In the end, Cal’s loss to UCLA didn’t hurt a bit. The Bears received as ideal a draw as they could reasonably have hoped for. I don’t know what bracketing principle the committee used. Was Cal the 5th best team on the committee’s S curve, so they placed them with Stanford as a reward? The 8th best team, but in Spokane because everybody stays as close to home as possible? I hope the committee publishes their ranking like the men’s committee did. Anyway, no matter the reason, they kept Cal out west and they kept the actual Bears away from Brittany Griner and the Baylor Lady Bears.
Instead, can you guess who’s looming? Stanford.
But that’s getting waaaaaay head of ourselves. First the Bears have to beat Fresno State, and then they might have to escape from Lubbock by beating Texas Tech in their home gym. (For those unaware: Host sites are predetermined, and if a host school makes the NCAA tournament they are automatically placed in their home gym. Since Haas isn’t a host site the Bears were virtually guaranteed to be playing on the road.) Here's the entire bracket, and here’s the part we care about - the Spokane region:
5. Iowa State
11. Green Bay
3. Penn State
14. Cal Poly
7. Texas Tech
10. South Florida
15. Fresno State
This isn't a gift bracket. Penn State is arguably the toughest 3 seed in the tournament if the Bears make is that far, and the Nittany Lions may have to beat LSU in Baton Rouge. I'd argue that Texas Tech is underseeded at 7. That Cal/Stanford regional final sure sounds juicy, but it’s a long way away.
Cal’s opening round game against Fresno State tips off at 1:20 PT, on ESPN2. Should the Bears win they will play on Monday. Let the madness begin.