* The following commentary appeared in the Hotline newsletter on Wednesday and has been re-published here (updated to reflect results) for readers who missed the original …
But it strikes me that opportunity could be somewhat limited for four teams on the NCAA tournament bubble.
For all the nuance involved in the at-large selection process, Quadrant One victories are indisputably vital.
With respect neutral-court results like those at T-Mobile Arena this weekend, only wins over top-50 opponents count as Quadrant One victories.
Arizona is a lock for March Madness the only lock.
We’ll assume, for now, that struggling Arizona State makes the at-large field.
Yep, despite losing five of their last six and despite that ugly opening-round loss to Colorado the Sun Devils are in favorable position because of wins over potential No. 1 seeds Kansas (road) and Xavier (neutral).
(There is nothing more valuable in the selection process than high-level, non-conference, road/neutral court wins.)
But there are four Pac-12 teams with resumes that point to various sides of the bubble:
USC, UCLA, Utah and Washington.
Lets quickly note the relevant RPI data as of Thursday morning; the numbers will undoubtedly shift over coming days, but probably not dramatically.
(Presumed bubble teams in italics.)
Arizona: 18thUSC: 35th UCLA: 36th Utah: 49thArizona State: 65thWashington: 67thOregon: 69thColorado: 76thStanford: 83rd
Multiple Quadrant One victories this weekend would add significant polish to the postseason profiles.
Yet three of the four bubble-sitters were grouped together on the right side of the bracket, thus forming an eat-your-own wall to Q1 heaven.
Washington was eliminated Wednesday night, but there is no scenario in which both USC and Utah can record multiple Q1 wins.
They would collide in the semifinals, with the loser leaving Las Vegas without a single Q1 victory.
USC would collect multiple Q1 wins by beating Utah and either Arizona or UCLA in the title game.
Utah would collect multiple Q1s by beating USC and either Arizona or UCLA in the final.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, the Bruins have a path to multiple Q1s, but only by defeating Arizona and then either Utah or USC in the championship.
In other words, only one of the three bubble teams still standing in T-Mobile can record multiple Q1s.
Perhaps that wont be an issue as the selection process unfolds.
Perhaps one high-level victory will be enough to catapult a combination of the Pac-12 bubble teams into the NCAAs.
But two Q1s would undoubtedly provide a major boost.
Why we need your support: Like so many other providers of local journalism across the country, the Hotline’s parent website, mercurynews.com, recently moved to a subscription model. A few Hotline stories will remain free each month (as will the newsletter), but for access to all content, youll need to subscribe. The good news for Hotline faithful: Ive secured a discount: 12 cents per day for 12 months. Click here to subscribe. And thanks for your loyalty.
*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to email@example.com
*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline
*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.