Arizona’s victory over Cal on Sunday earned the Pac-10 a second NCAA Tournament entry, according to ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi in his weekly “Bracketology” projections. (This is a correction of an earlier post where I reported Cal collected the Pac-10′s only bid in Lunardi’s bracket).
Lunardi gives the Bears a No. 8 seed and matches them against Cornell of the Ivy League in a first-round game at Providence, R.I. The winner likely would face top-seeded Villanova, which is projected to play Stony Brook. The winner of that game would face the winner of the matchup between No. 4 Tennessee and New Mexico State.
Jerry Palm’s bracket on CollegeRPI.com has Cal at No. 12, matched against No. 5 Baylor in a first-round game at Spokane, Wash. The winner of that game would meet the Gonzaga-Siena winner in front of a partisan Gonzaga crowd.
(Saint Mary’s is into both projected fields, a No. 10 vs. Florida State at Buffalo, according to Lunardi, and a No. 12 against Tennessee in Spokane, in Palm’s mock bracket).
COMPUTER RATINGS: Cal’s 76-72 loss Sunday at Arizona cost them about five spots in the RPI computer, where Monday morning the Bears were rated No. 24, according to CollegeRPI.com. The rest of the Pac-10: 53. Arizona; 64. UW; 87. ASU; 89. USC; 100. WSU; 126. UCLA; 139. Stanford; 140. Oregon; 202. OSU.
Cal’s non-conference opponents continue to fare well in the RPI, with Kansas and Syracuse now 1-2, New Mexico 12th and Ohio State 33rd. The problem the Bears face, of course, is that the highest-rated team they have beaten is No. 87 ASU, although they also own wins over four other top-100 teams, including No. 92 Murray State and No. 95 Pacific.
Amazingly, defending national champion North Carolina has an RPI rating of just No. 76, landing the Tar Heels in the midst of NIT territory. UNC is 2-5 in the month of January, with three of those losses at home.
In the Sagarin computer, Cal checks in at No. 31. The rest of the Pac-10: 59. ASU; 63. UW; 74. Arizona; 78. USC; 96. WSU; 110. Oregon; 111. Stanford; 120. UCLA; 166. OSU.
TOP-25 POLLS: No surprise, but no Pac-10 teams appear in either the AP Top-25 of the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. No Pac-10 school even got a vote in the AP poll, while Cal drew two votes from the coaches. Here’s a link to both polls.