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Arizona Wildcats literally on NCAA tournament bubble in #mock

Twitter is great because it's all about access. We can learn about and follow events usually meant for "special" people. Sometimes those special people are athletes or celebrities, but in the case of today, it's the media who are the special people.

Some lucky folks in the college basketball world are in Indianapolis as we speak, mocking up the 2012 NCAA tournament. For a little background, here's a post that describes a little bit of the process, but all I'll say here is that the committee decides who's in and who's out based upon detailed discussion and, essentially, guesses as to who wins conference tournaments. Thus, in the end it's leaving the media members to pick who gets in as selections outside the automatic qualifiers.

Obviously, with the Pac-12 being crummy and the Arizona Wildcats needing to make a push, the #mock (follow along on Twitter) became that much more scary when the Wildcats were the first team out earlier Friday morning, the conference's final day of putting the 68-team field together.

Not so fast.

After a final tweak -- and error, apparently -- Arizona became the last team in after the prior last team in, Sean Miller's old Xavier Musketeers team, was picked to win the Atlantic 10 Conference. It appeared that Xavier would jump over the Wildcats in the overall standings and keep them out, but that's not the case.

Update: The final bracket has the Wildcats playing Seton Hall in a play-in game. The winner of that would play No. 5 seed Florida State.

Here's a look at the final field of 68 that is probably in the process of being seeded as we speak this afternoon. The Wildcats are listed as the No. 48 overall seed -- do the simple math, and yes, that's the worst 12 seed -- with a number of small-school automatic qualifiers behind them in the standings.

I imagine they'll take a slide backward from here, but here's a couple of interesting notes.

  • The Washington Huskies somehow were left out of the field. I'm sure Huskies fan can make a solid argument that they should be in before Arizona, but with very similar records (Arizona at 19-8 and Washington at 18-8) it's the Huskies with some bad losses in the non-conference schedule. Losses to Saint Louis and South Dakota State (though they made the tourney themselves) hurt a bit. The Wildcats' worst losses, oddly enough, would be in conference to UCLA and Colorado.
  • Not surprisingly, the only team the Wildcats have beat this season in the NCAA field was Cal, who was seeded at No. 44. There are a number of squads Arizona lost to, however. The Gonzaga Bulldogs earned the No. 19 overall seed in the initial standings with the Florida Gators right behind them at 20. The San Diego State Aztecs came in at No. 24, the Mississippi State Bulldogs at No. 29.
  • The committee picked the California Golden Bears to win the Pac-12 tournament and as it appears they're on their way to winning the league in the regular season. The folks in Indy initially had them as the only Pac-12 team in the NCAA tourney field -- that was before the Wildcats snuck back in.
  • Former Wildcats Momo Jones and his Iona Gaels squad are right behind Arizona at No. 49 in the initial standings.

In conclusion, this just proves a couple of points. For one, the Wildcats and Huskies game on Saturday is a huge, huge game. IF either squad wants to leave it up to luck to earn an NCAA invite without winning the conference tournament, winning on Saturday is a must.

Also, it goes to show that the Golden Bears control their own destiny.