As I’m writing this, 32 hours remain before Selection Sunday. Fittingly enough, there are exactly 32 games remaining on the conference tournament slate (26 today, with 6 more tomorrow). 12 champions have been crowned, 14 more will win their tournaments today, and the final 6 titles claimed tomorrow for – you guessed it – the 32 total automatic bids. But enough with the number 32 (Jim Carrey would be proud, no??), it’s on to the penultimate CrossRoads Sports bracket update.
You will notice there is an added section called Possible Bid Stealers. To my count, there are 5 possibilities out there that could shift the bubble accordingly.. These bid stealers are ranked in order of likelihood, with Oregon’s potential Pac-12 conference tourney title being the most likely. Oregon has to win to get in, though. Ironically enough Arizona State is the team I would replace them with, because, well fuck the Pac 12.
There are certain aspects of this bracket that are pretty much written in stone for me:
1) There is a discernible pecking order for the teams I currently have on the right side of the bubble. As mentioned, ASU is next in line to get bumped, followed by Belmont, Ohio State, St. John’s, and NC State. If you’re any of those teams, you have a possibility of falling out, although Wolfpack rest assured not all 5 of these bid stealers will happen so you can sleep easier – just be prepared to get Cinderella ready for the ball early, it might be Tuesday/Wednesday in Dayton.
2) The top 2 lines are just about locked. Barring a Michigan loss to Minnesota, they will remain a 2, and keep Houston from a potential move up one line. The others are assured of not falling out regardless of results in the final two days.
3) If you’re included on a list containing the word “OUT” and you are not Oregon, get ready to host an NIT game. Hell, even if you are Oregon, get ready to host an NIT game.
4) I’m going to say something that many might disagree with, and in some ways, I can’t believe I’ve come to this conclusion this year. Conference championship weekend is even better than the first weekend of the tournament. I know, I know, blasphemy right? Hear me out… Not only do you get higher quality games and fewer blowouts this weekend, but these high quality matchups are conference rivalries. Some teams are playing 4 or 5 games in just as many days, which isn’t the case next weekend either. Don’t get me wrong, the Cinderella’s are cute making their little runs to the Sweet 16 next weekend, but this weekend is for champions, and needs to get respected as such.
– Nick Peterson (Crossroads Sports Bracketology contributor)