Unless it wins the Pac-12 tournament, Washington State (12-16, 6-10 Pac-12) isn't making the NCAA tournament.
The National Invitation Tournament (NIT) is off the table, as well. But there is a third postseason event, the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), and the Cougars could be right on the edge of having their own bit of March Madness. WSU played in the CBI in 2012, making it to the championship round before falling to Pittsburgh.
Teams don't always accept CBI invites – the schools have to pay to enter, pay even more to host, and it is firmly the least prestigious postseason event in the American sports canon – but I'm confident that WSU coach Ernie Kent would accept a bid in order to give his improving team more chances to play.
It's no guarantee that the Cougars get an invite of course, and looking back at the last few CBI brackets it seems unlikely but not impossible for WSU to receive a bid. The other "Power Conference" teams to participate in recent years are typically right around .500 overall and a game or two below that in conference play. If the Cougars were to split their remaining two games, their resume would be on the low end of what's typical but not markedly so.
Penn State made it last year while going 16-18 and 6-12 in the Big Ten, but the Nittany Lions had an RPI ranking of 115. Currently WSU ranks No. 145 in the RPI rankings and while a win over Colorado would help, the Cougars would likely need to upset No. 13 Utah on Thursday to really impact their RPI.
In 2013 Texas received a CBI invite with a 16-17 record while going 7-11 in the Big 12.
The Cougars were swept in their first crack at the mountain schools and if that happens again it's hard to see them getting a shot at the postseason. But if WSU can win one or both games then they might have a shot.
Here are some links:
-- Kevin Gemmel of the Pac-12 Blog says WSU's Destiny Vaeao has a lot to prove this spring.
-- You won't see Rick Neuheisel on the Pac-12 Network after games this fall.
-- WSU signed another football recruit this week.
-- Bud Withers asks if Washington should stand by coach Lorenzo Romar.
-- A No. 1 seed is on the table but Arizona is just focused on getting through this week.
-- A peak behind Arizona State's Curtain of Distraction.
-- Cal's Tyrone Wallace addresses NBA speculation.
-- Colorado's new defensive coordinator expects more from the Buffaloes.
-- Another year, another group of Oregon freshmen ready to shine on the gridiron.
-- There are plenty of candidates to replace Sean Mannion at Oregon State.
-- Stanford has concerns on the right side of the offensive line.
-- Spring practice is in the air at USC.