Jo-Jo should be along later today for his take on last night’s game — I was relegated to following it on autorefresh on my phone’s Web browser thanks to traveling over the mountains — but I figured as we wait for that, now’s obviously a great time to take a look at how our resume stacks up for potential seeding.
The short answer? Your guess is as good as mine — or Joe Lunardi’s, or Jerry Palm’s.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee is meeting and hashing out scenarios as I write this, and the members have probably as difficult a task this year as they’ve ever had in the past, what with all the mediocre teams trying to be the last few least bad teams in the tournament. But the muddled nature of this tournament isn’t just at the bottom; anything outside the top two lines of seeds is up for some serious debate as well.
Now that the Cougs’ have played out what I pegged as the most likely end-of-season scenario, what exactly that means for the Cougs still is up for a good amount of debate.
As I’ve written before, though, where a team ends up seeded (especially in these last few days) has as much to do with how the teams around them finish up as it does with how they finish up themselves. Also remember that unless you’re in one of those top four seeds, the committee can move teams up or down a line to “make things work.” So take any of these seeding projections with a little bit of a grain of salt.
The Cougs have pretty much been as much the definition of solid as a Tournament candidate gets over the past month. They’ve beaten who they were “supposed” to beat, and lost to teams they were “supposed” to lose to, so there hasn’t been a lot of variation up or down in terms of bracket projections. However, how the committee will ultimately view this team isn’t so clear.
Lunardi and Palm are the two most respected bracket projection guys around. Lunardi is of course the most famous, what with the power of ESPN behind him and a cool, catchy name like Bracketology. But savvy college hoops fans know what Palm does over at collegerpi.com, and know that even though he doesn’t have a fancy name or flashy site, he’s one of the best bracket projectors around.
And they disagree on the Cougs.
Lunardi has the Cougs currently slotted as a No. 6 seed, and that’s pretty much where he’s had them in the past month or so. He’s moved them up to a No. 5 and down to a No. 7 periodically, but it’s always been right around that No. 6, so it’s pretty clear how he feels about WSU. Palm, though, has the Cougs slotted as a No. 4, and that’s more or less where he has had them for a while, too.
What I think it’s going to come down to is how the committee views the difficulty of the Pac-10, because I think that’s the fundamental difference between Lunardi and Palm. They agree on the strength of UCLA and Stanford, but it appears Palm thinks the committee will take the strength of the Pac-10 into account more than Lunardi does. Here are their seeding projections each for the Pac-10 teams:
- UCLA: Lunardi 1, Palm 1
- Stanford: Lunardi 3, Palm 3
- WSU: Lunardi 6, Palm 4
- USC: Lunardi 7, Palm 5
- Arizona: Lunardi 11, Palm 10
- Oregon: Lunardi 12, Palm 11
- Arizona State: Both have the Sun Devils out. Lunardi has them as one of his last four out.
Honestly, I think a No. 4 seed for the Cougs is best case scenario. I’d have a hard time seeing UCLA as a No. 1, Stanford as a No. 2 and WSU as a No. 3, but then again, I thought a No. 3 was just wishful thinking last year — and we all know how that turned out. In the end, I think a No. 5 is probably where it’s at.