By Matthew Zimmer
Every year fans hold on to Bracketology like it’s the actual decision from the NCAA. Obviously, it’s not.
However, folks like ESPN’s Joe Lunardi usually have more understanding of the way teams are selected for the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments.
For the Pac-12, Lunardi has four men’s teams projected in the tournament. Granted, we still have the entire conference tournament. Yet he doesn’t have a single Pac-12 team as a First Four Out or a Next Four Out.
Lunardi last updated his bracket late Thursday night.
In other words, it would take an unexpected upset in the Pac-12 Tournament for a team not in the Top 4 of the conference to reach the NCAA as we sit here on March 5.
Right now, the Oregon Ducks sit at the top of the Pac-12. Usually in these bracket projections, the expert puts the No. 1 team as the expected “Automatic Qualifier” to win their conference tournament.
So, Lunardi does just that. He has the Ducks as the Pac-12 Tournament Champion and a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Obviously, Oregon is sitting atop a loaded Top 4 in the Pac-12 where all four teams are within half a game of each other.
Lunardi believes the other three will be higher seeds than Oregon, even without winning the conference tournament.
He has Colorado getting the best seed in the Pac-12 as a No. 5 seed. Then, USC as a No. 6 seed. Finally, Lunardi has UCLA making it in as a No. 9 seed.
The Men’s Pac-12 Tournament starts next week. There are still some games that will affect seeding implications, including the Oregon-Oregon State matchup on Sunday (tip-off 5 p.m. PT FS1).
ESPN’s Charlie Creme updated his bracket on Friday morning.
Creme believes the Pac-12 will get half its teams in the NCAA Tournament. Unlike Lunardi, Creme doesn’t go eight teams deep for missing the Tournament (Next Four Out), but he does go First Four Out.
No Pac-12 team is listed in the First Four Out.
All six teams Creme has in from the conference have a record above .500 (overall) right now. Washington State is the only team that is in from Creme that is below .500 in Pac-12 play.
Stanford has been excellent again this season, Creme has them as a No. 1 seed and the conference’s Automatic Qualifier.
Next, both Arizona and UCLA are projected as No. 3 seeds. Then, even with their loss to Oregon State, Creme has the Oregon Ducks as a No. 5 seed.
Oregon State’s two wins in the Pac-12 Tournament so far gives them a No. 9 seed. Finally, the aforementioned WSU Cougars are projected as a No. 10 seed.
The Pac-12 Women’s Tournament wraps up this weekend. Friday night, the Beavs face top-seeded Stanford (5 p.m. tip-off).
If the Beavs win, they’ll play in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship Game against the Arizona-UCLA winner.
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