The bid thieves have laid low this year.
And that’s great news for teams sitting on the NCAA Tournament fence.
A typical conference tournament week involves plenty of scoreboard-watching from bubble teams, sweating out their fortune.
The bubbles hate upsets. What they hate even more is continued upsets.
When that happens, teams fall off the fence and into the NIT vat.
Although the bracket collapsed on a few major conference tournaments, like the Big 12, it appears that heading into the final hours of selection committee deliberations, no team has come off the pace to play its way into the tournament.
That should be good news for teams like Xavier, Tennessee and Nebraska that started the week needing not to get bounced with in an upset. That didn’t happen, and then the upsets that occurred did not shake up the week.
St. Bonaventure, a ninth seed, stunned Atlantic-10 No. 1 Saint Louis. But the Bonnies got bounced in their next game. Houston, sixth-seeded in the American, upset third-seeded SMU. But red-hot Louisville took care of the Cougars.
Seton Hall couldn’t build on its Big East upsets of Villanova, and North Carolina State couldn’t knock out a second kingpin, falling to Duke after beating Syracuse.
In the one conference tournament where a fourth-seed met a No. 7 in the final, there was no bubble impact. That’s because the Big 12’s Iowa State and Baylor in the Big 12 were already snugly on the bracket.
That’s not so say today’s bracket revelation will be without drama.
I suspect the committee went to sleep on Saturday without knowing the fourth No. 1 seed after Florida, Wichita State and Arizona.
Villanova’s loss opened a door that Kansas might have stepped through had it won the Big 12. But the Jayhawks lost, giving Wisconsin a chance. Then the Badgers fell. The fourth No. 1?
I’ve got Michigan, which won the Big Ten and meets Michigan State for the conference tournament title today. But a Wolverines loss could again throw the position open.
As for second seeds, pencil in Louisville, Kansas, Wisconsin and Villanova, with today’s ACC champion — Virginia or Duke — a candidate to replace one of them.
The Big 12 will lead the conferences with seven selections, and the finalists helped their seeding this week at the Sprint Center.
By beating Kansas State and Kansas, the Cyclones played their way into a solid top four seed, and could get a No. 3.
Baylor’s rise has been as impressive as their fall at the beginning of league play. From a 2-8 start, the Bears had won 10 of 11 before Saturday night’s title game. Six of those victories have come against teams that are heading to the tournament.
Baylor entered the week looking like a double-digit seed, but the Bears might have soared past that line, through the 8/9 intersection all the way to a No. 6 or No. 7 seed.
As for the rest of the Big 12, make Kansas a No. 2, but keep in mind the Jayhawks could get bumped for the ACC champion. Make Iowa State No. 4, Oklahoma No. 5, Texas No. 6, Baylor No. 7 and put Oklahoma State and K-State in 8/9 games.
From the SEC, Florida could fall in today’s league title game and remain the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed. Kentucky looks like a No. 6. Tennessee is in as a double-digit seed that won’t have to play early this week in Dayton, and I may be the final holdout on Arkansas. Put the Razorbacks in Dayton.
If you want to hold me to these calls, let me suggest capturing them in Snapchat (and watch them disappear).Blair Kerkhoff’s NCAA Tournament projection
Heading into today, here’s how The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff sees the NCAA Tournament field shaping up. The official field of 68 will be announced during today’s Selection Show at 5 p.m. on CBS.