FACT: Washington State, at 16-13, is ranked No. 40 by Ken Pomeroy.
FACT: These are the teams ranked below the Cougs who are thought to either be in the tournament by Joe Lunardi and/or Jerry Palm, or on Lunardi's bubble (Palm doesn't list a bubble):
- 42: Tennessee (18-10) -- 7 seed by Lunardi, 9 seed by Palm
- 43: San Diego State (19-8) -- First four out by Lunardi
- 44: Florida State (22-7) -- 6 seed by Lunardi, 5 seed by Palm
- 45: Florida (21-8) -- First four out by Lunardi, 10 seed by Palm
- 46: Ohio State (18-9) -- 10 seed by Lunardi, 8 seed by Palm
- 47: Minnesota (20-8) -- First four out by Lunardi, 9 seed by Palm
- 48: UNLV (20-8) -- 9 seed by Lunardi, 11 seed by Palm
- 49: Texas A&M (21-8) -- Lunardi's second four out, 9 seed by Palm
- 50: Creighton (25-6) -- 11 seed by Lunardi, 12 seed by Palm as MVC auto bid (so we can assume they'd be on his bubble)
- 51: South Carolina (20-7) -- 9 seed by Lunardi, 12 seed by Palm
- 53: Utah State (26-4) -- 11 seed by Lunardi as auto bid (but in ahead of other at-larges, so we can assume he considers them "in"), 12 seed by Palm as auto bid (but again, we can assume they'd be bubble without the auto bid)
- 58: Davidson (24-6) -- 11 seed by Lunardi as auto bid (but in ahead of other at-larges, so we can assume he considers them "in"), 13 seed by Palm as auto bid (probably out in his book if they don't get the auto bid)
- 60: Maryland (18-10) -- Lunardi's second four out, 10 seed by Palm
- 61: Boston College (20-9) -- 8 seed by Lunardi, 8 seed by Palm
- 62: Michigan (18-12) -- Lunardi's first four out, 11 seed by Palm
- 67: Cincinnati (18-11) -- Lunardi's second four out
- 70: Virginia Tech (17-11) -- 10 seed by Lunardi, 11 seed by Palm
- 71: Providence (18-11) -- 12 seed by Lunardi
- 73: Siena (23-7) -- 11 seed by Lunardi (as an auto bid, but safely in by that seeding), 12 seed by Palm (as an auto bid, but we can assume on his bubble without it)
- 78: Dayton (24-5) -- 9 seed by Lunardi, 9 seed by Palm
- 79: Penn State (20-9) -- 12 seed by Lunardi
- 104: Western Kentucky (21-8) -- 13 seed by both Lunardi and Palm as auto bid (although we can assume they'd be in the bubble conversation by that seeding)
Now, a pop quiz: Guess how many of these teams are ranked below WSU in the RPI? Click below for the answer, along with final thoughts.
ZERO. Not even one. The team closest to WSU's No. 88 RPI is Davidson at No. 67, and of the teams considered "safely" in by both, Virginia Tech is closest at No. 59.
I point this out not to criticize Lunardi or Palm, who are both good at what they do (although I think Palm is much better, he just doesn't have the ESPN hype), but to point out the flaws in the selection process. The NCAA selection committee continues to rely on an outdated and flawed way to measure the quality of teams, and that's what Lunardi and Palm are doing.
I'm not saying the Cougs should be in at this point. What I am saying is this: The fact that the Cougs aren't at least in the conversation at this point is absurd, and it will become even more absurd with each win they can get between now and the end of the season.
The lesson, as always? Better not schedule more than two difficult opponents in the non-conference schedule so you can pile up wins, make sure the easier non-conference opponents aren't too easy, and make sure the rest of your conference schedules the same way so that when you do pull off a .500 record in conference, your RPI looks good.