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December 23, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Latest Bracketology — UW among first four out

With the college basketball season now about seven weeks old, ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has published his first Bracketology since early November.
And it doesn’t include the Huskies, instead listing UW as one of “the first four out.”
And since Lunardi lists five Pac-10 teams in the tournament, that projects to a sixth-place finish for the Huskies.
The five Pac-10 teams he has in the tournament are:
— UCLA as a No. 4 seed;
— Arizona State as a No. 6 seed;
— Arizona as a No. 9 seed;
— Washington State as a No. 10 seed;
— and Cal as a No. 11 seed.
That also means Lunardi is leaving out USC and apparently projecting the Trojans for a No. 7 finish, at best, in the conference right now, putting the Trojans as the fourth team on his “first four out” list. USC hasn’t looked great so far but appeared a lot better than that in its rout of Georgia Tech last night.
Lunardi also has Eastern Washington winning the Big Sky, which after what we saw Saturday (even if only on TV for some of us) doesn’t seem real likely. (Lunardi also includes this handy Q-and-A that answers a lot of basic questions about the bracket this year).
The most encouraging news may be that he gives the Pac-10 five bids despite what has been a less-than-stellar beginning for the conference. The Pac-10 tied a record with six last year, had five in 2007, but no more than four in the three years from 2004-2006.
I asked UW coach Lorenzo Romar yesterday how he thought the Pac-10’s play to date would impact the chances of conference teams getting in the tournament and he playfully chided me for not being able to wait a few more weeks before getting into that.
But then he gave an answer.
“There are games (the Pac-10) played I thought we would have won,” he said. “But I still think we have a very, very solid conference. … There are years past where we had the fourth-ranked RPI as a conference and were able to get 4-5 teams in. I think we will be worthy of at least that when it’s all said and done.”
According to RealtimeRPI.com, the Pac-10 is currently ranked fifth, where it has been for a while now. You can also see that UW has jumped up to 54 in the RPI as high as the Huskies have been in a while, with a strength of schedule rating of 41.
Ken Pomery has UW rated even better right now, at No. 27, and going 11-7 in Pac-10 play. If the Huskies do that, they won’t have to sweat it come Selection Sunday.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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