Bracketology: How high could the Cougs' seed go?

Let's dream.

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Moving on up!

Ever since I started this series, the focus has been on what Washington State needs to do the rest of the way to get into the NCAA Tournament — which, of course, was a completely natural posture to take, given that (A) we’ve really only sniffed the bubble a couple of times since we last made the tournament in 2008, and (B) the odds were only about 1-in-5 when we began.

But now we’re in the midst of a five-game win streak, and on our way to that 7-2 finish I said we’d need to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday. This includes three straight wins on the road — two of which qualify as Quad 1 (for the moment) — and it now occurs to me that I might need to ask a different question. Rather than asking, “What do they need to do to get in?”, I guess we now should be asking:

How high of a seed can they actually get?

It feels weird to even consider that, as we are sort of predisposed to assume the worst and anticipate disaster. We wait for the other shoe to drop. We expect everything to be hard.

And it might yet still be.

But damn if this team isn’t surging at the absolute best time.

In the latest iteration of the Bracket Matrix — a “wisdom of crowds” compilation of all the regularly updated bracket predictions those folks can find1 — the Cougs have moved all the way up to a 10 seed, well outside the First Four:

The numbers on the right: Average seed and number of brackets in which the team appears.

That was as of yesterday’s updates, which didn’t yet include the most recent ESPN Bracketology, which posted this morning. Try not to let your jaw hit the floor on this one2:

It’s not just Lunardi who likes the Cougs at this point; at Bracket Matrix, the Cougs are as high as a seven seed.

Bracket Matrix is not predictive — it’s just how resumes stack up right now — but is, and we’ve used extensively in this series examining the Cougs’ chances of making the field. Here’s how Bart’s site projects us the rest of the way, with us favored in six of the final seven games:

That 81.6% chance of earning an at-large bid is the 37th-highest probability in Division I and, again, well outside bubble status. Unlike bracketologists, this does factor in WSU’s schedule the rest of the way (as well as literally everyone else’s schedules), and their likely performance in those games (as well as everyone else’s likely performances).3 

If the Cougs just keep doing what they’re doing, they’re in with what they’ve already done.


OK, OK — let’s get back to the original question. Here’s where Bart thinks we land if we win out over these final seven regular season games. That would include winning six games in which WSU would be the decided favorite, and winning one game — on the road at equally hot Arizona — in which they would be a decided underdog:

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