SB Nation has released their first 2011 NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch now that conference play is in full swing around the country. Their first edition of the bubble watch includes both the California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal in the area of work left to do. The two teams have different angles as they approach the rest of the conference season, but both will need to get some wins on the board if they want to have a chance to play in March.
Cal is in decent position thanks to a schedule rated fifth in the country at this point. The problem has been that they have not been able to get many wins and currently sit at 9-7. They've got a huge home game against the Washington Huskies this weekend and a win over Washington would be a big win for them.
On the other side you've got Stanford who is 10-5, but road a fairly weak non-conference schedule to this point. They'll need a strong showing in the Pac-10 if they want a chance at an at-large bid. This is all assuming they don't win the Pac-10 tournament (same with Cal). However, right now Washington and Arizona seem to be developing into the teams to beat at this point. Head after the jump to read more of what SB Nation had to say about Cal and Stanford.
California Golden Bears (9-7; 2-2 Pac-10; RPI: 49: SOS: 5)
The Golden Bears own great computer numbers because of the strength of their non-conference schedule (only five games outside of the top 100), but they need actual wins, like Thursday's upset victory over Washington State, to be a serious bracket contender. Sure, a win against Temple in Orlando will have some shelf life, but Cal needs some help from Iowa State (doubtful) and New Mexico (possible), their other two top 100 wins. The Golden Bears also lost a home game to Southern Miss, who's further down the bubble pecking order. Victories against the Washington and L.A. teams, a quartet of contenders, would also increase the Bears' chances. This week: Washington (Sun.), at UCLA (Thu.)
Stanford Cardinal (10-5; 3-1 Pac-10; RPI: 105: SOS: 136)
The Cardinal will have to make a run through the Pac-10 to have a legitimate shot at an at-large, thanks to an underwhelming non-conference resume. Stanford went 0-3 against the top 50 (winning their first game against California to open league play), dropping games against sub-100 Murray State and Tulsa in Anaheim before beating DePaul (RPI 244) to avoid an 0-3 trip. Much like Cal, home games against the Washington schools and the trip to L.A. provide opportunities for quality wins. The first hurdle was a success, as Stanford earned its first top 50 win on the road over the Huskies on Thursday. This week: Washington State (Sat.), at USC (Thu.)