This article was written Friday afternoon. Some games still have not yet been played so some of this may be out of date.
So with the California Golden Bears moving from dark horse to solar eclipse pony on Thursday, it’s safe to say our odds of getting to the tournament are somewhat … long. They aren’t impossible, but they are quite on the distant side and put us in a perilous situation the rest of the way.
Currently the Golden Bears are situated on the outside looking in, with the Bears only making 26 of 98 brackets according to Bracket Matrix. That isn’t terrible considering the way Cal has played as of late, but that means a lot of things have to break right for Cal get back into it, and none of them are in our control anymore.
Basically, if Cal wants to find their way back into the NCAA tournament, a sequence of events will have to play out that isn’t all that probable and would require.
No upsets. Basically, no bubble or fringe team can steal a spot at this point by winning the conference tournament. Too many teams are practically pencilled in at this point and there are probably at best two or three at-large spots that are up for grabs. Teams like St. Bonaventure, Pitt, Nebraska, Seton Hall winning their tournaments would be the end of all hope.
Some things have already broken Cal’s way. Arkansas lost to South Carolina and Georgetown fell to DePaul, ending their pretty longshot bid hopes. Florida State dropped to Virginia and Missouri was knocked out by Florida, so those two teams are likely on the outside looking in. Cal has better resumes than all of those teams, so that should put us above the majority of those teams.
But UC Santa Barbara decided to get destroyed by Cal Poly in the Big West Tournament, leaving Cal with two bad losses on the year (the other to USC). If we are rooting for anything in the Pac-12 tourney, it would theoretically be for Arizona and (sigh) Furd to duke it out in the Pac-12 Tournament final to improve the strength of our most impressive wins of the season.
Now, who remains outside of that?
BYU: In good shape after making their way to the West Coast Conference finals. They have a lot of good wins and I have to imagine they’ll be dancing.
Tennessee: If they beat South Carolina, they draw Florida. If they beat Florida, they are in. If they don’t, it’ll be close. They are one of those teams hanging on the edge.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers need a marquee win, and winning any marquee Big Ten tournament games on the eve of Selection Sunday would be just the ticket they need. Right now they sit just on the edge, and a loss to Wisconsin will have them sitting at the edge of their seats Saturday.
Nebraska: They’ve been on an incredible run to end 2014, ending with a narrow loss to Ohio State. They probably have done just enough to sneak past the rest of the bubble teams to earn a bid.
Dayton & St. Joseph’s: They played a practical play-in game yesterday that went down to the wire. The team with the stronger resume (Dayton) lost and the team that needed some additional help (St. Joseph’s) won. Both teams can feel pretty good.
Providence: The Friars already knocked off one bubble team in St. John’s, and drew Seton Hall yesterday. Their road to a Big East title is far from assured (they would likely have to knock off Creighton). Xavier has probably already punched their ticket.
Louisiana Tech/Southern Miss loser: This is the bubbliest of bubbly teams. The resume will come into play here despite both teams sporting really strong records.
And if everything breaks our way, our odds are still no better than 30-40%. If they don’t all break our way, 15-20%.