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What are Washington State’s 2022 NCAA Tournament chances?

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NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

We’re approaching year three of the Kyle Smith era at Washington State, and already there’s talk of Smith’s team playing in the NCAA Tournament. What a turnaround it’s been from going from one of the worst men’s basketball coaches in WSU’s history to Kyle Smith.

Of course, it’s still July, and these way-too-early projections and bracketology exercises are mostly meaningless this time of year, but nevertheless, they’re still fun—and they provide Coug fans some excitement this time around.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the chief bracketologist out there, currently has WSU on the bubble in his “Next Four Out” section. I’m sure we’d all prefer to have the tournament spot a bit more secure, but let’s take what we can get right now.

Meanwhile, Jon Wilner has WSU as his fifth-best Pac-12 team in his way-too-early projections:

The Hotline is officially bullish on WSU’s prospects under coach Kyle Smith, in part because the Cougars return the bulk of the rotation that won seven league games and dropped five by five points or less – they were thisclose to an upper-level finish. We expect WSU to offset the loss of top scorer Isaac Bonton with a combination of improvement by returning players (Noah Williams and Efe Abogidi, to name two) and contributions from key newcomers, starting with transfer Michael Flowers and freshman Mouhamed Gueye.

Don’t forget about Kim Aiken Jr., either.

The new look roster at WSU has fans excited, especially when this guy showed up in Pullman this week:

Will this all end with an NCAA Tournament berth? Right now, WSU looks good on paper. But as they say, you don’t play games on paper.

Klay Thompson, my man

Links

Early Pac-12 basketball projections: UCLA, Oregon lead the way, with Washington State sitting at fifth | The Spokesman-Review
The Bruins return all their key players from the Final Four run.

Kyle Smith's Cougs thirsty to end NCAA Tournament drought | krem.com
The Cougs haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. The only Power 6 school who's Tournament drought is longer is DePaul, who last went in 2004.

NCAA Bracketology - Projecting the 2022 March Madness men's field
With the NBA withdrawal deadline now passed and rosters nearly crystallized, here's ESPN's projected 2022 NCAA tournament field.

2021 College Football Hot Seat Rankings: Evaluating the job security of all 130 FBS coaches - CBSSports.com
From 'win or be fired' to 'untouchable,' every college football coach gets rated by Dennis Dodd

Pac-12 coach rankings 2021: Utah's Kyle Whittingham stays on top, Stanford's David Shaw drops - CBSSports.com
How each Pac-12 football coach stacks up against each other in the annual CBS Sports coach rankings