Late this past Saturday night, the Arizona Wildcats fell to the Washington Huskies on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send them to 19-5 overall and 9-2 in Pac-12 play.
On the East Coast though, Saturday had already bled into Sunday. It’s unlikely that committee members stayed up to watch what ended up being a classic and a high-level offensive affair between the Pac-12’s best and a conference up-and-comer. That means when they woke up on Sunday morning, all they really saw was: Arizona lost to a bubble team.
It’s not a particularly strong year for the Pac-12 so conference losses won’t be judged very well, especially when it happens to a team that’s being billed as a fringe NCAA Tournament team.
Because of this, we’ve got Arizona slipping to the 4-line but remaining with their geographical advantage in the West Region for the time being.
This is a huge week though as the Wildcats welcome two prospective Tournament teams into McKale Center with meetings against the UCLA Bruins on Thursday night and the USC Trojans on Saturday night.
Let’s take a look at where everyone sits in the bracket as of today:
Last Four Byes: USC, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, Kansas State
Last Four In: Houston, Marquette, Missouri, Boise State
First Four Out: SMU, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Syracuse
Next Four Out: Western Kentucky, Georgia, Nebraska, St. Bonaventure
Arizona remains in the West Region simply for being the best team in the West. As you can see, if this bracket were to hold until Selection Sunday, the Wildcats could be looking at a Sweet Sixteen rematch from a year ago with the Xavier Musketeers.
The Pac-12 currently figures to have four teams in the field: Arizona, the Arizona State Sun Devils who currently sit on the 9-line, the Washington Huskies who improved their Tournament status mightily with a sweep of the two aforementioned Arizona teams last week. And lastly, USC.
UCLA also improved their status with a head-to-head win over USC this past weekend but still barely sit on the outside, looking in, as our second team out of the field.
There could be a ton of movement from the Pac-12 this week as those Los Angeles teams go on their Arizona road trip.
With five teams in the thick of things to find their way into the Big Dance and four of them playing multiple games against each other this week, the bracket could look vastly different this time next week. As always, stay tuned.