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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham news and links for Friday, March 11

Who’s ready for some college basketball this weekend?

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Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

good morning and happy friday, hoddlers. Who has fun weekend plans?

Speaking of the weekend, Selection Sunday is just days away. On Sunday a committee will determine which 68 US college basketball teams (plus four) will enter the NCAA Championship Tournament - otherwise known as March Madness.

Now, if the show runs through the teams bracket-by-bracket (instead of that disastrous year when they went alphabetically), there should be plenty of drama.

And why is that? Because over a hundred college basketball teams have been competing over the course of the last several months. Some, like Gonzaga in Washington, run through their schedule with eyes firmly fixed on the trophy. Others, like, Chattanooga, grind through the entire season just for a chance to attend The Dance.

What makes the bracket reveal so compelling isn’t just the tournament itself, but the parity across the divisions across the US. Who wouldn’t love to see a mid-major sneak into the tournament?

Conference tournaments played through the weekend, which means we won’t have a clearer picture at who might be in or out until Sunday afternoon. Until then, let’s use Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology as our guide:

No. 1 seeds: Gonzaga, Baylor, Arizona, Kansas.

No. 2 seeds: Wisconsin, Duke, Kentucky, Auburn

This feels a little harsh on Auburn, or whoever the SEC champion will be, and I don’t think the Big 12 Conference is as strong this year. But who knows. If Baylor lose to Oklahoma on Thursday, that could easily bring Auburn into the picture. Duke’s loss to North Carolina earlier this week effectively knocks them out of the top line.

Bubble Watch

Last four in: Wyoming, Wake Forest, Xavier, Indiana

First four out: SMU, Dayton, BYU, Virginia Tech

Life is never easy on the bubble, is it? Every game counts. And if there is a surprise conference champion, that bubble gets much tighter. Take a look at Georgetown last year. They finished the season at 13-13 with a 7-9 conference record, but a magical tournament run gave them an automatic berth into March Madness.

There are formulae that are complicated and I don’t want to get into them, but I don’t see how a team that recently lost five straight games (looking at you, Xavier) gets in. But that’s where conferences come into play. Losses at Providence and UConn look a lot better than one against Cincinnati.

And where does your hoddler-in-chief’s alma mater fit into all this?

Well, St. John’s are well off the bubble and aren’t really that good. They’ve got a 17-14 record (8-11 in the Big East) and no marquee wins. But maybe, just maybe, a win against Villanova on Thursday night could change that.

A win against Villanova in the Big East Tournament would be a huge win for the Johnnies, but I don’t want to get carried away. What do you think, will the Johnnies do it? Stay tuned to find out.

And for all you bracket buffs out there, keep an eye out for next week’s hoddle when fitzie reveals his tournament picks.

Fitzie’s track of the day: Children of the Grave, by Black Sabbath

And now for your links:

Antonio Conte thinks Matt Doherty is a changed man

Three suspends deal with Chelsea after UK sanctions Roman Abramovich

Abramovich sanctions trigger three-bid fire sale for Chelsea FC ($$$)

USWNT gets equal pay, but not everyone in US soccer is happy

Wayne Rooney says Derby are in ‘horrible position’ as takeover drags on

MLB owners and players complete deal to end 99-day lockout