In the NCAA Tournament, this is what might be called a soft bracket.
The Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics are all currently on the same side of the NBA's Eastern Conference playoff bracket. That means, to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat will encounter the Milwaukee Bucks and—if there are no changes in the standings— either the Brooklyn Nets or the undermanned Chicago Bulls.
That's hardly daunting.
Still, first things first. And that means a look at the likely matchup between the first-seeded Heat and eighth-seeded Bucks.
Does Milwaukee, a franchise that hasn't won a playoff series since Ray Allen was its leading scorer in 2001, have any chance to make this interesting?
The Bucks have won four of the 10 games that the teams have played since the Heat's "Big 3" came together.
It should be noted, however, that Milwaukee has undergone considerable roster turnover over that time. Only four players are still around from the 2010-11 season. And Scott Skiles, the coach whose style the Heat often cited for giving them trouble, is no longer on the Bucks' sideline.
With Miami hungry for a second straight title, and likely healthy after clinching the East three weeks early, at least five things will need to go right for the Bucks to stretch the series past five games.
(Quotes and information for this piece were collected through the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for the Palm Beach Post. All statistics are accurate as of Monday night.)