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Bracketology: Pac-12 tourney kicks off today with high stakes

Several Pac-12 teams find themselves in "can't lose" situations today

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

We are just a little over 100 hours until Selection Sunday. Fans of the Arizona Wildcats know they'll see their team revealed in the NCAA bracket on Sunday afternoon but other Pac-12 fans aren't so lucky just yet.

Today's Pac-12 Tournament opening round games have plenty on the line for several teams. Teams like Colorado and USC certainly feel like they are currently in the tournament field but can't afford a loss on a neutral floor to lesser opponents today. The Oregon State Beavers are right on the edge of being in and need to get themselves as far as possible in the Pac-12 tourney to have a chance at having their name called on Sunday.

Coming into today, this is how Arizona Desert Swarm sees it:

The Colorado Buffaloes appear to be safe as an 8-seed but they play Pac-12's last-place Washington State Cougars today, losers of 16 straight. A loss for Colorado on a neutral floor to one of the worst teams in the country would be an absolute worst case scenario for the Buffs. The USC Trojans play their crosstown-rival, the UCLA Bruins, who have gone through plenty of struggles as of late. A loss to their hated rival would really hurt USC, a team that's already not playing their best basketball, heading into Sunday.

Oregon State, currently in our "first four out", have already been hurt this week by teams like Wichita State, Monmouth and St. Mary's losing their conference tournaments. All three of those teams are considered at-large contenders that should have won their conference's automatic bid. Those teams losing have "shrunk the bubble," so to speak, and Oregon State probably needs more than just a win over the Arizona State Sun Devils today.

Today's last four in: St. Mary's, Connecticut, Monmouth, St. Bonaventure

Today's first four out: Syracuse, Oregon State, Michigan, Tulsa

In other March Madness news, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who were expecting to sweat out Selection Sunday, no longer have to worry as they beat the St. Mary's Gaels in last night's West Coast Conference Championship game, clinching an 18th straight NCAA tournament appearance. Gonzaga goes from our last team in on Monday's bracket projection, to a guaranteed lock.