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
Illinois (@ Nebraska)
Western Kentucky (@ Rice)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
Winthrop (@ Radford)*
UAB (@ Louisiana Tech)
The story with Winthrop hasn’t changed from yesterday: wins help cushion them from a Big South tournament upset. For UAB however, they have the thinnest of margins where an auto-bid is almost certainly their only way into the main bracket. However, they are 16-2 with a win in their only Q2 game. 13 of their 16 wins have been by 10+ points and the Blazers have a six-game winning streak. If they can sweep Louisiana Tech, their remaining regular season schedule is easy enough for a potential 24-2 finish. Should UAB win out, they are a light at-large consideration.
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.
For High Tournament Seeding
Matchups between Top 25 teams won’t typically help resolve the bubble. For viewing interest, these matchups are more marquee while the others are for teams with high hopes and less security.
No Games to Report.
For Low Tournament Seeding and Tournament Qualification
Unlike the “Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose” above, a loss here isn’t quite as damning. These results will most fall into NET rankings Q1 or Q2 wins and losses benefitting the winner in a meaningful way.
St. Bonaventure @ VCU
The first time these teams faced off, the Rams had a 15-point halftime lead over the Bonnies and a shot at the conference lead. After allowing a 20-3 run to open up the second half, VCU stumbled big time losing 70-54. Now in the rematch, the conference lead is once again up for grabs. VCU’s leading scorer, Nah’shon Hyland, had his lowest-scoring performance of 2021 with only 16 in the first tilt. If he is on, and the Rams lean on their ability to rebound, they have a chance. For St. Bonaventure, this is their last quality opponent of the regular season and last opportunity to add to their 4-2 record against Q1 and Q2 opponents. The loser of this game faces an uphill battle for tournament admission.
Georgia Tech @ Clemson
Just a month ago, the Tigers were ranked and moving up fast. A cold stretch sent them from 9-1 to 9-4 in mid-January before they halted their skid with a win against Louisville. Now Clemson’s toughest remaining opponent may be a Georgia Tech team that beat them 83-65 during that January losing streak. The Yellow Jackets shot lights out that day going 16-27 from deep and shooting 57% from the field. Georgia Tech’s hopes of an at-large seat aren’t over yet since they still have Virginia Tech and Syracuse on the schedule. The Jackets are just good enough to keep Clemson from a quality loss and just bad enough that they need to put in work to make the Big Dance.
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 to Report.
Featured Image courtesy of uabsports.com
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