For the first time this season the Huskies are among the 68 teams tabbed to make the Big Dance, according to bracket experts. UW is 72nd in the RPI.
After three straight wins, Washington is starting to get a little love from the national media.
The Huskies, who were picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 in a preseason poll of media who cover the league, made their first appearance this week in Jerry Palm’s NCAA tournament projections.
The CBS Sports bracketologist predicts seven Pac-12 teams (No. 5 seed Arizona, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 USC, No. 7 Oregon, No. 7 Oregon State, No. 9 California and No. 11 UW) will be included in the 68-team tourney.
However, nothing is set in the wacky Pac-12 with eight weeks remaining before the conference tournament.
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Palm writes: “Washington is one of seven Pac-12 teams in today’s bracket, but none are seeded higher than fifth. UCLA also shows up among the first four out. It could be that kind of year for the Pac-12. League favorite Arizona has been dealing with some injury issues this season. USC is playing above expectations and had a great week with a win over the Arizona schools. The only team in the league that has no realistic chance of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large team is Washington State. The other 11 won’t all get in, but it should be fun watching them try over the next couple of months.”
ESPN bracket guru Joe Lunardi is also bullish on the Huskies and the Pac-12. He includes eight Pac-12 teams in his latest projections.
Here’s a look and their seedings: No. 4 Arizona, No. 6 Oregon, No. 6 USC, No. 7 California, No. 7 Utah, No. 10 Colorado, No. 11 UCLA and No. 13 Washington.
Despite no apparent dominant team, Lunardi believes the Pac-12 is in good shape for the NCAA tournament because the conference as a whole has a high RPI.
Lunardi writes: “No conference has played the RPI game better this season than the Pac-12. Whether an accident of circumstance — highly unlikely, by the way — or a determined effort to rid itself of underwhelming NCAA results, the Pac-12 is in position to dominate the Selection Sunday narrative.”
And he adds: ”
So here we are at the start of what I like to call “RPI season” — with little or no nonconference activity remaining — and who is in the best position to maintain or enhance its position with the NCAA selection committee? Why, it’s the Pac-12 (for the first time I can remember).
Give or take, 11 of 12 Pac-12 members are in the top 75 of the RPI. Only Washington State (in the 150 range) is a “bad loss” in league play. The remaining power conferences have 20 sub-100 teams among them, so it doesn’t take a math wizard to realize that while many bubble types across the nation will disappear over the next two months, those in the Pac-12 are going to linger like an uneaten sandwich.”
And here’s a look at the RPI of the Pac-12 teams: Oregon (10), USC (17), Utah (21), Arizona (30), Oregon State (31), Colorado (36), California (44), UCLA (45), Arizona State (46), Stanford (61), Washington (72) and Washington State (148).
— ICYMI, here’s the video highlights from the Huskies’ 99-95 overtime win over Washington State courtesy of the Pac-12 Networks.
— And here’s the audio highlights delivered by UW broadcaster Bob Rondeau.
— UCLA’s Bryce Alford won the Pac-12 player of the week award.