Bracket Banter is our daily open thread to discuss all things bracket. Readers can post comments and questions during the night's games, and we will answer those questions as the night goes on.
The Pac-10 takes center stage tonight with a pair of key games: Arizona at Washington and Arizona State at Washington State.
Washington is still the most talented team in the Pac-10, but their underwhelming OOC resume and road loss to Stanford last weekend dropped them to a 7 seed in our latest bracket. The Huskies face an Arizona team tonight that is newly ranked but is still extremely unproven. The Wildcats have zero Top 50 wins on their resume, and their most notable victory to date is a home win over Cal.
If the Pac-10 is going to be a three-bid league on Monday, Washington State might have to win both its games this weekend. The good news for the Cougars is that they are back in Pullman, where they have lost just once this season (to Kansas State back on Dec. 3).
The other key game of the night is Virginia Tech at Maryland. The Hokies are barely hanging onto a bid in our latest bracket, and they'll need this win to stay in the field next week. Maryland, meanwhile, has played very well in its last two big games (Duke and Villanova), but has nothing to show for it. Winning this game might be imperative for the Terps' at-large chances down the road, especially considering they've already lost one game at home to a fellow ACC bubble team (BC). If Maryland does win, their upcoming schedule is easy enough (Clemson, at Virginia, at GT) that they could crack the bracket in the near future.
Also keep an eye on: California at UCLA, Florida at Auburn, Indiana at Wisconsin, Gonzaga at Santa Clara