ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has updated his projected field for the 2021-2022 season and four teams from the Pac-12 teams have been selected to the group of 68, with recent Elite Eight members Oregon State not making the cut.
According to Lunardi’s bracket (which includes teams that will be the “First Four Out” and “Next Four Out”), the Beavers would project as a bottom-six program in the league next year.
The UCLA Bruins were the top-ranked squad in the East Region and are considered among one of the favorites with Gonzaga, Michigan and Kansas to claim a National Championship next season. Head coach Mick Cronin’s team will return a wealth of talent from last year’s line-up that lost to Gonzaga in the Final Four, including NBA prospect Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell.
The second-highest rated team from the Conference of Champions to make the field was Oregon, who earned a #5 seed in the West Region, and then USC, who is projected to be a #7 seed in the same region.
Colorado was the lowest ranked Pac-12 program to make the field, garnering an #11 seed in the Midwest Region.
Two other Pac-12 squads were mentioned in Lunardi’s article, as Arizona was among the “First Four Out” group, and a trendy Washington State squad was in the “Next Four Out”. The Wildcats are entering the first year of the post-Sean Miller era under former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, while the Cougars will be a unique team to keep an eye-on as they continue to develop under head coach Kyle Smith’s culture.
As for Oregon State, the team will need to fill the void left by leading scorer Ethan Thompson and fellow senior Zach Reichle, but they were recently aided by the return of Warith Alatishe, Maurice Calloo and Roman Silva for another go-round, joining stalwarts Jarod Lucas, Gianni Hunt and a quintet of excitable transfers.