According to certain NCAA Bracketologists, Arizona State's men's basketball team pretty much has to win the Pac-10 tournament later this week in Los Angeles to make it to the Big Dance.
Yes, cbssports.com has the Sun Devils as one of the last four teams out of the 65-team MCAA tournament, a disappointing assessment.
The local school did its job last weekend by beating USC in a game that could have gone either way, and then pretty much having its way with a surprisingly weak UCLA squad.
The reason for the tepid feeling about ASU, according to CBS' Brian De Los Santos: "The Sun Devils closed the season winners of six of their final seven games. But the lone loss during the stretch was to Cal, giving the Bears the season sweep. Perhaps because they're second in the Pac-10, there's a belief they should be in the bubble discussion, but there's little meat to their résumé and the Pac-10 tournament doesn't offer much chance to improve the body of work."
Now, that's depressing, but not enough to keep us from making the trek to LA this Thursday morning for the tournament (we'll send over some blogs before, during, and after the games).
A huge semi-final game against the also-on-the-Bubble Huskies looms if ASU gets past Stanford, and the Huskies beat Oregon State on Thursday night.
Fox Sports, for example, currently has Washington in as a dangerous 13th seed, but not ASU.
And if either ASU or UW happens to win the tournament -- not an unlikely possibility -- and takes the automatic bid to the Dance, then what happens to regular-season-champion Cal?
Seems to us that their resume (no wins over Top 50 teams) is a close call, especially if underdogs claim other berths by winning their conference tourneys and narrow the odds for Bubble teams to grab at-large bids.
Meanwhile, up in Eugene, one of our least favorite coaches, Ernie Kent, already may have gotten the ax after a long and generally successful run.
But old Ernie ain't done yet.
He's predicting that his Oregon Ducks will win the tourney and steal the bid, effectively ruining things for the rest of the league.
Having seen a bunch of Pac-10 games this year, Kent's prediction could turn out to be more than mere bravado. On the other hand, Oregon could be the first team out of the tourney after its play-in game against fellow cellar dweller Washington State on Wednesday night.
As for the "other" Arizona school, the UA Wildcats, we'll get to them in a subsequent post.