ESPN’s resident bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, has both the Stanford Cardinal and the Cal Golden Bears in his field of 68 as of Monday.
Lunardi’s latest bracket projections, about five weeks out from the start of the tournament, show the Cardinal as a No. 9 seed and the Golden Bears hanging on to a No. 10 seed.
Stanford is 15-7 against Division I competition and are ranked No. 30 nationally in strength of schedule (79th in non-conference SOS). Their RPI is 42.
But the Cardinal are 0-4 against the RPI top 25. However, Stanford is helped by not having a bad loss—their worst loss would be their Jan. 9 defeat at Oregon State, which is ranked 80th in the latest RPI.
But their best win was Dec. 18 at Connecticut, which has an RPI of 30.
They have some chances for quality wins ahead, however. They host UCLA (RPI 19) on Feb. 22 and Colorado (RPI 25) on March 5 and they visit Arizona (RPI 2) on March 2.
The Golden Bears have the better win—their 60-58 victory over Arizona on Feb. 1—but are 51st in the RPI, because their Jan. 22 loss at USC—with its RPI of 127—rangs around their neck.
Their strength of schedule is weaker, 48th overall and 119th in non-conference, and their only other wins against the RPI Top 50 are at Oregon (RPI 41) and at Stanford on Jan. 2. But they have a homecourt loss to Stanford to contend with as well.
As far as other Bay Area teams in the discussion for the NCAA tournament, there aren’t any. Saint Mary’s is 17-7 with an RPI of 56 and its best win was over North Dakota State (RPI 47) on Nov. 14. But more than that, five of their losses are to teams ranked 153rd or worse in the RPI. For the Gaels to reach the tournament again, it will likely take winning the championship at the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas next month.