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.
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 Need a Win but Could Lose
UConn (vs St. John’s)
James Bouknight was trending as a Big East superstar before undergoing elbow surgery earlier this month. UConn has survived road games against lesser teams in Butler and DePaul and get another favorable opponent hosting St. John’s. The Red Storm aren’t explicitly a bad team they just haven’t beaten anyone good. Especially after dropping a coin flip game to Marquette, St. John’s would be a blemish on a strong campaign from the Huskies. Gampel Pavilion would love to see a fifth consecutive win for their home team but it’s no sure thing.
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.
Florida State @ Louisville
Two teams in the ACC have yet to lose at home this season: Virginia and Louisville. The Cardinals key home victory was against Virginia Tech but they did lose in Miami to a beatable Hurricanes team. The Seminoles, however, can disrupt opposing defenses. They lead the ACC in 3-point percentage (44.6%) and point per game (82) in conference games. Three players for Florida State are averaging over 13 points per game in conference play: Scottie Barnes, RayQuan Evans, and M.J. Walker. This game feels as close to 50/50 as it gets with Florida State having much more to game in a battle of ranked teams.
Kansas @ Baylor
The introduction to this article should make clear that the highest-profile matchups aren’t always the most important but on a day with little to offer fans get one of the biggest games of the season. Either Big 12 team would love to tack on another Top 10 victory but this looks like Baylor’s game to lose. They are undefeated with ranked wins over Illinois and Texas Tech. The Bears are also one of two teams to rank Top 20 in D-1 in both offensive and defensive points per game. The Jayhawks, conversely, have had three victories over ranked teams including one point wins against Creighton and Texas Tech. Kansas has crossed 80 points only once in conference play which won’t be enough against Baylor’s 87.3 points per game. Eyes across the country should be affixed to their televisions to see two heavyweights go at it.
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.
No games of note to report
Featured Image courtesy of uconnhuskies.com
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