With four weeks left in the regular season, Cal finds itself in a precarious position. The Bears are tied for fifth place in the Pac-12 standings and sit at No. 51 in the official NCAA RPI computer rankings.
Neither is a comfortable place.
Will the sixth team in the Pac-12 qualify for the NCAA tournament? Maybe, but it’s by no means a sure thing.
How about No. 51 in the RPI? Bubble territory.
Cal hits the road this week to play a pair of second-division teams it’s already beaten: at Washington State on Wednesday night, at Washington on Saturday afternoon.
“I hope they understand it’s down to where it’s going to separate pretty soon,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said of the tight pack of teams in the middle of the conference standings.
“We’ve got to be a part of the positive separation. There’s nine teams and any one of those nine could step up and be in a better position. We’re certainly not out of the woods. This week’s important to us, but a lot of people I’m sure are saying the same thing.”
Tied for seventh, eighth and ninth behind Cal and Stanford are Utah, Oregon State and Washington, all at 5-6. Oregon, 13-0 before Pac-12 play began, sits in 10th place at 3-8.
NCAA RPI RATINGS
2. Arizona: Cats wobbled a bit but won twice without Brandon Ashley
19. UCLA: The computer likes the Bruins more than Top-25 voters do
25. Colorado: Still hanging in there without star Spencer Dinwiddie
40. Arizona State: Sun Devils have Valentine’s Day date with Arizona
42. Oregon: Ducks have lost four Pac-12 games by 2 points each
44. Stanford: Win at Cal improved Cardinal to 5-2 on road; UW awaits
51. Cal: Bears are 1-4 in past five and that win was over Arizona
81. Oregon State: Only road win since Nov. 18 — at Washington State
83. Washington: A different team at home, where Huskies are 11-2
105. Utah: Utes are 16-1 at home, 0-6 on the road.
131. USC: 1-9 in the Pac-12 and that one win came over Cal
161. Washington St: High-scoring DaVonte Lacy didn’t face Bears first time