Dayton Daily News

Pac-12 has lot of work to do to earn NCAA tournament bids

- By Aaron Beard

It’s already RALEIGH, N.C. — been a rough season for the Pac-12. It won’t get any easier as many league teams try to find their way into the NCAA Tournament.

The Pac-12 hasn’t had a team ranked in the AP Top 25 in more than a month, while 10 of its schools have at least eight losses. That leaves Washington as the only team on solid footing with roughly five weeks left until Selection Sunday, while the Pac12 is flirting with a fate inconsiste­nt with its power-conference status: being a onebid league.

“We know it’s a great product and it’s good basketball,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowia­k said recently, “and we’re all fighting for some limited spots.”

The numbers just don’t back Krystkowia­k on the former — and that makes him right about the latter.

After managing just three bids last year, the Pac-12 started with three teams in the preseason AP Top 25 poll. But by Dec. 31, the league had no ranked teams for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

As of Friday afternoon, the Pac-12 ranks seventh in KenPom’s conference rankings. Mike Hopkins’ league-leading Huskies (19-4, 10-0) stand at only No. 25 in the NCAA’s new NET rankings, a more analytical formula replacing the RPI this year. So that leaves few league wins ahead capable of punching up a shaky postseason resume.

Arizona State (15-7, 6-4) is in the running thanks to a neutral-court win against thenranked Mississipp­i State and a home win against then-No. 1 Kansas. Yet Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils, who spent four weeks in the AP poll in December, haven’t done much in league play and lost big at home Thursday to eight-win Washington State to check in at No. 78 in the NET.

Washington and Arizona State are the only league teams included in BracketMat­’s average results of more than 100 tournament projection­s. The Huskies and Sun Devils are a combined 5-4 against Quadrant 1 opponents, while the rest of the league is a combined 5-42 against Quadrant 1 opponents through Thursday’s games.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States