Winners of seven in a row and eight of nine, the Golden Bears seemingly have played their way off the NCAA bubble.
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Cal projected as a No. 9 seed in his latest tournament bracket. That’s a far cry for barely a week ago, when the Bears were projected to play in one of the “First Four” games at Dayton, Ohio, with a chance to secure a No. 12 seed.
My read: The Bears probably can afford to lose Wednesday to Stanford and maybe even their quarterfinal Pac-12 tournament game and still get in. They probably wouldn’t feel comfortable waiting for Selection Sunday under those cicumstances, but I think they’re on that much more solid ground now.
Lunardi has Cal facing North Carolina State in Philadelphia, with the winner advancing to a potential matchup with No. 1 seed Georgetown.
Five Pac-12 teams are part of Lunardi’s latest bracket, led by Arizona, which he envisions as a No. 5 seed even though the Wildcats have slipped to fourth place in the conference standings. Lunardi predicts a first-round matchup in San Jose against La Salle.
Oregon is seeded No. 6, UCLA No. 7 and Colorado No. 11. The Bruins would square off against No. 10 Saint Mary’s at Lexington, Ky., according to Lunardi.
The four No. 1 seeds: Georgetown, Gonzaga, Indiana and Kansas.
Here is Lunardi’s latest full bracket.