With all the joy of the weekend sweep dissipating, a cruel reality slapped us in the face on Monday.
It was a bad day to be a bubble team.
Things started off well enough. The new projections came out--and they are very favorable for the Ducks. In the latest Bracketology, Lunardi had the Ducks as a 12 seed, one of the last four in, and playing Drake in Denver. Yahoo Sports put the Ducks as the last team in, a 13 seed. This morning, there wasn't much room for error, but the consensus was that the Ducks were in.
My, how a day can change things.
You see, the at large field has shrunk by at least one, and, maybe two with upsets in conference tournaments today. One bid is gone as San Diego shocked Gonzaga in the WCC finals. With 22nd ranked Gonzaga virtually assured an at-large bid, one spot just blew up in smoke. And, remember, Yahoo had us as the last team in. Another concerning result was South Alabama losing to Middle Tennessee State in the Sun Belt semis. Normally, you may not think of South Alabama as much of a threat, but with a 26-5 record, low 20s RPI, and three wins over RPI top 50, they are a major at large threat. You just have to hope that the committee rules against them for not making the conference tournament finals. But, in all likelihood, they're in.
You don't do enough to lock yourself in, and you're always at the mercy of others. You have to root for no more upsets in conference tournaments. And for all the other bubble teams to lose early. UA and ASU included, as they are some of the most prime competition for those last few spots.
Oh, and this makes WSU a must win to have any chance. Lose to WSU, and we're NIT bound. And, now, we've gotta win two to feel good about our chances. Should we beat WSU, we get the Stanford/UA winner next. Stanford's not a great matchup, but they never seem to get up for the conference tourney, either. Another Arizona game would be a matchup of two wounded animals. But we've got to beat WSU first.
This isn't a great situation, but such is the life of a bubble team.
Lets make it happen.