Joe Lunardi has his newest bracket out, and it contains some intriguing developments for the Pac-10. With Baylor and Nebraska seemingly out of contention for an at-large bid, the USC Trojans have moved up to the awful status of "first team out", and the Washington St. Cougars have taken a step up into that first group. Joining them? Mike Montgomery's California Golden Bears, who are now the last team in the next four out (placing them in the 76th spot).
Of course, that doesn't suddenly mean five Pac-10 teams now will make the tournament; Cal and USC will play each other in a few hours, and one of them will immediately drop off the bubble. But it's safe to say if at least one of these teams wins multiple games in the Pac-10 tournament, then they'll have a shot at the Dance, even if it means playing an extra play-in game.
USC: Beat Cal, Beat Arizona--IN!
Washington State: Beat Washington, Beat UCLA--IN!
Cal: Beat USC, Beat Arizona--Maybe??? 19-13 is a pretty impressive record given our difficult strength of schedule, but nothing is certain unless a few more teams ahead of the Bears drop off as well (USC would drop by default if Cal beats them, but they'd probably need a few more wins than that). Also, it'd be hard to see four Pac-10 teams getting bids, so the Washington Huskies would have to completely fall out of the picture for someone like Cal to get in.
It's a fun game we'll be playing these next few days with regards to the Pac-10 tournament.