Today's the day when we officially learn if Vanderbilt will be playing in Dayton this week, or at Memorial Gym in the first round of the NIT.
I don't really have much to add about the bubble situation; it is what it is at this point, and from the sound of things the Selection Committee has already made up its mind about whether Vanderbilt's getting in or not:
UPDATE: The Committee is down to the last few teams in the selection process. The field is nearly complete.— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 13, 2016
So that's that. Vanderbilt can't do anything except sit and wait.
In the meantime, the games on tap for today:
Atlantic 10 Final: St. Joseph's vs. VCU (11:30 AM CT, CBS): This isn't all that interesting from a bubble perspective since both of these teams seem firmly in the field. But in case Vanderbilt is making a coaching change, keep an eye on VCU head coach Will Wade. A Nashville native who's in his first year at VCU after two solid years at Chattanooga, Wade seems like an obvious candidate for the Vanderbilt job if there's a vacancy.
SEC Final: Kentucky vs. Texas A&M (Noon CT, ESPN): Again, no particular bubble interest here as chalk held on Saturday, setting up a rematch from that time the refs handed the Aggies a share of the conference title (and the #1 seed) in College Station. The Wildcats are the superior team, they're likely to be pissed, they're going to be playing in front of what basically amounts to a home crowd, and the line is only four points?
Sun Belt Final: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Little Rock (Noon CT, ESPN2): And here we get to some bubble juice. Little Rock (who now prefers that moniker over Arkansas-Little Rock or UALR, which they're frequently still referred to) is 28-4, has an RPI of 45, and won at San Diego State earlier in the year. In other words, they have about as much of an argument for an at-large bid as Monmouth or Valparaiso does, so if they lose this game you just know somebody is going to whine about them not getting a bid. If that happens, I'll just say that it probably hurts the Sun Belt that their tournament final is on Sunday, meaning the committee either has to have a contingency plan already in place for Little Rock losing or else they'll just say screw it, they lost and we just feel like putting Louisiana-Monroe in their place. (Good news for UL-Monroe is that they'd probably get an undeserved 12-seed that way.)
Big Ten Final: Purdue vs. Michigan State (2 PM CT, CBS): This is probably going to be the best game of the day, but like the SEC Tournament final, it has no real bubble implications.
American Final: Memphis vs. UConn (2:15 PM CT, ESPN): And now, for the grand finale, the potential nightmare scenario for Vanderbilt and everyone else on the bubble. On one side, UConn, which is pretty clearly in the field at this point (at least, we think.) On the other side, Memphis, a school that's turned two top 10 recruiting classes in the last three years into a team with an RPI of 136. (And we think Stallings underachieves.) If UConn wins, all is right in the world. If Memphis wins, you can find me cursing at my Memphis friends. Also, if Memphis wins this game, the Twitterverse is all in agreement that Josh Pastner will keep his job because of his $10 million buyout. Anybody who thinks our athletic department makes poor decisions should really look 200 miles down Interstate 40. We could have those people making decisions.
Selection Show (4:30 PM CT, CBS): CBS has added an hour to the Selection Show this year, making it two hours long. How bad of an idea is a two-hour selection show? Here's how bad:
So, back in 1990, the entire bracket could be revealed in about ten minutes. 26 years later, that takes two hours. I am sure that 90 percent of that two hours will not consist of an endless stream of commercials and Seth Davis explaining why he thinks Siena will win their first-round game. (I kid, Seth's pretty good, but we all remember that one time that he predicted Siena to win their first-round game as soon as it was announced. Shan Foster deserved better.) But Seth's pretty smart, and I'm totally not saying this because he agrees with me:
I'm telling you, the team to watch for tomorrow is South Carolina. Feels a lot like SMU '14.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 12, 2016
Anyway, the new two-hour format means that you should have time to make the two-drink minimum here before the second region is revealed.
NIT Selection Show (7:30 PM CT, ESPNU): I hate you, Kevin Stallings, for making me have to include this. We shouldn't have to care about this, but there is a good chance that we will.
Have fun watching hoops today, everybody. The Madness begins in a couple of days.