Basketball: What do the Bears need to achieve in Las Vegas to secure NCAA tournament spot?

Asked Saturday after Cal’s 66-65 overtime win over Colorado what the Bears need to get done at the Pac-12 tournament to assure themselves a spot in the NCAA field, senior Justin Cobbs acknowledged, “I wish I could tell you.”

Then he provided the only sure-thing road map to good news from the NCAA selection committee next Sunday.

“I’d be happy if we could win it,” he said. “Right now we’re playting with a lot of confidence. Just play every game like it’s your last.”

Now 19-12, 10-8 in the Pac-12 and owner of the No. 4 (and first-round bye in the conference tournament), the Bears won for just the second time in their past six games.

They were listed among the “first teams out” of the field in CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm’s Sunday projections.

Palm said he’s constantly asked this time of year, “How many conference tournament games do we have to win to get in?”

His answer: “All of them. That’s the only sure thing. Yes, fewer might do, but the only way to control your own destiny is to win them all. Otherwise, your team is at the mercy of what other teams do.”

The Bears got no help Sunday when another bubble team, Nebraska, scored a big road win over No. 9 Wisconsin. The Cornhuskers improved to 19-11 overall, 11-7 in the Big Ten with their eighth win in nine games.

So it’s not just what Cal does beginning Thursday in the Pac-12 quarterfinals. It’s how others fare also.

A lot of moving parts, and the Bears still need a bunch of them to fall into place.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Bob S

    They need to advance to the final, ie, win 2 games.

  • 1brsfan

    Tough road ahead. Most likely a rematch with CU and if they win they play Zona. Beating CU will go a long way but it won’t be easy.

  • Steve Fischer

    To the finals would be fair enough unless there are some other surprises in Conf Tourneys.

  • Brian

    OK. So Cal is “out” based solely on how they finished and the “eye test” and not overall record? There are six teams projected in the field that Cal beat, including #1 Zona, but they are a for sure “out” at this juncture, but all other third-place finishers are assured as “in.” Seems to me, all others should be bubble teams as well.

  • Rollonubears

    I don’t think we have a chance to beat Arizona. If we beat colorado, and keep it close, I think we’re in. If we do advance to the final, we’re definitely in. I could totally see us getting the “first 4” and actually doing something with that, for a change. That would be cool. Colorado will be beat by the time they play us. Actually, usc might beat them. That would be hilarious, to match up with them again, and actually be worried about it. This the bears. The strange stuff always happens.

  • Steve Fischer

    Cal is ranked 60th on Sagarin and we are 1-5 vs the Top 25 and 4-9 vs the Top 50. The one team we beat had a shocking injury and came back to clobber us. We also stunk during the last month.
    Brian why distort the figures? Its not just who we beat but who beat us. Instead of talk we need results – get to the final.

  • Brian

    Um, how about we check that email again. No distortion of any figures as I didn’t use any. All I said is we beat six teams that are slated for the tourney (UCI, Ark., Oregon, CU, Zona, Stanford) and tied for third place with a bunch of teams that are “in.” The question remains – why aren’t the other teams that finished 10-8 on the bubble? Indiana and injury have nothing to do with my inquiry.

  • GoBears49

    I say we might get in with one win, but the chances are less than 50%. Our chances would improve if the win is over Colorado rather than USC. Can’t see us beating Arizona, as they could lose their #1 seed as a result.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I think if colorado loses to $c or the Bears beat them (or $c) convincingly, and furd loses to wsu and/or oregon loses to osu then the bears should get in. At least that is what I am hoping for, all the lower ranking teams knocking off the other pac12 bubble teams and the bears showing well, maybe not beating AZ but at least clobbering cu and holding their own against the cats…we’ll see…Go Bears!

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Imagine had the pac12 season been reversed…and the Bears ENDED the season on the 5 game win streak they started with, I bet they’d be off the bubble (kinda like oregon)…NCAA tourney selection is always baffling…Go Bears!