Beer (Check), Snacks (Check), TP (Check): The Storm That Is Selection Weekend Is HERE

Unfortunately, I'm running low on the first two items, so I'm heading to my local supermarket when I'm wrapped up with this thing. 

There are no changes from my bracket (seed list, trends) from very early this morning, even with USC's win over UCLA in the Pac 10 semifinals, the Trojans still aren't in.  Arizona hangs on as the last team in.  The two teams have very similar profiles, but the Wildcats have the edge for the moment because of their superior non-conference wins. 

However, USC is very much knocking on the door and they can knock it down and steal a spot from another bubble team if they beat Arizona State tonight in the Pac 10 final (CBS, 6 EDT).  The Sun Devils were on the verge of blowing out regular-season champ Washington, until they let the Huskies back in it in the second half.  Still, a ten-point win is nothing to be ashamed of.  Both teams seeds were affected by the result.  UW falls from a 3 to a 4 and ASU rises up to a 5.

More bracket talk as I move along today.  There is plenty of excitement in the air today, as 11 leagues join the Pac 10 in crowning their tournament champions today.  One team booked their place last night, and I was lucky enough to see it.

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American University clinched their second straight Patriot League title by defeating Holy Cross, 73-57. The Eagles were led by Garrison Carr's 24 (He went 6 of 8 from behind the arc.) and Brian Gilmore's 18, which included a dunk that made the Top Plays on Sportscenter.  (The T he received for jawing afterward didn't make the list.)

So here's a rundown of the other games where someone will cut down the nets and officially punch their dance tickets.

America East Final (ESPN2, 11 a.m. EDT) - The top seed, Binghamton, and sixth-seeded Maryland-Baltimore County, meet at the Events Center on the Bearcats' campus.  If they win, it will be the first NCAA trip for the Bearcats.  The Retrievers made their first trip last year.

Conference USA Final (CBS, 11:30 a.m. EDT) - It's another number 1 vs. number 2 battle, as Memphis stomped all over Houston (sorry, I couldn't resist) to continue their drive at another year of C-USA perfection.  They'll face Tulsa, the team who came closest to knocking off the Tigers this year.  The Golden Hurricane burst UAB's bubble, 70-67.

Big 12 Final (ESPN, 6 EDT) - Baylor looks to end yet another resume-challenged team's hopes.  The Bears knocked off Texas to advance to championship game, where they'll meet Missouri, The Tigers beat Oklahoma State 67-59 in the second semifinal.

Atlantic 10 Final (ESPN2, 6 EDT) - Either Temple55-53 winners over Xavier, or Duquesne, 77-66 winners over Dayton, will have a surprise bid at the end of their encounter in Atlantic City.

Mountain West Final (Versus, 7 EDT) - San Diego State probably wrapped up an at-large with their 64-62 win over BYU last night.  They can guarantee their spot by knocking off Utah in their rubber match in Las Vegas.  The Utes had little trouble with Wyoming in their semifinal.

MEAC Final (ESPNU, 7 EDT) - Off topic, the trend of moving conference championship games over to ESPNU has got to stop.  In a rarity for this conference, we don't have higher seeds in the final this year.  Regular season champion Morgan State, who defeated fifth-seeded Coppin State last night, faces three seed Norfolk State, 74-71 winners over two seed South Carolina State last night.  The Bears defeated the Spartans at home in their only meeting of the regular season.

MAC Final (ESPN2, 8 EDT) - The craziness that is the Mid-American Conference season is about to end.  Three seed Buffalo, a team who could've run away with the regular season title once upon a time, knocked off Ball State to move on.  The Bulls face fifth-seeded Akron, who eliminated top seed Bowling Green.  The two teams split their meetings this year, with each winning on the road.

Big East Final (ESPN, 9 EDT) - I think the 2009-09 Syracuse team is accidentally attempting to replace the 2005-06 team in the hearts of Orange fans.  They won another OT thriller last night, this time over West Virginia.  They'll face Louisville, who pulled away from Villanova in the second half of their semifinal.  The Cardinals are definitely playing for a number one seed. (I have them as the last #1 right now.)  While the Orange now find themselves in the protected seed race.  (I moved them up to a 4 seed today.)

