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Will Cal Women Get a Berth in NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Women’s Selection Show is Sunday. Golden Bears likely to be invited to some postseason event
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Cal’s women’s basketball team will be interested parties when the women’s NCAA tournament field is announced Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific time on ESPN. But the Bears are likely to come away disappointed.

Cal is likely to play in some other postseason tournament, but the NCAA tournament is where the Bears want to be.

Cal finished with an 18-14 overall record, including 7-11 in the Pac-12, and after the Bears lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament, Bears head coach Charmin Smith claimed that Cal deserved to be in the women’s 68-team NCAA tournament field.

But the most reliable projection of the women’s NCAA tournament field, provided by Charlie Creme of, has Cal just missing inclusion in March Madness. He places Cal among the “Next Four Out,” which does not put Cal on the cusp of making the field, but puts the Bears on the cusp of the cusp.

Here is’s assessment of the bubble teams posted late Thursday night.


Cal’s argument is that it played in the best conference in the country and played 10 games against teams that are among the top 17 in the NET rankings as of Friday morning. However, Cal went 0-10 in those games. The Bears’ best win was an early-season road victory against Auburn, which is expected to get a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Cal’s No. 59 spot in the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) puts the Bears on the outer edge of consideration. And Cal will merit consideration, but that may be it.

Here’s how’s Wednesday report assessed the Pac-12 teams chances of landing an NCAA berth



Stanford Cardinal, UCLA Bruins, USC Trojans, Oregon State Beavers, Colorado Buffaloes, Utah Utes

Projected in

Arizona Wildcats

Projected out

Washington State Cougars, California Golden Bears, Washington Huskies

Case to get in: After Arizona and Cal won their first-round matchups in the Pac-12 tournament, neither was able to knock off their quarterfinal opponents. Arizona lost a one-possession game to USC for the second time in as many weeks. All four of these teams have had brutal schedules, each in the top 20 of SOS. WSU, Cal and Arizona are each top 50 in BPI, and WSU, Arizona and Washington all boast a SOR in the 60s.

Arizona has a win over Stanford and two close games to USC on the résumé. WSU beat UCLA and has the highest SOR and BPI of this group, but suffered three losses to Cal. Washington has arguably the two most impressive wins in the country -- over UCLA and Stanford -- by a bubble team and is the only team in this group that managed to beat Oregon State. Whichever of these teams miss out on a tournament bid will land at the top of the snubs list.

The Golden Bears will be outraged if Washington State gets in and Cal doesn’t, because Cal beat the Cougars three times this season.

If Cal fails to get a bid to the NCAA tournament, the Bears are likely to get invited to one of the two other women’s postseason tournaments – the 32-team Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WNIT), which is in its inaugural season, or the 48-team Women’s NIT (WNIT). Cal might even host a postseason game.

But Cal would still be disappointed it did not get into the NCAA tournament.

Cover photo of Charmin Smith by Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

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