Even before Dominic Green's last-second three against Arizona tickled the twine in Seattle, Washington's Bracketology stock was surging. In the buzzer-beater's wake, the Huskies should have done enough to earn an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.
Not once BUT TWICE TONIGHT!
This man is pic.twitter.com/x148hQUHgD
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 4, 2018
For the majority of the year, most analysts have panned the Pac-12 for its lack of talent. Despite road victories against Kansas by both Arizona State and Washington, the conference has been projected to have two to four schools in the tournament. Washington has never been a team even considered until its recent four-game winning streak. Before last week, the Huskies had only one top tier win on its resume–aforementioned Kansas–and another road win against top-50 USC.
Washington started the season with a 190 RPI. After its Arizona sweep, UW is 35th.
Thanks to the Pac-12's conference schedule, Washington drew the lucky straw and played the Los Angeles and Arizona schools just once, going 3-1. The Huskies will be favored in every game from here on out. The hardest games during Washington's final eight contests will be Utah at home and Stanford on the road. Both of those schools are not even close to being on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
What could even be more beneficial for Washington is their continued improvement throughout the season. The Huskies have picked up their defensive effort. Before Pac-12 conference season started, the Huskies were ranked in the bottom half in defensive efficiency. Since conference play began, outside of its win against USC, Washington has held every Pac-12 opponent under its points per game average.
Should the Huskies continue their ascent, beating teams ranked lower than them, they'll end the regular season on a 12-game winning streak. UW will have a final record of 25-6 and will own wins against USC, Kansas, Arizona and Arizona State on its bracketology credentials. Even if the Huskies were to lose at Oregon, at Stanford and home to Utah, that's still a respectable 22-9 record. They will still have no "bad losses."
The only number that matters in the end, however is 68. Right now, Washington is one of them.