SWAC Final (ESPN, 9 EDT) - Much like the MEAC, the SWAC includes no surprises this year.  However, that probably won't be enough to save tonight's winner from a date in Dayton on Tuesday night.  Top seed Alabama State, 63-55 winners over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, faces second seed Jackson State, who picked up a 13 -point win over Prairie View.  The teams split their two games in the regular season, each winning at home.

WAC Final (ESPN2, 10 EDT) - Top-seeded Utah State very nearly didn't make it to this point.  The Aggies had to overcome a big deficit to squeak by New Mexico State, 71-70, thanks to a Tyler Newbold 15-footer with 3 seconds left. USU takes on host Nevada, 77-68 winners over Louisiana Tech.  The Wolf Pack defeated the Aggies 84-71 in Reno two weeks ago.

Big West Final (ESPN2, 11:59 EDT) - Our marathon evening of conference championship games will end in Anaheim as we cross into Selection Sunday here on the East Coast. Top seed Cal State-Northridge, seven point winners over UCSB in their semifinal, faces three seed Pacific.  The Tigers knocked off two seed Long Beach State, 65-60.  Pacific swept the Matadors this season.

Tomorrow, the Southland decides its champion.  Top seed Stephen F. Austin and six seed Texas-San Antonio meet to decide the bid.  More on this game tomorrow.

Three conferences are at the semifinal stage.

ACC Semifinals (all games on ESPN outside of ACC country and Raycom inside it)

North Carolina vs. Florida State (1:30 EDT) - The Tar Heels remain on the top seed line (my #1 overall), while the Seminoles are very close to potentially claiming a four, even if they were lucky to get past Georgia Tech yesterday.  All FSU is really lacking is an ACC win like one they could claim in this matchup.  UNC was also tested in their quarterfinal, but they finally beat Virginia Tech by three, probably ending the Hokies at-large hopes.

Maryland vs. Duke (4 EDT*) - The Terps convincing win over Wake Forest might just be enough to get them in.  They can pretty much guarantee a spot if they knock off a Blue Devil squad who had a rough time with Boston College last night.  I have Duke on the two line, but this could still change, either positively or negatively for the Blue Devils.

Big Ten Semifinals (all games on CBS)

Michigan State vs. Ohio State (1:30 EDT) - I moved the Spartans up to the 1 line after their sloppy win over Minnesota yesterday. They replace UConn for the moment.  If they lose this one or don't look impressive, the Huskies may jump back up.  Numbers-wise and team health-wise, the Spartans have a great case, but their consistency gives me real pause. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes ensured their safety by beating Wisconsin, 61-57.
Illinois vs. Purdue (4 EDT*) - The Illini knocked off Michigan, meaning the Wolverines now have a very nervous weekend to look forward to. The Boilermakers did the same to Penn StateIllinois and Purdue both reside on the 5 line at the moment, and are looking to move up.

SEC Semifinals (all games on ESPN2 outside of SEC country and Raycom inside it)

LSU vs. Mississippi State (1 EDT) - The Tigers burst Kentucky's bubble for good, while the Bulldogs may have done the same to South Carolina.  While LSU is certainly in and trying to improve their seeding, the Bulldogs only hope is to steal the auto bid.
Tennessee vs. Auburn (3:30 EDT*) - The Vols looked far better against Alabama than they did last Sunday. They next take on a Tiger team that won an elimination game over Florida. A second win over UT on the year would really boost AU's case, even if they don't take the conference crown.

Bracket updates will be coming at random points of the day (usually after auto bids are wrapped up).  We'll have our first ever live blog between 7 and 11 tonight, covering the second half of the Big 12, Pac 10, and A10 finals, the MWC. MAC, Big East, and, if you can see them, MEAC and SWAC finals.

 

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