Q&A With Jamal Murphy: Fansided’s Bracketologist


There are two games left for the Washington Huskies and both games would be considered crucial games for seeding and selection into the NCAA tournament. I decided to talk with Fansided’s Bracketologist from BustingBrackets.com about where UW sits now and other NCAA tournament questions. He is still unconvinced that UW has done enough to be in. He currently, doesn’t see UW as a tournament team. He thinks they need to find a few wins in the Pac-12 tournament to really feel safe. Read his answers below.

How many Pac 12 teams do you see making the NCAA tournament? And why?

Things are looking bleak for the Pac 12, in my opinion. Currently, I have one Pac-12 team in (Cal) as an at-large and they are hanging on by a thread. Come Selection Sunday, I can see the Pac 12 getting two, if a team other than Cal wins the conference tournament. I believe that will happen, so my guess is they will get two bids.
Obviously, the Pac 12 has been down this year. As a conference they had few, if any, good non conference wins and they have proceeded to beat each other up within the conference.

What seed do you see the Washington Huskies receiving right now?

Honestly, right now, I don’t have the Huskies in the NCAA Tournament. I have them in my first four out of the tournament. Of course, that means they’re still in the hunt and could sneak in as either an 11 or 12 seed. But, they’d be advised to win the Pac 12 tournament.

Why do you have Cal in over Washington when UW has a better shot at winning the Pac-12 regular season title and is currently in first over Cal? 

Good question. I go with Cal for a few reasons. One, Cal has had much better computer numbers all year (RPI, Sagarin, Pomeroy), by far the best in the conference. Two, Cal won at Washington in the two teams’ only meeting so far. Three, Cal performed better in their non conference schedule (not saying much), by beating Denver and Weber State and losing at San Diego State by one. Washington’s best non conference win was versus Cal Santa Barbara. Washington did play Marquette and Duke though at Madison Square Garden, but lost at Nevada and to South Dakota State.

However, I do think winning the Pac 12 regular season title could impress committee members and help Washington squeeze into the NCAA Tournament if they fail to win the conference tournament.

Would a loss to USC or UCLA hurt their chance to make the tournament?

A loss to USC or UCLA would certainly hurt the Huskies’ chances of getting a bid. Depending on what other bubble teams do, it could push them further down the big board, maybe even outside the last four in. Both USC and UCLA are 100+ RPI teams (USC is plus 200), so a loss to either is a very bad loss, even on the road. The Huskies likely can’t afford such a loss.

Even if the Huskies win their final two games, do you think they need to win a couple in the Pac 12 tournament?

The Huskies definitely need to perform well in the Pac 12 Tournament. I think they have to get at least to the championship game and even then, they won’t feel comfortable watching the selection show. The only way they should feel good is of course if they win the tournament.

Does Oregon still have a at large shot at the tournament?

You can never say never, but Oregon is definitely on the outside looking in. The Ducks need to keep winning, much like Washington, and hope that the bubble teams in front of them, like Washington, begin to slip up. They too need to get to the conference championship game to have any real shot.

What is hurting UW’s resume? What is helping?

A few things are hurting the Huskies’ NCAA Tournament resume. They have no good non conference wins, thus no consensus good wins at all. Their best win is likely a road win at Arizona, who at the moment isn’t an NCAA Tournament team. They also have bad losses at Nevada, at home to South Dakota State, and losing at Colorado and by 25 at Oregon doesn’t help their cause much either.

What might help the Huskies is their play down the stretch. They’ve won 15 of their last 18. Also, some may believe that Washington passes the vaunted “eye-test.” They are a very talented team that is fun to watch when they are playing well, which they have been doing lately.

If the Huskies make the tournament do you see them going far?

If the Huskies can manage to get themselves a bid, automatic or at-large, they would be a dangerous team, for sure. Washington has proven in the past that they are capable of making waves in the NCAA Tournament and this year’s team has plenty of talent. I would not be all that comfortable seeing my team matched up with the Huskies in the early rounds of the Big Dance. With the momentum they would have if they were to get into the tournament, I could easily see Washington being a Sweet 16 threat.

Finally, what is your final prediction for the seed/region/first matchup for Washington?

Though I don’t have them in right now, I just have a hunch that they will either win the Pac 12 Tournament or at least get to the championship game and steal a bid. If that happens, I see them as a 12 seed, likely in the West, facing a team the caliber of Florida or UNLV.

Thanks Jamal. Go check out Bustingbrackets.com for more from Jamal.