Only the selection committee knows for sure which 68 teams will qualify for March Madness, against who they will be paired and where they will play.
The rest of us -until the committee's conclusions are revealed during the 6 p.m. selection show -are reduced to speculation.
Still, we can make some pretty educated guesses for many of the selections -even those that aren't automatic for winning their league title -still are, well, automatic.
By all accounts, West Virginia University is in, even though the Mountaineers finished with a 19-13 overall record, were .500 during the regular season in Big East play and lost their opener in the conference tournament.
Still, virtually every expert who has way more time than most of us to follow such matters say the Mountaineers will receive an NCAA bid based on the strength of the schedule and the team's performance against teams ranked in the top 100.
Let's assume they're right and try to determine where WVU fits into the tournament.
The best guess is coach Bob Huggins' team will wind up either a 10 or 11 seed and thus be paired against a No. 7 or No. 6 seed in the opening round. That won't be fellow Big East member Cincinnati - a likely 6 seed - since teams from the same conference can't meet during the opening round. Thus, the most likely foes are - among others -San Diego State, Vanderbilt, Creighton, Temple, Wisconsin, St. Mary's, New Mexico, Gonzaga and Florida.
In other words, there's a potential dozen teams against who WVU could be paired, depending on West Virginia's seeding and where the Mountaineers are sent for the opening round.
It would be great if WVU played in Pittsburgh (not to mention interesting) or in Columbus.
But West Virginia, like every team, is at the mercy of the committee not just for its basketball life, but for where it will spend the opening round.
As for Ohio State, today's game against Michigan State not only will decide the Big 10 champion, but also may determine which team gets a No. 1 seed, with the other getting a No. 2.
Neither will face a quality opponent in the opening round.
A No. 1 will get the likes of Lamar (coached by Bobby Knight's son Pat) or Stony Brook.
Possible foes for the No. 2 seeds include Lehigh, Loyola of Maryland, Montana and Davidson, all winners of lightly-regarded conferences who are just happy to be included in the NCAA's Big Dance.
One team I didn't expect to be including in this column was Marshall. But the Thundering Herd not only merits mention, but it also deserves some consideration by the tournament committee.
Not only did MU finish 21-13, but it was the runner-up in the Conference USA Tournament.
The Herd played a strong schedule, including a top 10 non-conference slate.
Marshall is either going to be one of the last teams in or one of the first teams out. While the latter seems more likely, there is hope in Huntington.
And then there is Ohio. Like Marshall, the Bobcats only way of being assured a berth was to win their conference tournament, and that's what they did. Ohio's win over Akron late Saturday night sends the Cats to the Big Dance with a 27-7 record. I remember not long ago when Ohio knocked Georgetown out of the tournament. Perhaps there's another first-round upset on the horizon.
Kentucky and Syracuse look like the class of the field. The Wildcats have an incredible amount of talent, most of which will be playing in the NBA next year. That's the state of college basketball for the elite athletes. They spend one year in between high school and the NBA and usually do so at one of the destination programs.
The names at the top of the brackets won't come as any surprise. But you can bet there will be lots of surprises over the next three weeks.
Once the committee answers all our questions, we'll start grabbing brackets and filling them out for the many contests available online and at workplaces. Then, about the middle of the first round, we'll start complaining when a Belmont knocks off one of the powerhouse teams from a major conference, which is why they call this March Madness.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org