Bracketology 2014: Cal basketball bubble watch is strong

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Only a month away from The Dance...

Cal basketball is in a bit of a slump right now. Beating the former number one team in the country has been the only thing keeping the Bears from sliding entirely out of sight and mind in conference play. The Bears are at 6-4 and really are in must-win mode for the rest of the season to ensure a quality tournament bid.

Cal does have their marquee win with Arizona, and that does help them a lot--at the moment it's the difference between being firmly on the bubble and treading off of it into "last four in/first four out territory". Even with the loss to Stanfurd, Joe Lunardi still slotted Cal a few spots up last Thursday and they're staying in a 10 seed spot (slated against Memphis with a likely second round date with San Diego State).

Jerry Palm has Cal as a 10 seed too and firmly in bubble status (so does Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation). Palm does a good job of breaking down Cal's tournament bid status by the numbers. The Bears are 9-1 against teams with an RPI of 100 or lower (give you one guess what that loss was), 3-2 against teams with an RPI of 51-100, 2-2 against teams with an RPI of 26-50, and 1-3 against teams with an RPI of 1-25. Those numbers tell you most of the story against this season. Cal beats crappy teams and struggles with most everyone else. It's hard to really enjoy a team that has that much trouble.

Honestly, all of this discussion is moot if Cal doesn't shape up on their road trip to Washington. The Bears have been pretty mercurial as of late, so an uninspired effort and any sort of split will pretty much undo any of their good work. It's up to the team to decide if they really want to be tournament material, or if they're happy to rest on the laurels of one marquee win. Monty and the Bears will definitely want to come out hard to get that sweep this weekend.


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