Bracketology: NCAA Bid Case for Louisville vs. Washington

Doug Upstone

Friday, March 2, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

The regular season wraps up this weekend for the power leagues (except for Big Ten) as they look ahead to conference tournaments next week. Louisville and Washington go into the weekend with a lot on their minds.

Louisville is in the NCAA Tournament according to Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm, both of whom are paid to study basketball brackets among their varied jobs. Each has the Cardinals in a First Four game, but this far from a lock. Louisville interim coach David Padgett said this about Thursday's incredibly unlikely loss to No.1 Virginia: "That's about the toughest loss I've ever had." Now the Cardinals have to shake that off, travel to Raleigh and face N.C. State on Senior Night.

Both bracket guys have Washington among First 4 Out, and the Huskies' two-point win over Oregon State on Thursday did not win them any points. Nor did the fact their next opponent, Oregon, just lost to Washington State, which sits next to last in the Pac-12.

Here is the case we as see it for NCAA basketball picks.

Louisville Cardinals

Conference: ACC (3rd according to Sagarin Ratings)

Record: 19-11 SU (15-12-1 ATS)

Current RPI: 42

Best Wins: Virginia Tech twice

Worst Losses: Nothing Stands Out

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: +11000

NCAA Tournament History: 76-43 (two-time champion)

Key Games Remaining: @N.C. State and ACC Tournament

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As painful as that loss was for Louisville, having the No. 1 team beaten for all but 40 minutes is not going to hurt the Cardinals' chances of making the Big Dance. Where Padgett will earn his interim paycheck is not allowing one heartbreaker to turn into three straight setbacks. Winning at N.C. State will be difficult, but add that to a quick first-game exit in the ACC tournament and that would leave the door open for others to come in.

KenPom.com definitely prefers the 'Ville's chances of making the tourney, having them ranked 34th compared to Washington way down at 94th. A win over Virginia would have placed the Cardinals in the tourney, but that 0-8 record against the Top 25 really stands out -- at least the Cards are 6-3 against spots 26-100 in these rankings.

Washington Huskies

Conference: Pac-12 (6th)

Record: 20-10 SU (14-12-2 ATS)

Current RPI: 45

Best Wins: Kansas, Arizona and @USC

Worst Losses: @Oregon State and Stanford (2)

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: +50,000

NCAA Tournament History: 18-17

Key Games Remaining: Oregon and Pac-12 Tournament

While Washington has a few impressive victories, they have not come charging down the stretch. The Huskies are 3-4 SU recently, and those wins have come against Colorado and Oregon State at home and at a brutal Cal club. Not exactly a head-turner.

The best way for Washington to make a late impression is by beating Oregon and winning the Pac-12 tourney. The latter assures a bid. Otherwise, playing for the championship would leave a more favorable impression, especially if their closest competitors were to falter. The Huskies are 2-0 versus the RPI Top 25 and merely 7-9 against those in slots 26 to 100.

Who Has Stronger Case and Gets In?

Louisville is most likely in but needs at least one win before Selection Sunday to improve their NCAA basketball odds of making the field.

Washington has to make its own way and depend on others to secure a bid. With how they are playing, the Huskies are not a dependable option to go on a winning streak and earn their way into March Madness.

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