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Jeff Eisenberg

Bubble Breakdown: Two still alive in beleaguered Pac-10

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Selection Sunday is less than three weeks away, so we're taking a conference-by-conference look at the bubble picture this week. Up next is the Pac-10, which, dare I say it, may have a shot at an at-large bid now that Cal and Arizona State are finally achieving some separation.

Tourney-bound: Nobody yet

They've got work to do: Cal, Arizona State

Cal (19-9, 11-5 RPI: 24)

• Marquee wins: at Arizona State, Washington, Murray State

• Bad losses: at Oregon State, UCLA, at Arizona

• Remaining schedule: Arizona State, at Stanford

• Outlook: Everything about the Bears' profile screams at-large bid with the exception of one tiny problem: They haven't beaten anyone of consequence. They're best win is over a fringe bubble team and No. 2 and 3 are teams with no NCAA tourney hopes unless they win their conference tournaments. Cal will pose a difficult dilemma for the committee because its strength of schedule and computer numbers are so high, but if the Bears close with two wins to win the Pac-10 at 13-5, that might be enough to offset its lack of top 50 victories.

Arizona State (20-8, 10-5 RPI: 54)

• Marquee wins: San Diego State, Washington

• Bad losses: at UCLA, Arizona, at USC

• Remaining schedule: at Cal, USC, UCLA

• Outlook: Eleven or 12 Pac-10 wins would make you a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament most years, but this season Arizona State could easily win two out of its next three and get left out of the at-large picture. For the Sun Devils to have any realistic hope, they must win out, take the league crown outright at 13-5 and hope that a strong finish and plenty of separation from the middle of the Pac-10 outweighs an unispiring list of victories currently headlined by San Diego State.

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