Like we've been saying here on Building the Dam all week, Oregon State felt at the onset of this four game week that winning two of four games would be enough for a postseason berth. Once the Beavers got by Oregon on Wednesday at PGE Park, the overwhelming feeling was that winning two games against Arizona would secure a spot in the postseason for Oregon State.
The Beavers clinched the series win with victories on Friday and Saturday night, but couldn't sweep the series with a win on Sunday in the season finale. Today's loss again has cast a fair amount of doubt on the situation for Beaver fans, but it still seems to me that the Beaver Nation can be fairly confident heading into tomorrow.
It seems most likely that the Pac-10 will get seven teams into the tournament. Eight is a possibility, but seven seems most accurate.
Here's the way I see it...
Today's results: Arizona over Oregon State, Oregon over Cal, UCLA over Washington State, and USC over Washington. Arizona State and Stanford idle after finishing their series on Saturday.
Some random thoughts, stream-of-consciousness style:
- If seven teams get in, like most people are thinking, one of the yellow "bubble" teams would be out. To me, it seems like Oregon and Oregon State have the best shot out of those four, but you may have a different gut feeling.
- Washington losing to USC helps the Beavers because a UW win would have gotten the Huskies twelve wins and into a tie with the Beavers and Wildcats for sixth place. Their RPI is too low to justify their resume over one of the bubble teams.
- Had Oregon lost to Cal and got swept, that would have put them in a three-game tie with the Beavers and Wildcats. You could justify the Beavers over the Ducks in that scenario (OSU won the season series, is playing much better right now), but I think the Ducks solidified their place in the tournament with a win today.
- Arizona has been in a downward spiral these last few weeks, but their win today over the Beavers may have been all that they needed. Their RPI remains high, and it may even be higher than Oregon State's in the final RPI release.
- If it comes down to Arizona and California as the final two teams left on the board, it seems like Arizona would win out. Their RPI is stronger despite winning one less game in conference, and Cal didn't get to 30 wins. If this is what it actually comes down to though, I think the NCAA committee has a tough decision to make.
- Then again, they could just decide to take eight teams from the Pac-10, and it would make this whole thing a lot easier.
I'll update this post as the night goes in if my feelings change, but these are my gut instincts at the conclusion of today's games.
Is my analysis fair? Or am I off base somewhere? It seems like everyone has a different opinion on this, so I'm very interested in hearing yours.
ALSO: Make sure you join myself and other BtD regulars tomorrow morning around 9:00 a.m. for the Selection Show, which will air at 9:30 on ESPN.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)