Now that we've started the conference slate, it's becoming evident that the Cats are either improving or the caliber of teams in the conference this year are not what they used to be. The third option not mentioned could be the most likely one, basically it's a bit of both, the Cats are improving and the Conference is down so it is difficult to gauge just how much improvement there is. No one questioned that the conference was in transition this year but based on the evidence of play from the first two weekends there are suddenly no clear favorites and no postseason guarantees outside of the automatic bid. What does this mean for the Cats and their tourney chances, per usual it's a matter of give and take and in this year of resetting and remaking the image of the program, the streak is more likely to be a curse rather than a help.
You can read it out there the murmurs and rumblings that the PAC is perhaps only a one bid conference this year. With the underwhelming performance of both California and Washington, I can't rightly gainsay them. Now have ASU and Washington State performed well, yes and no. they look great one game and look like something you stepped in on the next game. As it now stands, has any PAC 10 team really done enough to warrant an at-large bid as of yet? Maybe the only one that has done well is USC and we've already seen that they've been sacrificed at the alter of the football program. After consuming those observations, I think it doesn't bode well for the streak to continue just based on wins alone.
Then there is the problem with the perception of the streak with the media itself.
St. Josephine of Lunardi spent copious amounts of air time last year on the four letter network justifying why Arizona didn't belong last year. It continued despite their performance in the tourney during their march to the sweet 16 and he persisted that he was right and continued on the diatribe throughout the summer. He simply felt that Arizona got a break/pass/benefit that it didn't deserve. When you couple that with the latest at CNNSI.com the road has become that more difficult. It won't matter a damn about strength of schedule or the RPI, the Cats are lacking wins of quality, and the conference isn't helping.
As it stands now, I think the Cats have to win the conference in order to be dancing