No other major sport announces the participants for its ultimate postseason experience quite like college basketball. Selection Sunday is the day for heartache, rejoicing and bulletin board material.
The bubble teams that don't get in will cry and try to pump themselves up for the NIT. The players and coaches from the programs that get the call will jump up and down as if they've won it all.
Conference champions and teams that are awarded at-large bids, but think they deserve a higher seed, will be motivated by the "slight."
There's a ton of emotions going on, but that's part of what makes it such a cool event. Here's how you can watch the drama:
When: Sunday, March 16 at 6 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports
Teams That Deserve to Be Top Seeds
The Wildcats spent eight weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation. They have also been ranked in the top four since the fourth week of the season. At 28-3, there is no question what team deserves to be the top seed in the West region.
As long as Jay Wright's team avoids Creighton, it should be alright. These Wildcats are 28-3 this season. Two of those losses came at the hands of Naismith candidate Doug McDermott and the Creighton Blue Jays.
Aside from those two slips, Nova has distinguished themselves as the top team in the East.
This is a no-brainer. At 29-3 and undefeated in the SEC, the Florida Gators are the No. 1 team in the nation. Head coach Billy Donovan will go looking for his third national championship with the school.
Midwest: Wichita State
The Shockers are the only undefeated team in Division I. It's time they had a target placed on their backs on the sport's biggest stage. During their run to the national championship game in 2013, they wore the Cinderella slipper.
Things have changed this season. They are now the hunted.
Bubble Teams That Will Be Very Nervous on Sunday
Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Golden Gophers have had opportunities to cement an at-large bid, but they have fumbled away those chances. Now the team must show well in the Big Ten tournament to feel comfortable.
Minnesota did end the regular season on a high note. It defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 81-63 on March 9. The Gophers will rematch the Nittany Lions in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Per Gopher Sports, after the win to end the season, Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino said this during the postgame press conference:
This is a great win for us tonight. It was a tough to have seven days off this time of year. The guys were so eager to get out on the court when all of these other games were going on. The best thing for us was to play a game, so it was mentally difficult for us to have to wait seven days between games.
Our team took care of business tonight and I was happy with the way we started tonight. Penn State had a nice run of points, so we had to calm ourselves down. It's a good win for us and we have to get ready to go to play them again on Thursday. One of the hardest things to do is to beat a team three times, so we need to prepare for that.
Coach Pitino is correct. It is hard to beat the same team three times. But that's exactly what Minnesota has to do if it hopes to make it to the Big Dance.
Which team is most likely to be left out of the NCAA tournament field?
At 23-8, SMU has a record that sounds worthy of a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the team has feasted on poor squads.
SMU did knock off UConn, but that still may not be enough to go dancing.
Owning a win over No. 6-ranked Virginia is the best thing UWGB has going for it heading into Selection Sunday.
Aside from that win, its resume is sparse. Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports puts it plainly with this take on the team's predicament:
The Phoenix are pretty much helpless.
Green Bay can do nothing more on the floor to improve its chances of making the NCAA tournament after it fell to rival Milwaukee in the Horizon League semifinals in perhaps the most stunning conference tournament upset so far this March.
With no way to control its own destiny, UWGB might have to settle for an NIT bid.
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