Despite a home split this past weekend, Coach Lorenzo Romar’s team is on the cusp of what could be a breakthrough season which may lead them to the NCAA Tournament.
With a win against Colorado (RPI 23) and a narrow loss in OT to Utah (RPI 24), the Huskies’ RPI (per ESPN) is up to 52. In actuality, the whole Pac 12 Conference (with the exception of Washington State) sports RPIs under 60, with Oregon leading the way with an RPI of 7 and USC (whom the Dawgs beat) at an RPI of 17.
At 5-2 in conference and 13-5 overall, the Huskies will look to remain near the top of the Pac-12 when they visit the LA schools this week. At this point, the Huskies have a strength of schedule of 71, which will only go up as they face UCLA and USC this weekend.
As for the projections, the Huskies are a "bubble" team as you might guess.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Huskies as one of the last teams in the tournament and actually has them as a 12 seed in "The First Four" against Clemson in the Midwest region. Lunardi left off the Huskies last week, but inserted the Dawgs despite going 1-1 this week.
The USA Today also has the Huskies in as a first-round game against Syracuse. The team is slated in the East region as a 12 seed.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has the Huskies as one of the first four out this week. Palm actually has the Colorado Buffaloes moving up one in his bracket despite the loss to Washington. Palm also has UCLA as one of the first four out of the tournament.
SB Nation has yet to update its brackets from last week as the Huskies were one of the teams on the outside looking in last week. SB Nation predicts 7 Pac-12 teams in the tournament. It had Washington as one of the first four out.
At this point, the Pac-12 is wide open in terms of who will win the conference and who will make the NCAA Tournament. Projections of teams from the Pac-12 that could make the tournament range from 6-10 teams, which means that this is an ultra-competitive year for the conference. But it also means with so many quality teams vying for spots, the Huskies have a tough road to make it into the tournament.
Although not scientific, it would appear that 10 wins in conference should put a Pac-12 team in prime position for the tournament. Of course, this is dependent on what other teams in other conferences do and inevitable surprises in conference tournaments. It’s not a guarantee, but almost every team has a high RPI which means winning 10 games in this conference should boost your RPI and strength of schedule from here on out.
The Huskies are halfway to 10. Are there 5 more wins out there for the Dawgs?