Selection Sunday 2012 Start Time: How A-10 Title Game Can Shake Up the Field

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 28: Dezmine Wells #5 of the Xavier Musketeers celebrates after hitting a shot against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium on November 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Xavier defeated Vanderbilt 82-70 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With almost every conference title game on Sunday featuring sure-fire tournament teams, the selection committee likely already has a good idea of who it is leaning toward putting in the 68-team field. The one game that can throw that for a loop, however, is the Atlantic 10 title game between Xavier and St. Bonaventure.

The bracket won't be revealed until CBS' special Selection Sunday show at 6 p.m. ET, so the committee will have plenty of time to deliberate following the A-10 title game, which starts at 1 p.m. ET. The general thought is that Xavier is in the tourney no matter what, so if the Musketeers win, then nothing is going to change.

If the Bonnies win, though, it will knock out a bubble team that may have thought it was a sure bet to make it. St. Bonaventure is a solid team with a 19-11 record, as well as the top player in the conference in Andrew Nicholson. However, without the automatic bid, there is no way it makes the tournament.

With that in mind, teams like South Florida, Seton Hall, Mississippi State, Washington, Drexel, Iona and others will be watching the game intently, because they all figure to be in the mix to grab one of the final few precious tournament berths.

Perhaps the only team that has won its conference tournament thus far and stolen a bubble spot is the Colorado Buffaloes, who outlasted the Arizona Wildcats for the inaugural Pac-12 championship. The Buffaloes weren't going to be in otherwise, so they likely took one of the precious bubble spots off the board.

California seems to be a tournament lock in the eyes of many, but there is a chance that the Bears don't make it, and if they don't, then Colorado's Pac-12 title will not have affected the bubble at all. With all of that said, St. Bonaventure has the ability to ruin one program's Sunday, so there will be a lot of people who are Xavier fans for a day.

With the expanded field of 68 teams being implemented for the second straight year and so few teams stealing tournament bids thus far, teams that don't make the Big Dance will have nobody to blame but themselves. Things have gone chalk much more than usual this postseason, and that bodes well for teams on the cusp.

If Xavier wins, then not much is going to change over the course of the day, except perhaps seeding and matchups. Should the Bonnies win, though, some team is going to be foiled at the last minute, and everyone will speculate on exactly what team it might have been.

Situations such as this one are what make Selection Sunday such a fun experience for college basketball fans. If every tournament bid was known ahead of time, then it wouldn't be such a success. People love to see the jubilation of the teams that sneak into the tourney, and the agony of the teams that are left out.

Even if Xavier wins, there are sure to be some surprises, but a St. Bonaventure victory will surely send the selection committee and bubble teams scrambling. If you enjoy mass chaos on Selection Sunday, then it looks like you'll be pulling for the Bonnies.