College Basketball Bubble Watch

Updated: March 12, 2017, 8:31 AM ET
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com


Bubble Watch: Who can use Champ Week to secure a bid?

Editor's note: This file will be updated continually during Champ Week. Also, the "work left to do" category encompasses all teams who are truly on the bubble, regardless of whether they are still alive in their respective conference tournament.

No sane human being would argue Champ Week is better than the week it precedes.

Of course it isn't. The NCAA tournament is the NCAA tournament, and the first week of the NCAA tournament is the NCAA tournament on horse steroids. It is the grandaddy of sports weeks. Of all weeks, period. The best possible comparison is a really well-planned honeymoon in an exotic, fascinating locale, but the difference is you get to do the first week of the NCAA tournament every single year.

It is not to be messed with, challenged, or disrespected by comparison. It is to be treated with reverence and awe. Every now and then, you might hear a friend or a colleague casually say, "You know what, I think I might like Champ Week better than the first weekend of the tournament," and dude, just, no. Stop.

Having said that ... Champ Week isn't that far off.

Champ Week is March Madness on training wheels. There are games in the middle of the day, allowing you to optimize and risk-assess various viewing strategies in your office/classroom/surgery unit/cockpit. There are single-elimination stakes, entire seasons and careers on the line, allowing you to gird yourself for the vaguely bittersweet feels to come. Does Champ Week engender the same unrestrained childlike glee as riding a bike without training wheels for the first time? No. But it's still pretty cool to be a kid with a bike.

Nowhere is the charm and drama of Champ Week felt more acutely than in Bubbleville. For a month, we've been obsessively tracking the state of the 2017 NCAA tournament bracket, and thus the state of the sport in general, while spending an amount of time we try not to think about tracking the desperate teams on the razor's edge of the field.

Champ Week is when this quirky, wordy little feature reaches its crescendo. So, as is tradition, the Bubble Watch page has transformed into a living document. From now until the field is revealed on Selection Sunday, around the clock, every meaningful college hoops result will be followed by a live update in this space. (And probably also a dumb metaphor, a bad joke, or a typo. Or all three.)

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

To send along your own bubble thoughts, or just thoughts about life in general, tweet @eamonnbrennan. Try to be cool. But not, like, too cool. Just be yourself, you know?