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
Drake (vs Illinois State)*
Loyola Chicago (@ Missouri State)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
Duke (@ Miami)
The Blue Devils are back in a position to make moves. Still lacking some marquee quality wins, victories over Georgia Tech and Clemson in back-to-back games help. Duke is inching back towards the bottom of the bubble discussion and absolutely needs to beat the worse teams. Miami went 2-7 in January and is the exact opponent Duke needs to face right now. The Blue Devils need to go at least 3-2 in there next five games (Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Wake Forest) to earn a chance. The back end of their schedule is much tougher and will determine their postseason fate.
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.
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech
Both teams are very secure for at-large qualification but Oklahoma specifically is on a tear. They are on a five-game winning streak that includes wins over fifth-ranked Texas and ninth-ranked Alabama in the last week. The Sooners might jump up over a dozen spots in the next AP poll. Starting guard Austin Reaves didn’t even suit up for Oklahoma in their most recent game and they still beat an elite opponent. The Red Raiders have just as much to gain in this matchup as seeding for an eventual Big 12 tournament is tight. With no Reaves and on the road, Texas Tech is the favorite to win this matchup. Either team has a shot playing in the biggest game of the day.
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.
Georgia Tech @ Louisville
The Yellow Jackets would have better hopes if this year’s ACC was as good as past seasons. The conference is neither top-heavy nor deep but Louisville has been a bright spot. The Cardinals would arguably be the biggest win for Georgia Tech this season. An upset feels somewhat unlikely when comparing Louisville’s 7-1 home record to Georgia Tech’s 1-3 road record. The key to beating Louisville is penetrating their stout defense. Jose Alvarado and Moses Wright just combined for 44 points in the Yellow Jackets’ upset of Florida State. That kind of scoring formula seems to be their only path to another underdog victory.
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