Bracketology update: UCLA holds off USC, Arizona up next

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 1:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins warms up before the game against the Washington Huskies at Pauley Pavilion on March 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images).UCLA held off USC in its Pac-12 Tournament opener on Thursday night.

Here is a look at the bracketology implications from the Bruins' 76-74 victory, as well as a glance at what lies ahead for Friday's semifinals showdown with Arizona.


Before Thursday's game.

  • RPI: 16
  • SOS: 139
  • Wins vs. teams in RPI top-50: @Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, USC, @Arizona
  • Losses to teams outside RPI top-50: None

Following the UCLA victory.

  • RPI: 15
  • SOS: 130
  • Wins vs. teams in RPI top-50: @Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, USC, @Arizona, USC (Pac-12 Tournament)
  • Losses to teams outside RPI top-50: None


Before Thursday's game.

  • RPI: 41
  • SOS: 85
  • Wins vs. teams in RPI top-50: SMU, UCLA
  • Losses to teams outside RPI top-50: California, @Utah

Following the USC loss.

  • RPI: 42
  • SOS: 73
  • Wins vs. teams in RPI top-50: SMU, UCLA
  • Losses to teams outside RPI top-50: California, @Utah

The bottom line

Thursday's game did not incur any drastic bracketology changes for either team, but there are a few items of note.

UCLA could have done more to help its case for a No. 1 seed, especially with projected top seed Kansas being upset by TCU in the Big 12 Tournament. That said, the Bruins still saw improvement in both RPI and strength of schedule with their sixth win over an RPI top-50 opponent. A convincing victory would have been ideal, but as has been the case all along, a Pac-12 Tournament Championship will overshadow any less-than-stellar performances along the way.

CBS Sports' Jerry Palm and ESPN's Joe Lunardi have kept the Bruins at a No. 2 and No. 3 seed, respectively. 

As for USC, it is difficult to read how Thursday's loss will affect its NCAA Tournament outlook — if at all. The Trojans entered the game on the bubble, and left in essentially the same position.  

Palm still has the team at a No. 9 seed, while Lunardi has them at a No. 12 seed slated for a play-in game. As a result of the loss, USC missed an opportunity to secure its spot at the Big Dance, and must now await the decision of the Selection Committee.

What's next

UCLA will face Arizona in the conference tournament semifinals on Friday night, in a game that could potentially determine a No. 1 seed. Although UCLA and Arizona enter the contest seemingly on the outside looking in of a top seed, it should be noted that, of the teams in the running, including those that appear cemented as No. 1's, the Bruins and Wildcats are the only teams without a loss outside the RPI top-50.

Tip-off for UCLA vs. Arizona is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on our sister station, KEIB AM-1150. 

Photo Credit Getty Images

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