norcalnick: Any bracket in which Cal is an 11-12 seed and NOT playing in the first four is wonderful. Cal can 100% beat teams in the 4-6 seed range. Teams like UNLV, Pitt, Notre Dame, Minnesota? Beatable teams. The Bears have beaten three teams at about that ability level over the last few weeks.
If Cal were to stay red hot and sweep their way through the rest of the regular season, how high could they realistically climb? I have a hard time envisioning them earn a 7 seed or higher, so oddly it might not be in their best interests to go crazy and win everything, or risk ending up in the dreaded 8/9 game again.
Of course, this is just me thinking out loud. After such a rough January, making the tournament in ANY capacity is wonderful, and I'd much rather beat up the rest of the conference and make some noise in the conference tourney and risk a non-ideal tournament seed. We can't control that anyway, so let's go out and win some games and make a run (however unbelievably unlikely) at the regular season title.
blueandgold15: I think many of us would be ecstatic with a play-in game in San Jose, because it would open up the possibility of a full-fledged takeover by Bears fans [in which yours truly would partake, obviously]. Cal is a much better team with its fans behind them, obviously - they've gone just 4-5 in road games this season. Still, even with Sunday's wins, things remain precarious on the bubble...a place in the play-in game barely counts as a tournament bid, and could disappear just as quickly. Gotta keep winning.
LEastCoastBears: I think the Bears are possibly allowed to lose either Thursday's game to Oregon or possibly the home game to Colorado, but not both to still be in great shape for the tournament. A win at Oregon on Thursday might be able to offset a bad loss such as a hiccup at OSU or home loss to Furd.
As to whether the Bears would be in that dreaded "round 1" game at Dayton again? I think a solid run (winning 2 games versus just 1) in the Pac-12 tournament may determine that.
Vincent S: I discussed this with FrankCohen and blueandgold15, but I'm actually very happy with the February 15th ESPN projection. I would take a First Four game over many other scenarios (e.g. Auburn Hills) if it meant we got to play in San Jose - that's basically a home game for Cal, and I think our players have begun to thrive on a friendly crowd. I think to be on the safe side, we need to win 2/3 of Utah, @Oregon State, and Stanford, as well as 1/2 of @Oregon and Colorado. Winning against both Colorado and @Oregon could erase the bad taste of a home loss to Stanford or Utah - both Oregon and Colorado are top-50 RPI teams.
Discuss the brackets! It's that time of year.