Today is the day we've all been waiting for. At 6 Eastern tonight, we'll find out who's in and who's bubble has been burst. We'll also find out who's staying close to home and who has to travel across a time zone or three.
After yesterday's action, 12 teams know for sure that they're in.
America East - Binghamton is in for the very first time. Tony Kornheiser's (obligatory TK reference) alma mater defeated Maryland-Baltimore County by 10. Reggie Fuller had 19 for the Bearcats, going 7 for 7 from the field.
Conference USA - Memphis staked their claim to a number one seed by crushing Tulsa, 64-39. Gus Johnson's talent went to considerable waste, as he was stuck calling a game where the Golden Hurricane managed the lowest-point total in Memphis and the 11 Dwarves conference tournament history. Robert Dozier had 18 points and 14 boards, while Tyreke Evans scored 18.
Pacific 10 - USC ended someone's hopes by defeating Arizona State 66-63, in the first of two thrilling games played in Southern California last night. Both teams were hot from the field (USC at 52%, ASU at 53%), but the Trojans foul shooting is, oddly enough, what gave them the win. Sure Daniel Hackett hitting two in the dying moments clinched the win, but the Trojans got 21 FTAs on the night, making 13. The Sun Devils only went 2-4 from the charity stripe.
Big 12 - Missouri ended Baylor's run through the tournament and the Bears' Dance hopes, 73-60. Baylor kept it close for the first half and some of the second, but the Tigers went up 11 with 15:39 left and never looked back.
Mountain West - San Diego State isn't quite as safe as I thought yesterday, not after a dismal Mountain West final, where they lost to Utah, 52-50. Neither team looked particularly good, with the Aztecs shooting 36 percent from the floor and the Utes only making 33 percent of their attempts. SDSU now needs to cheer for a Tennessee win in the SEC championship today to have any hope.
MEAC - Morgan State is going dancing for the first time. The Bears' 83-69 win over Norfolk State completes the long road to redemption for coach Todd Bozeman who left Cal in disgrace after a recruiting scandal and had an eight-year show cause penalty imposed on him. It seems he's doing things the right way in Baltimore and his squad, led by all-MEAC guard Reggie Holmes, already owns a win over Maryland.
MAC - Remember back in December when Buffalo nearly knocked off UConn? Well, Championship Week does a great job of making great memories like that completely irrelevant. The Bulls fwere handled by Akron, 65-53. That means the Zips are in the tournament for the first time since 1986, when Bob Huggins was their coach. Keith Dambrot's team was left out in 2007 despite a 26-7 record, not even making the NIT!
Big East - Syracuse completely ran out of gas in the second half and fell to Louisville, 76-66. In my mind, the Cardinals, as double Big East champions, should be the overall number one seed at 6 EDT tonight.
SWAC - Top seed Alabama State knocked off second seed Jackson State, 65-58. The Hornets are probably destined to play in Dayton on Tuesday night. That might be your only chance to see the player with the greatest name in basketball today, Chief Kickingstallionsims.
WAC - Utah State banished any worries about their status by defeating host Nevada 72-62 to claim the auto bid. The Aggies jumped out to a 21-4 lead, but the Wolf Pack chipped away and cut it to four early in the second. USU let them get no closer.
Big West - Cal State-Northridge, a team that's encountered turmoil and tragedy so far this year. has overcome all of that to make it in. They also finally got past a Pacific team who swept them in the regular season, even though they needed overtime to do it. Rodrigue Mels had 23 points to lead the Matadors to the win.
Four teams punch their tickets today.
Southland Final (ESPN, 1 EDT) - Top seed Stephen F. Austin meets six seed Texas-San Antonio for the crown. The Roadrunners would likely replace Chattanooga as Alabama State's opponents in Dayton Tuesday night. The Lumberjacks, who have a shot at a better seed, defeated UTSA on the road in the teams' only meeting last weekend.
ACC Final (ESPN2 outside of ACC country and Raycom inside it, 1 EDT) - Florida State ended North Carolina's hopes of a third-straight ACC crown, 73-70. Now Toney Douglas and the Seminoles will try to end Duke's slender hopes of a #1 seed. The Blue Devils put Maryland's status right back into doubt with a 67-61 win in their semifinal.
SEC Final (CBS, 1 EDT) - As I've mentioned, Tennessee is the best friend of the resume challenged today. The Vols already knocked off Auburn to basically end their hopes. Now, they face Mississippi State, who is looking to steal a bid after they eliminated LSU.
Big Ten Final (CBS, 3:30 EDT) - Ohio State slammed the door on Michigan State's one seed chances yesterday and put further space between themselves and the bubble in the process. The Buckeyes next get Purdue who knocked off Illinois, 66-56. The Boilermakers need to win this one to claim a top-four seed.
I'll be working on my final bracket after the 1 p.m. games, as the Big Ten game won't affect selection. Expect my final update sometime after 5 Eastern. However, I will announce my pick for the Opening Round game at the conclusion of the Southland final.