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Previewing Selection Sunday for the SEC


The Gators are set up to get the highest seed of all SEC teams. Even if they somehow lose in the second round of the SEC Tournament to Arkansas (who must beat Tennessee to get there), they'll end up with either a 3- or 4-seed. With the former, they'll likely be put in the East region; with the latter, it's likely off to the Southwest. The reason? So they end up in a pod playing in Tampa in the first weekend of the tournament.


Both Chris Dobbertean and Joe Lunardi have moved UK up to a 4-seed, but they disagree on which region the 'Cats will end up in. The most favorable spot would probably be the Southeast region, which lands Kentucky in D.C. for the first two rounds. The Southwest wouldn't be bad either, with its first two games in Tampa. If the 'Cats fall in their first SEC tournament game to Ole Miss, or worse, South Carolina, they might slide back to a 5-seed on worries about their ability to win away from home.


Both guys have Vandy back as a 6-seed, and the Commodores don't have an opportunity to pick up any really nice wins until the third round of the conference tournament. If they remain a 6-seed, they probably won't end up in the same region as a 3-seeded Florida as the committee likes to avoid conference matchups in the first two rounds if possible. The most favorable region would be the West, with the first two games in D.C. If they move up to a 5-seed, again, it wouldn't be in the same region as a 4-seeded Florida or Kentucky.


Everyone seems to think Tennessee is safely in the bracket, and with mid-major tournaments going as planned so far, it probably is. Still, beating Arkansas tomorrow wouldn't be a bad idea. Dobbertean has Tennessee as a 9-seed, while Lunardi has them a 10-seed. Their best case scenario would be as a 9-seed in the West or 10-seed in the Southwest, as they'd play their first weekend game(s) in nearby Charlotte. That is, unless Duke or UNC ends up a 2-seed in the Southwest, as they'd pretty much have a home-like atmosphere.


Dobbertean has the Bulldogs in safely as an 11-seed, while Lunardi has them playing one of the First Four play-in games in Dayton for an 11-seed. Honestly, I thought they'd be a little better off than that as they have no bad losses, but they have few really good wins. Losing to Auburn would be a disaster; losing to Alabama would be survivable. UGA should ultimately be happy with whatever it gets, but getting stuck in a First Four game would be a disappointment.


The Crimson Tide is in the worst shape of any SEC team with a shot at a dancing ticket, but things have been looking up throughout the week. Right now they're the first team out according to both bracket experts, but they could probably move on the other side of that line with a win over Georgia and for sure with a win over Kentucky should they meet the 'Cats in the SECT semis. Failing that, they're a First Four team at best.


Old Dominion winning the CAA and Butler taking the Horizon were two huge plusses for all bubble teams. The former result likely shuts out VCU, and the latter prevents Butler from taking up an at-large spot from someone else. Gonzaga took the WCC auto-bid, leaving St. Mary's as a bubble team of interest. The Gaels are in according to Dobbertean and out according to ESPN, so they're right on the line. Losing to Weber State on Friday (why a game after the conference tournament?) would remove all doubt.

The MWC has three locks with BYU, SDSU, and UNLV, and two extreme outside shots with Colorado State and New Mexico. They play each other tomorrow in the MWC Tournament. The loser is pretty much done. Root for the winner to lose in the next round and for one of the locks to win the whole thing.

The A10 has two locks in Xavier and Temple. It also has Richmond, which is on the good side of the bubble right now. Richmond probably doesn't fall out even with a first round loss to Rhode Island, so any one of those three winning the tournament would be best.

UAB in CUSA and Utah State in the WAC are on the outer fringe of the bubble list, but having them win their respective tournaments would be best just to be sure.


The ACC has three bubble teams in BC, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, who are all probably in right now. Root for all of them to lose, beginning with tomorrow's slate with BC playing Wake Forest (won't happen) and VT playing Georgia Tech (already happened in January).

The Big 12 has two bubble teams in Colorado and Nebraska. CU is in kind of the same situation as Georgia is in, and conveniently, UGA beat the Buffs earlier this season. Nebraska was on the fringe, but it probably got the last nail in its coffin by losing to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tournament today. Colorado plays Iowa State, and a loss would be damaging.

In the Big East, Marquette is the only bubble team left. Even so, they're probably going to make it, so it's not worth worrying about for bubble purposes. The rest, however, should be interesting for seeding purposes.

The Big Ten has three bubblers in Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State. All are in for now, but losses early in the Big Ten tourney could cost them spots. Michigan State opens up with Iowa tomorrow, while Illinois and Michigan play each other on Friday. The latter game isn't quite as important as Alabama-Georgia, but it's close.

The Pac-10 is down to two bubble teams. Washington is barely in, while USC is a big longshot. Both of them play tomorrow, with UW playing Wazzou and USC taking on Cal. Washington will probably be in with a win, while USC will have to pick up several wins with lots of important losses around the country to have a shot.