other than the RPI go into the NCAA final seeding, the Cardinal is at least closer to being awarded a coveted #4 seed.

The NCAA selection committee posted its third and final Top 10 Rankings today. The 10 teams are identical to those identified in the first two rankings on Feb. 1 and Feb. 15, but, for the first time, Stanford received consideration.

In Charlie Creme's estimation, Stanford now stands at #13 and will be the #4 seed in the Lexington region. He evalutes the four Pac-12 teams in his bracket:

6. Oregon State:
The Beavers suddenly had trouble scoring in their regular-season trip to northern California, but despite a loss to Stanford, they clinched a share of the Pac-12 title (with Arizona State). Winning the tournament championship, or at least a trip to the final, could be necessary to hold onto a No. 2 seed.
8. Arizona State:
The Sun Devils avoided what could have been a disastrous L.A. trip by holding off USC on Friday, but their offense is also struggling. Sunday's loss at UCLA prevented them from winning the Pac-12 title outright. Now a failure to get to the Pac-12 final will likely cost Arizona State a No. 2 seed.
9. UCLA:
The Bruins might have cemented their top-10 status with Sunday's win over Arizona State. They have won six of their last seven games. Getting to the No. 2 seed line will require a Pac-12 tournament title, however, or some big upsets suffered by the teams in front of the Bruins.
13. Stanford:
The Cardinal might be playing the best basketball in the Pac-12 right now. They just swept the Oregon schools without leading scorer Lili Thompson. A Pac-12 tournament semifinal matchup with Oregon State could await. The result could mean the difference between a No. 3 and No. 4 seed for the Cardinal. On Friday, Stanford beat the Beavers by 22.

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