The Beavers basketball team has announced their goal for the year is to make the NCAA tournament. This is a laudable goal, but it has been made more difficult by the overall poor performance of Pac-12 teams during the non-conference schedule. This poor performance means the Pac-12 will probably get only two or three bids to the dance. The outside stretch would be to get four bids.
The Beavers have done well in the out of conference season, but their strength of schedule is rated amongst the lowest in the country. While we expect that the Beavers will beat Chicago State tomorrow, a loss to Chicago State would probably end the hope for a bid to the tournament. The selection committee would view that as a very ugly loss. For argument's sake, let's assume that the Beavers win by 20 points in Chicago. This will give them a 10-2 non-conference record.
What conference record will be needed to make the tournament? Last year, third place Washington had a 11-7 conference record to go with a 20-10 overall record and made the tournament. Given the weakness of the non-conference schedule and the weakness of the conference, 11-7 is likely to be the minimum record to have a chance. Definitely bubble team at that level. My guess is that 12-6 or 13-5 will be required for the Beavers to make the tournament given that they have not been to the tournament in 20 years.
The Beavers first five conference games are against Washington, Washington State, Cal, Stanford and Arizona. These are a good part of the tough section of the schedule. The Beavers need to come out of these games at least 2-3, but preferably 3-2 to make the tournament. You have to be good to make the tournament and this section of the schedule will tell the tale. By the middle of January, we will have a good sense of this team.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)