It may end up that Wade left Miami, only for his new team to miss the playoffs while his old team unexpectedly charged in and grabbed the final spot. That said, despite Wade and Butler jointly ripping their teammates back in January, Wade is hardly blameless here. This right here isn’t playoff-worthy defense.
The Bulls are fine right where they are: rebuilding outside of the playoffs.
Chicago has some fun young players, like Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felicio, and Paul Zipser. They dealt for Cameron Payne at the deadline in exchange for Taj Gibson, who didn’t factor into the long-term plans. It might actually be time to trade Butler and start fresh next season, adding another lottery pick to the equation in this summer’s draft, plus whatever haul comes with a Butler trade.
Still, it’s hard to be too optimistic given the Bulls’ current management, which fans are literally revolting against with organized protests. If nothing else, that nine-point first quarter was incredibly representative of where the franchise is right now.
On Saturday, just about everything broke right for the few teams in contention for the final four places in the field. Most of the bid poachers were cleared from their respective conference tournaments on Saturday afternoon. Then as the evening rolled on, two of the more likely mid-major at-large contenders — the Mountain West’s Nevada Wolf Pack and Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders — won their conference tournament titles. So that eliminated two more possibilities from the at-large pool.
After the completion of that game this afternoon, I’ll post one final look at the cut line. At the moment, it seems like five teams — the USC Trojans, Syracuse Orange, and Providence Friars (currently in this projection) and the Kansas State Wildcats and Illinois State Redbirds (out at the moment) — are in contention for the final three spots. I don’t envy the Selection Committee in making this decision in real life.
Meanwhile, keep up with everything in real time. Check out our full NCAA bracket, updating live throughout March Madness. You can find a printable bracket here.