Lots going on today, so I’m a little late with this. But here goes . . .
BRACKETOLOGY: ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi still has Cal as the only Pac-10 team in the NCAA field. He projects the Bears as a No. 9 seed, matched against No. 8 Texas (Jamal Boykin, meet Damion James) at Jacksonville, Fla. This scenario would have the winner facing No. 1 Duke in the second round. A tough arrangement all around.
(My personal theory is most teams are better off being seeded No. 10 than No. 8. A No. 10 is probably only marginally inferior — if at all – -to the No. 7 team it will play. The No. 7 team beat No.10 in three of four matchups last year, although No. 7 was 15-5 the previous four years. Either way, the 7-10 winner isn’t rewarded by a matchup with No. 1, as the No. 8-9 winner is.)
Lunardi also has Saint Mary’s in the field, seeded No. 11 against No. 6 Baylor in Buffalo.
Here’s the full ESPN.com bracket.
Far less love for the Bears from Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com. He has Cal seeded No. 12, facing No. 5 Wisconsin in Spokane, Wash. The winner there would face either Georgetown or Cornell.
And just for fun, here’s a bracket projection from Chris Dobbertean at bloggingthebracket.com. He has Cal at No. 8 against No. 9 Marquette in Jacksonville, with Duke waiting in the second round.
THE COMPUTERS: Cal is No. 21 in the RPI ratings according to the official NCAA site. For those you wondering why this matters after Cal clinched the Pac-10 regular-season title, it matters. It impacts seeding in the NCAAs, although Cal’s failure to beat anyone else rated in the top-50 likely means you cannot deduce the Bears’ NCAA seeding simply through its RPI. Otherwise, they’d a No. 6. And they’re not. Not even close.
Cal is No. 30 in the Sagarin computer rankings. ASU has climbed to No. 48 and Washington to No. 52. So the Bears are 3-5 against the top-52 of the Sagarin.
THE POLLS: Both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls are Syracuse, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas State as their top five teams. No Pac-10 teams in either (again), although the coaches gave Cal two votes. Don’t get excited, it’s usually an assistant coach or director of operations or sports information director who actually does the voting. Here’s a link to both polls.
STATS: Jerome Randle is No. 2 nationally in free-throw accuracy at 92.3 percent (108–for-117). No. 1 is Appalachian State junior Donald Sims, who is converting a cool 95.0 percent (151-for-159).