What a difference a few days make. On Thursday it looked as if Washington would make a third straight trip to the National Invitation Tournament. Today, it appears as if the Huskies’ season is over.
The Bracket Matrix is the NIT’s version of ESPN bracket guru Joe Lunardi. It’s pretty much the best source of information when it comes to projections for the NIT and the latest bracket on the website does not include Washington (17-15).
According to the Bracket Matrix, the Huskies are one of 10 teams standing on the outside of the 32-team tournament.
Regular-season conference winners who do not make the NCAA tourney are awarded an automatic berth in the NIT. There are now 13 automatic NIT bids (Southern, Georgia State, Davidson, Boston University, Belmont, Robert Morris, Iona, Wisconsin-Green Bay, High Point, Vermont, Florida Gulf Coast, Utah Valley and UC Irvine) in the NIT.
The Huskies will track the following conference tournaments and the progress of its regular-season champion:
Southland – Stephen F. Austin
Mid-American – Western Michigan
Conference USA – Louisiana Tech
Big Sky – Weber State
Washington needs the teams (above) to win their conference tournaments to improve its chances of making the NIT.
UW would decline an invite to the 16-team College Basketball Invitational.
SATURDAY MORNING LINKS:
— No. 1 seed Arizona delivered another defensive gem, turning a close game into a second straight rout, 63-43 over No. 5 seed Colorado Friday night in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. Once the Wildcats (30-3) got rolling, Colorado had no answer for Arizona’s defensive pressure and string of highlight-reel plays that had MGM Grand Garden Arena feeling like McKale Center. Arizona shot 60 percent in the second half and held Colorado to 5-of-22 shooting in the final 20 minutes. Nick Johnson scored 16 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 12 and eight rebounds and T.J. McConnell chipped in 12 points, five assists and four rebounds.
— Arizona Republic columnist Paola Boivin writes Aaron Gordon gives Arizona a good chance to win a NCAA tournament title.
— Colorado was able to hang with Arizona behind its defense in the first half. But playing their third game in as many days took its toll on the Buffaloes (23-11) in the second half and they had no pushback when the Wildcats started to race away. Askia Booker had 20 points to lead Colorado, which shot 29 percent overall and was outrebounded 41-25.
— Norman Powell scored 22 points and Travis Wear added 16 for No. 2 seed UCLA, which started its rout of No. 6 seed Stanford early, rolling over the Cardinal 84-59 in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. Coming off a blowout in the quarterfinals, the Bruins (25-8) started another one by building a 12-point lead in the opening four minutes. They kept making shots and converted 65 percent from the field. Kyle Anderson added 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for UCLA.
— UCLA coach Steve Alford told Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke: “UCLA is all about March.”
— Playing its third game in three days, Stanford was listless early and unable to match UCLA’s intensity or athleticism. The Cardinal fell behind 14-2 and trailed 44-29 at halftime. Things didn’t get any better after the break when Stanford was outscored 40-30. Dwight Powell scored 16 points and Chasson Randle added 11 for the Cardinal (21-12).
— Oregon is awaiting a NCAA tournament berth.
— Utah is awaiting a NIT berth.
— Oregonian columnist John Canzano writes Oregon State can’t do any better than coach Craig Robinson right now.
TODAY’S PAC-12 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
No. 1 Arizona (30-3) vs. No. 2 UCLA (25-8), 3 p.m. ………….. Fox Sports 1