Bitten by the Beavers
UCLA's Tournament hopes suffered a bit of a setback yesterday, as they were stunned in a 79-72 loss to Oregon State. The loss suddenly has Bruins fans freaked out that they won't be dancing when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committe draws up its brackets on Sunday.
But fear not, Bruins fans. LAist thinks you're in anyways. Somehow the Pac-10 managed to produce the 2nd-best RPI of any conference in the country this year, so the committee seems somewhat obliged to take at least 4 Pac-10 teams. Arizona, Washington, and Stanford are in for sure. Oregon State's 8-10 record in conference is hardly impressive, and only an upset win tonight over Arizona could even merit the Beavers serious consideration.
UCLA can also be thankful that Arizona State collapsed late in the season as well. Had the Sun Devils not lost to USC twice, then maybe we'd be doubting the Bruins' chance just a bit. But UCLA still went a more-than-respectable 11-7 in the Pac-10, beat Notre Dame (which doesn't look quite as impressive after the Irish lost to Rutgers the other day, but they'll take it), beat Washington, and their only nonconference losses were to solid Michigan State and Boston College teams.
That resume seems just good enough to us. Congratulations, Ben Howland. You've brought UCLA basketball back to faux respectability. Now we'll see if Howland can replicate Steve Lavin's magic and inexplicably lead his team to the Sweet 16.