We now have the top 16 seedings in place for the Betfred.com World Championship, which means the draw is taking shape.
If the top 16 all come through the first round then the last 16 will look like this:
John Higgins v Stuart Bingham
Stephen Maguire v Graeme Dott
Shaun Murphy v Stephen Lee
Judd Trump v Ali Carter
Mark Williams v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Neil Robertson v Martin Gould
Ding Junhui v Mark Allen
Mark Selby v Matthew Stevens
What do you make of that lot, then?
Of course there is no way of knowing who will play who in the first round but some early predictions can be made about how the Crucible marathon will pan out.
The last player to defend the world title was Stephen Hendry in 1996 but Higgins could have had a worse draw.
Trump could meet him in the semi-finals, although former champions Dott and Murphy could be dangermen in the top half.
Williams won’t be best pleased with a likely second round meeting with O’Sullivan bearing in mind it’s ten years and counting since he beat him in a ranking event.
Robertson v Gould would of course be a rematch of their second round tie from two years ago when the Aussie recovered from 11-5 down to win 13-12.
The bottom quarter looks particularly tough. Ding v Allen would be a cracker and Selby could face the Chinese no.1 in the quarter-finals for a second successive year.
It’s early days yet but the qualifying draw is being made today and the final stages begin two months tomorrow.
The greatest snooker show on earth isn’t that far away.