Nice to see some encouraging words.
Perhaps even better: Andy Katz put SCU in his NCAA Tournament field (play-in game against Oregon).
The next two games are really important for different reasons. Cal would be the last remaining “bad” loss for the OOC. Losing to Cal would be a big bucket of cold water on the hot Broncos. New Mexico, for its part, is the best remaining opponent until Zags/SMC. That would be a Quad 1 victory.
For reference, in their 2022 NCAA appearance, USF had 4 Quad 1 wins total (using Torvik as a proxy for the NET which I can’t seem to find for previous years). None of those were over SMC or Gonzaga who both swept USF that season.
SCU already has 2 and would have three with a win over New Mexico. Stanford will have to help out by staying in the top-75 to remain a Quad-1 win.
So SCU remains in the hunt and gaining recognition, but it’s a tightrope walk for any mid-major. If SCU goes 5-2 the rest of the OOC without losses to Cal or SJSU, then I think they stay in the hunt. Better yet if Santa Clara beats UNM. A 4-3 record between now and WCC play puts a lot more pressure on an upset win over the Zags to really feel like there’s a strong chance.
I was never as impressed with our non-con schedule as others on this board. IMO, many of the teams on our schedule were over ranked in preseason rankings (incl Stanford, Cal, SJSU, WSU and others). And most of those have already trended downward.
Stanford will struggle to stay in the Top 75. I suspect they’ll be sub-100 maybe much worse. They are 3-4, with no quality wins and just got beat by 22pts by a mediocre (2-5) Northern Iowa squad. I know we’re all happy with that Stanford win, but I’m not convinced it was all that meaningful.
I suspect SJSU will end up being their usual sub-200 squad, last year was their once every 10years blip on the screen. And WSU is mediocre and lost a lot of their talent from recent seasons. Utah St. is solid but not as good as last season.
UNM and Duquesne are the best remaining teams on our scheduled IMO. We need at least 1 if not 2 wins vs. Utah St. / UNM / Duquesne.
Yale is a solid team but can’t match our size or overall athleticism and we play them at home. That needs to be a win.
We need to finish at least 5-2, if not 6-1, in the remaining non-con games and then at least 12-4 in league play plus a min 1 win in the WCC tourney if we want legit consideration for an NCAA at-large bid. 23 or 24 wins may not be enough…probably need 25 wins to have a chance and 26 wins to more assuredly land a bid.
You deserve a more thoughtful response than this, but with respect to Cal, Stanford and SJSU, I would play them every year regardless of their outlook. We could well have the best college basketball team in the Bay (or NorCal) this year, and it’s great to have a chance to demonstrate conclusively.
UNM and USU are respected mid-majors. Duquesne and Yale are good fliers on a winnable “good win” if their seasons pan out (or at least decent if they do fine).
A tourney with Oregon, Ohio State and Alabama was a coup, IMO.
I am more impressed with the willingness to play the above Tourney, three neutral site games and a number of “buy” home games in terms of the program’s ability/commitment to spend than the actual names.
More succinctly, I don’t recall us scheduling more obviously toward a legit attempt to get an at-large since probably before Keating. I am with you that it is very difficult to actually achieve.
A play-in game against a team we already beat? I’m skeptical that the committee would do that…
I mostly agree and also have felt that the Stanford win was going to curdle. I don’t think Stanford will drop quite as far as you, but they’re going to have to really fight to stay in the top 75.
Utah State is actually trending up to be better than projected. Yale, Utah State, and the Dukes will form a very solid mid-major slate, I think. The killer is having those three at home or neutral, so none is really likely to find its way to Quad-1.
But having basically, 5 buy games and 10 games that are likely top-125ish matchups (okay, 9 plus the annual SJSU match) is a pretty stellar overall schedule given recent history. Being able to take 2-3 losses in OOC and still having a shot at an at-large is not the sort of schedule that SCU has had in 20 years.