College Hoops

USC WBB rose several spots this week on NCAA Tournament seed list

ESPN puts USC as one of its first four teams out of NCAA Tournament

Bracketology is a big deal at USC right now. The men and women are both near the cut line for the NCAA Tournament. The difference is that the women are moving away from the cut line on the good side. The men were on the bad side of the cut line and have moved to the middle of the bubble, right on the cut line. They’re both going in the right direction, but the women are notably safer (though not a lock) and have more of a margin for error than the men.

In Charlie Creme’s latest ESPN’s women’s bracketology forecast, USC has risen above the “last four in” position it occupied one week ago. The road sweep of the Washington schools has moved USC to the second of the “last four byes” in the field. “Byes” refer to the First Four. USC would skip that preliminary round and be locked into the Round of 64. USC therefore is seven slots inside the cut line. Six teams below USC are still in the NCAA Tournament field.

The Trojans are building a small but real cushion. They can lose a few games against high-end teams and not pay a price. Only if they lose to a lower-tier opponent will they suffer. As long as they win the games they are supposed to win, their odds will remain better than 50-50 to make the NCAA Tournament.

Some other notes from this installment of bracketology: The Pac-12 joins the ACC and SEC with eight teams in the field. Washington State, whom USC defeated on Friday, is still in the field of 68.

Other bubble teams near the cut line: Nebraska, Columbia, Missouri, and St. John’s are the last four teams in. Marquette, Purdue, Oregon State, and Seton Hall are the first four teams out. West Virginia, Georgia, Virginia, and Drake are the next four teams out.

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