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
Winthrop (vs UNC Asheville)*
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.
Saint Louis @ Richmond
After over a month of COVID-related postponements, Saint Louis returned to action with in their first conference game of the season. They lost at home to an okay Dayton team while showing some rust. The Billikens were well below their season average from beyond the arc going 3-13 from deep. They also allowed 70+ points for only the third time this season. Richmond has been up-and-down since they beat a Kentucky team that hadn’t yet been exposed. Home losses to Saint Bonaventure and La Salle after greatly jeopardized Richmond’s at-large chances. Whoever comes away with the win in this game will pad their armor for resume battles to come.
Boise State @ Colorado State*
The Mountain West conference has a chance to send four teams to March Madness. Boise State, Utah State, Colorado State, and San Diego State have finally cracked a system where beating up on each other has boosted their collective value. The Broncos have the current conference lead but all four teams have 12+ wins and NET rankings inside the Top 60. When Boise State and Colorado State first met on Wednesday, the Rams dominated keeping the lead for the final 35 minutes of action. David Roddy exceeded his already high season averages by scoring 27 with 15 boards. Don’t count Boise State out just off of the 22-point loss earlier this week. They shot only 38% from the floor and 21% from deep; well below their season averages. At least one of the Mountain West elite seems destined to miss. From this point forwards, every matchup like this is crucial.
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 @ Illinois
Two teams at the top of the strong and deep Big Ten conference square off in one of the games of the week. Both teams were ranked in the Top 10 of the preseason AP Poll and remain in the Top 25 but at lower positions. Hawkeyes big man Luka Garza and Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu are the leading scorers in the conference with Illinois big Kofi Cockbun enters this game the leading rebounder. Illinois is technically favored by Vegas but the margin is slim. Illinois has lost two of their last three games and Iowa is coming off their first home loss of the season to Indiana. Both teams are projected to make deep postseason runs but if Illinois can beat one of the preeminent favorites, they can find themselves rising in the polls again.
Featured Image courtesy of Austin Yattoni / The Daily Illini
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