Most of you have probably seen most of this, but I figured I'd throw it out there, you know, for the record.
- TUESDAY: No. 1 Arizona State vs. No. 8 Jacksonville, 8:00 p.m. PDT
- WEDNESDAY: Boston University and Oregon State, TBA
- THURSDAY: No. 11 Washington vs. No. 6 Marquette, East Regional (San Jose, Calif.), 4:20 p.m. PDT
- FRIDAY: No. 8 California vs. No. 9 Louisville, South Regional (Jacksonville, Fla.), 6:50 p.m. PDT
Notably absent from this are UCLA and Arizona, both of which presumably could have played in the CBI had they wanted to, but made it clear they did not want to. Who knows if the Cougs were invited to participate or not, but looking at the participants, I have a hard time believing they wouldn't have been welcome.
A normal Pac-10 year involves four or more teams heading to the NCAA Tournament. We can hope this is a one-year downturn for the conference, but if the SEC is any indication --
three bids in a 12-team league for the second consecutive year four bids this year after three last year -- there's an uphill battle ahead.
Here are some quick thoughts on each team's situation:
- It's always so tough to read what an NIT team is going to do. Are they disappointed to be there and going to flame out? Are they pissed off and looking to take it out on someone? I'm not sure where ASU fits on this continuum, but they're a fairly veteran squad that I don't think will roll over and die. Plus, they're playing at home against a vastly inferior opponent -- Pomeroy has set the odds of an upset at 7 percent. I like their chances to at least win the first game, and it wouldn't surprise me if they ran deep. That said, this will be one of the measures of just what the true quality of the conference was this year.
- Oregon State's back to defend their CBI crown. Yawn. I really have no further thoughts on this.
- Pomeroy has identified UW/Marquette as his FanMatch game for Thursday -- out of all the games on Thursday, his system thinks it has the potential to be the most entertaining for fans. It's a proprietary system, so I don't know how he comes up with his percentages, but I do know this: Each team has strengths that can attack each others' weaknesses. Pomeroy has the game listed as a toss up, and I think that's close to the truth. If Washington wins, it will be considered an upset. But it won't really be one.
If the Huskies can get past Marquette, watch out. New Mexico will likely beat Montana, and whichever team survives that 6/11 matchup will be favored by Pomeroy -- the Lobos are rated just No. 47 by him. Now, I don't treat Pomeroy's ratings as gospel truth, but when there's that big of a disconnect between their efficiency margin (the basis for his ratings) and their seed, that's usually a red flag.
- Cal might be disappointed by its seeding, but to be honest, it's not a half bad arrangement for the Bears. First of all, I think Louisville was overseeded. Sure, the Cardinals have beaten Syracuse twice, but they also lost to St. John's by 19 and Marquette by 21. Consistency is not their strong suit. The only matchup I was hoping Cal wouldn't get is against a strong defensive team. Louisville is certainly not that. This will be a high-scoring affair, and I like Cal's experience to win out.
After that? Most people dread the 8/9 game because it's awful hard to make it to that second weekend when you have to go through a No. 1 seed. But Duke seems to most to be the most beatable of the 1's. I'm not saying the Bears will be favored. In fact, I don't think Cal matches up well with The Blue Devils. But it could be worse.