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
Oklahoma State (vs Iowa State)
Maryland (vs Nebraska)
Saint Louis (vs La Salle)
Illinois (vs Northwestern)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
UConn (vs Providence)
Mizzou (@ Georgia)
Purdue (vs Michigan State)
The three underdogs in these matchups all have very outside chances of making the tournament but are still in survival mode. Mizzou and Purdue have safe enough spots that their respective matchups are just winnable but with little consequence. UConn is the team that has to worry.
Connecticut lost their last matchup against the Friars 70-59. Less than a week later, they now possess home court advantage and momentum after a road win at Xavier. A win here serves two purposes: it seals UConn as an at-large contender regardless of their rest of regular season and it likely ices Providence out of at-large contention.
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.
Arkansas @ Florida
Both teams are in the bracket as it stands, but recency bias hasn’t done Florida any favors. A home loss to South Carolina followed by two postponements may have covered up their 2-0 record against ranked teams in January. Now the Gators face a newly ranked Arkansas team that has won its last six SEC matchups. The only reason Florida “needs” this win more is to stabilize their position in a field that changes with each passing week. The Razorbacks average the most points per game among SEC teams with one of the fastest tempos in college basketball. If Arkansas grabs the expected win, Florida needs to win three of their remaining four going into conference season to avoid a fall to the bubble.
Xavier @ St. John’s
The Red Storm have toiled these last few weeks to work back to the March Madness picture. Per yesterday’s bracket update, St. John’s is an anticipated near miss for qualification. When these teams first met, a 12-0 run by Xavier broke up a tie game and vaulted them to victory. The Musketeers won the battle of the boards 57-40 and won the game 69-61 despite missing all 12 three-point attempts. The Red Storm will better output than 4-14 from leading scorer Julian Champagnie who had his 3rd worst shooting performance in Game 1. St. John’s is the home court favorite but Xavier is 7-3 against teams with a winning record. Even though it feels like a breaking point, St. John’s has other games to bolster their resume after this one if necessary.
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 redstormsports.com
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