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College Basketball

NCAA Resume Change Opportunities 2/23

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 taking a bad loss on their resume or are a bad loss from falling out of at-large contention.

Teams that Should Win 
Richmond (vs UMass)
West Virginia (@ TCU)
Baylor (vs Iowa State)
Villanova (vs St. John’s)
Oklahoma (@ Kansas State)

Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose 
LSU (@ Georgia)
Louisville (vs Notre Dame)
Florida (@ Auburn)
Mizzou (vs Ole Miss)
UConn (@ Georgetown)

Uconn Basketball Tyler Polley (uconnhuskies.com)

The Huskies get the highlight in this section because they are the only team in this group that needs to work their way into projected brackets. UConn played a good game against Villanova but couldn’t pull the upset. Only one opponent on their remaining regular season schedule (Seton Hall) provides any positive value to their resume. As one of only four teams in the Big East with a winning road record, taking down a 7-10 Hoyas team is feasible. If the Huskies lose this game, they’ll need a deep conference tournament run to salvage March Madness aspirations.

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.

Kansas @ Texas

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.

Saint Louis @ VCU 
With only two games left for each Atlantic 10, this game is crucial. Both the Billikens and Rams lost their last game and have a “should win” game to end the season. Today’s matchup likely serves as a de facto elimination game, from an at-large perspective. Few metrics greatly differentiate one game from the other but Saint Louis has only one road win this season. It’ll take a concerted effort from the Billikens to earn their stay on the bubble.

UPSET ALERT

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.

Michigan State Basketball Gabe Brown (msuspartans.com)

Illinois @ Michigan State
Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech

The two underdogs sit in similar positions entering today. Both are towards the end of the bubble with ranked opponents who can give them a boost. The Spartans still have four ranked opponents which provides hope. However, they play six games in two weeks leading into the conference tournament. Illinois looks like a fairly impenetrable squad but Michigan State needs to strike now before fatigue sets in.
For Georgia Tech, their opponent had a weak start to February and hasn’t played since 2/6. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets have played good basketball in their last five outings. The Hokies are the stronger team on paper but may have some rust to shake off leaving room for an upset.

Featured Image courtesy of vcuathletics.com

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