Cardinal splits Arizona schools: What's going to happen now?

USA TODAY Sports

Stanford is 4-1 after that disastrous Colorado loss - can they push through to the NCAA tourney?

Ugly, but effective.

Three shots in the last 12 minutes of the game is ugly. But a big win over a conference team with a better record to keep the Cardinal in the hunt for the NCAA tourney is effective.

Powered by Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis, this team finally appears to be realizing the potential everybody knew that it had, and it has definitely climbed back to the bubble.

So let's rub that crystal ball as hard as we can: What's going to happen down the stretch?

What gets them into the NCAA tournament? A 5-2 finish would put the Cardinal at 20-11 with an 11-7 conference record - probably good enough for fourth or fifth place in the Pac-12. But I worry that if those two losses are to anybody but UCLA and Oregon, the Cardinal's hopes will be kaput.

In my mind, anything less than that 5-2 record puts the Cardinal as a very long shot to make the big dance.

So the margin for error is razor-thin.

Thankfully, the Cardinal has pulled itself out of the disaster it was a few weeks ago - but now they have to compile as many good wins as they can in order to

Really, the best thing that could happen would be for the top teams in the Pac-12 (Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA) to finish strong to help boost the Cardinal's chances. If Oregon continues to struggle to the finish line, it would make Stanford's best win of the season look substantially worse, and could pull down Stanford's chances no matter how well the Cardinal finishes the season.

Altogether, Stanford's chances are looking... okay. But Dawkins and company have, to a certain degree, left their future out of their hands.

For now, I think it's safe to table the debate whether Johnny Dawkins should be fired or not - and let his team's results in the Pac-12 and conference tournament speak for themselves.

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