Basketball randoms and rooting guide

Stanford basketball needs six more wins in six regular season games plus the Pac-12 Tournament, starting with UCLA today. The Cardinal also are going to need some help along the way, and we lay it all out in this weekend's televised rooting guide. Go USF! Go Northwestern! And, umm, go Duke?


Where would Stanford be with their current roster plus one Gio Fontan?

Want a scary thought? Where would Stanford be with the one-time commits lost in the Trent Johnson-to-Johnny Dawkins transition? (For newer Stanford fans, that lost trio includes Duke's Miles Plumlee, a Player of the Year candidate.)

On the bright side, USC is no longer a "bad" (sub-100 RPI) loss. And imagine if we played them every game. They'd be a Final Four contender!

Now, Stanford's worst loss is Washington, who started 4-0 in conference and is 1-7 since. On the bright side, see, it could be worse.

The odds we could have gotten five years ago that Stanford football would have beaten USC four straight, while the Trojans are kryptonite for the Stanford basketball team. Go figure.

Tournament Odds: Get to 21!

A plug to, run by Stanford grads and Booties, no less. They have a cold, hard statistical look at Stanford's odds of making the tournament.

Stanford dropped from 31 percent to 27 percent to make the NCAA Tournament over the last week, which is not as bad as it felt at 10 p.m. Thursday. The more wins the better, but to give ourselves a fighting chance at dancing, we'll need 21 wins. (Remember, it's like blackjack: 21 is the magic number.)

With the UCLA tip pending, we're at 15 victories and six regular season games remain. So that's a sweep the rest of the way and an immediate loss in the Pac-12 Tournament, or 5-1 with one tourney win, or 4-2 with two tourney wins.

Of course, TeamRankings only has a 21-win Stanford with a 45 percent chance of dancing (that 22nd win gets us to 71 percent), so those games featuring bubble teams and our opponents become all the more important. Time for the…

Televised Rooting Guide

So I wasn't planning on launching this until white-knuckle time, but thanks to events of Thursday night, white knuckle time came early.

First and foremost, the logic is to root for Stanford's opponents, as it makes our strength of schedule stronger. Fully one half of the RPI formula is your opponents' record. Teams that Stanford plays twice are double-counted, so that means we'll be rooting against the Arizona and Washington schools in Pac-12 play, as they are the only teams in league Stanford plays but once.

Of course, this bubble is a competitive endeavor, and we also want to root against teams fighting with Stanford for those last slots. We'll look at the last eight at-large teams in and the first eight teams out per Joe Lunardi. (Stanford dropped from first to fifth team out with the USC loss.)

Root ForRoot AgainstTime (TV)
NC Statevs. Virginia Tech11 a.m. PST Sat. (ESPN2)
Missouriat Arkansas1 p.m. (ESPN)
Stanfordvs. UCLA1 p.m. (ESPN2)
USFvs. Gonzaga1:30 p.m. (CSN California)
Dukeat Maryland3 p.m. (ESPN)
Loyola Marymountvs. St. Mary's4 p.m. (Time Warner)
Coloradovs. Arizona State6 p.m. (ESPNU)
New Mexicovs. Boise State6 p.m. (Root)
Cal-State FullertonUC Irvine8 p.m. (Prime Ticket)
Oregon Stateat Washington8 p.m. (FSN)
Minnesotaat Iowa11 a.m. Sunday (Big Ten)
Northwesternvs. Illinois4:30 p.m. Sun. (Big Ten)
USCat California7 p.m. Sun. (FSN)

Of note: San Francisco has a shot at a top-10 team, which would do wonders for their RPI and, by extension, Stanford's numbers. Similarly, Northwestern has a shot at a top-40 team on Sunday, and with a win, would knock Illinois squarely onto the bubble. Right now, Stanford is competing with Arizona State and Cal on the Pac-12 bubble, so fans want to root against those schools.

Complete Rooting List, as of 2/16

Root Against:
Indiana State, Virginia, St. Mary's, Cal, Baylor, St. Louis, UNC, La Salle, Villanova, Temple, St. John's, Arizona State, Boise State, Maryland, Brigham Young, Arizona, Washington, Washington State

Root For:
Opponents of the above teams, plus USF, CSF, Alcorn State, Belmont, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Minnesota, Seattle, Denver, UC Davis, NC State, Northwestern, Lafayette

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