LOS ANGELES -- The precarious bubble Washington sat on heading into the Pac-10 tournament final against Cal became even shakier before the game began. Houston’s upset win in the Conference USA final over No. 25 UTEP, not to mention big wins by fellow bubble teams Minnesota and Mississippi State over ranked teams, means Washington may be in a position where it must win the Pac-10 tournament in order earn an NCAA tournament bid.
In the first half, the Huskies have done everything in their power to keep the decision out of the selection committee's hands, taking a 41-37 lead. Quincy Pondexter has 12 points, half of them coming at the free-throw line.
In a back-and-forth first half that saw 16 lead changes and eight ties, Cal was able to stay in the game thanks to Theo Robertson, who scored 16 points. The Bears also scored 12 points off eight Washington turnovers. California, which shot 70.8 percent in the second half of its win over UCLA will likely shoot better than the 37.1 percent it did in the first half. The Huskies can also expect Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher, who combined for only 10 points in the first half, to find their stride in the second half.
At the very least, if Washington continues to battle Cal the way it has in the first half, and the eye-ball test still means anything to the selection committee, the Huskies -- who split the season series with the Bears this season -- have proven they are on par with Cal.