With over 300 NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, there are games on every day. Top 25 rankings help determine marquee matchups and nationally televised matchups. Postseason play is so inclusive that every game counts and every team is chasing success in March. This article will discuss the opportunities for teams to boost or hurt their resumes as March Madness nears.
* – indicates second game in back-to-back series already covered in previous day.
MUST WIN GAMES
These teams already have a fine resume and risk tacking a bad loss on their resume or are a bad loss from falling out of at-large contention.
Teams that Should Win
Houston (vs UCF)
Loyola Chicago (vs Northern Iowa)*
Virginia Tech (@ Wake Forest)
WINNER GETS A BOOST
These matchups have two mid-level contenders facing off for bubble separation. Games with two fringe teams are crucial in determining who gets a higher seed or qualifies for the NCAA tournament.
Penn State @ Purdue
There isn’t much clarity as to what kind of team Penn State is. They beat two tough non-conference opponents in VCU and Virginia Tech but lost to Seton Hall at home. December ended with a three game Nittany Lions skid to start conference season and then they went on a COVID-related pause. Now they travel to West Lafayette to face a Purdue team coming off of back-to-back road wins. Trevion Williams, specifically, has been great for the Boilermakers eclipsing 20 points in three of their last four games. Penn State needs to pick up middling wins to get decent conference standing, but Purdue is more likely to walk away with this one.
Games in this section are expected to go the favorite’s way but realistically could be very competitive. If the underdog pulls off a win it is a huge boost for their resume. Whoever loses doesn’t add a bad loss to their resume.
Iowa @ Northwestern
The Wildcats are still in contention for March Madness even with a 7-6 record and no quality non-conference results. They play different at home taking down then-ranked Michigan State and Ohio State at Welsh-Ryan arena. Northwestern’s lone home loss started as a rout of Illinois before an implosion of epic proportions in the second half. Now they get the home part of their series with Iowa who has only risen in the rankings since their last game. To end 2020, Northwestern lost to the Hawkeyes 87-72 but hung with them for the first 30 minutes or so. Iowa should win but it won’t be too bad a blemish if they get stunned.
Featured Image courtesy of Joshua Hoffman / The Daily Northwestern
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