Both California and Stanford had huge opportunities on Thursday to make noise in the Pac-12 Tournament, while also catching the eyes of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee in some fashion. But the Golden Bears and the Cardinal both took it on the chin from ranked conference opponents, losing badly in the spotlight. Thus, the two Bay Area schools will now wait for bids to the National Invitation Tournament early next week.
It was a good day for the Bay Area in Las Vegas, as both the California and Stanford men’s basketball teams scored wins in the first round of their conference tournament. Cal beat Washington State, and Stanford beat Washington. Both teams will play again on Thursday in Sin City—this time against better competition.
The California men’s basketball team has a tough task ahead of it in the Pac-12 Tournament this week: Assuming the Golden Bears beat lowly Washington State in the first round of the tourney, they will get a shot at the best team in the conference. The Arizona Wildcats just beat the Bears by 39 points in Tucson, but stranger things have happened in the sports world than a big underdog getting revenge on the neighborhood bully.
The task is straightforward but not simple: The Stanford men’s basketball team has to win two games in the Pac-12 Tournament in order to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal put themselves in this position by losing seven of their last 10 games.
Both the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal lost their second matchup in three days with Arizona schools in Pac-12 play, and now it’s unlikely either team will make the NCAA Tournament—barring a miraculous run in the upcoming Pac-12 conference tournament.
The University of San Francisco men’s basketball team won its opening-round game of the West Coast Conference Tournament, and now the Dons will face top-seeded Gonzaga in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs are ranked seventh in both major media polls this year with their 29-2 record. It would be a major upset if USF managed to beat Gonzaga.
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.
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.
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?