The Bay Area goes into Selection Sunday with one team projected to be safely in the field, with NIT heartbreak projected for another. Selections will be announced at 3 p.m. Pacific on CBS.
The Stanford Cardinal (21-12) is projected to be safely in the field after a run to the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament earlier this week. With an RPI of 40 going into Sunday, a strength of schedule of 19 and a 5-9 record against the RPI top 50, the Cardinal are projected to be:
- ESPN Bracketology (Joe Lunardi): No. 9 seed in the South Regional
- CBSSports.com Bracketology (Jerry Palm): No. 9 seed in the East Regional
- The Sporting News (Ryan Fagan): No. 9 seed
The Cal Golden Bears, on the other hand, have slipped to an RPI of 61, are 5-7 in their last 12 games and were one-and-done in the Pac-12 tourney, losing in the quarterfinals to Colorado. Cal’s strength of schedule is soft at 42 and they are 4-10 against the RPI top 50. It seems inexplicable we’d be talking about Cal being on the wrong side of the bubble on Selection Sunday after their Feb. 1 win over then-undefeated and No. 1 Arizona, but a lot went wrong since then—specifically six losses, including three at home.
- ESPN Bracketology (Joe Lunardi): First four out
- CBSSports.com Bracketology (Jerry Palm): Just plain out
- The Sporting News (Ryan Fagan): Bubble boys (not in the field)
ESPN.com is projecting six bids from the Pac-12, including UCLA—which won the automatic bid on Saturday by upsetting Arizona in the Pac-12 tourney final, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Stanford and Arizona State.
Here is a printable bracket–blank–if you want to follow along and write in the selections as their made. Old-school? Yes. But fun, just the same.
There are a couple of Bay Area schools very much in the mix for NIT bids, however. The NIT Bracket Project has Cal as a No. 1 seed in the NIT, but also has Saint Mary’s (22-11) earning an NIT bid as a No. 5 seed, with USF (21-11) among the teams considered for selection.
The NIT field got crowded as teams that won conference championships in the regular season but to not secure NCAA bids are automatically entered into the NIT. This year so far, that group includes Belmont (Ohio Valley), Boston University (Patriot League), Davidson (Southern), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Green Bay (Horizon League), High Point (Big South), Iona (MAAC), Robert Morris (Northeast), UC Irvine (Big West), Utah Valley (WAC) and Vermont (America East). This list could grow by one more school if Georgia State was to lose to Louisiana-Lafayette in the Sun Belt final.
If USF is bypassed for the NIT, the Dons would likely earn an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) or CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT), but schools have been known to decline those bids because of the pay-to-play requirements for selection. Santa Clara did accept a bid to the CBI last season and wound up winning the whole thing, beating George Mason in the best-of-three championship series.
The CIT is exclusively for schools from non-BCS conferences and requires a .500 or better record for selection. That could open the door for Pacific, which finished 15-15 in its first season back in the West Coast Conference.