The Stanford Cardinal are firmly on the NCAA bubble, and they didn’t help themselves at all on Thursday night by losing to middling Pac-12 Arizona State on the road. Now Stanford absolutely must beat the Arizona Wildcats, ranked No. 5 in the country, on Saturday night if they want to make it to March Madness.
With a 99-60 blowout loss in Tucson against the No. 5 team in the country, the California Golden Bears men’s basketball team dropped to 17-13 on the season and lost any chance of finishing at .500 in conference play. Cal will now hope for a strong showing in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Here are the teams ranked 11-15 and a few key facts to help you get to know them.
Let’s face it, 70 percent of self-proclaimed sports fans have pretty much ignored college basketball up until this point. But by the end of the month, many of us will be screaming at our television sets hoping some 19-year-old from a university we’ve barely heard of hits his free throws. How are we going to get there?
This is the dilemma when you don’t win enough in January and February: You’re left in March scoreboard watching, hoping other teams lose. That’s where the Stanford men’s basketball team finds itself today as it prepares for its final two regular-season games.
Some of the entries on this list may surprise readers, but those who have followed the game won’t be shocked at which squad is No. 1 on this list. And who knew that the local universities have won a combined four NCAA tournament titles? Only the diehard fans in the Bay Area!
Perhaps success has spoiled the longtime fans of the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team, but it’s a surprise to see the team ranked just 19th in the Associated Press poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll at this point in the season. What chance do the Cardinal have in the women’s NCAA Tournament?
Bay Area residents generally don’t think of St. Mary’s College in Moraga as being a basketball powerhouse, but the Gaels basketball team is on the verge of making the NCAA Championship Tournament for the fifth time in eight seasons if they can make a good showing this week in the West Coast Conference tournament.
There were days not so long ago when Santa Clara was the team none of the big boys wanted to play in the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Broncos struggle to even win the West Coast Conference title, thanks to the emergence of Gonzaga. But if there had been no Santa Clara, there would not be Gonzaga today.
It’s a down year for the Pac-12 in men’s basketball, as the conference is the “worst” of the Big Five this year, and when you throw in the basketball-only Big East Conference, the Pac-12 looks even worse in league comparisons. That hurts a borderline NCAA Tournament team like Stanford and absolutely pains a long-shot squad like Cal.