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
Clemson (@ Wake Forest)
Virginia (vs NC State)
North Carolina (vs Marquette)
Seton Hall (@ Butler)
Florida State (@ Miami)
Creighton (vs DePaul)
Tennessee (@ Vanderbilt)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
St. Bonaventure (@ Davidson)*
Xavier (@ Providence)
The first game between Xavier and Providence was a classic. The Musketeers trailed at home by seven points with 1:13 left in the game. They clawed their way back to a 74-73 win in regulation on a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Colby Jones. Since then, Xavier has only played four games in the last six weeks due to a COVID-related break. Losses to UConn and St. John’s have put them back on the bubble and a win at Providence would keep them on the bubble. The Friars still have an outside at-large chance of their own, but they need to win out and have a successful conference tournament campaign. Both teams should sense the urgency and neither team is a clear favorite to win this matchup.
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.
Alabama @ Arkansas
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.
Indiana @ Rutgers
Both teams are coming off of losses that they’d like to have back. Rutgers just dropped a home game to a visiting Maryland and Indiana lost at home to Michigan State. For the Scarlet Knights, their at-large candidacy should be secure if they can win two of their last three. Indiana is on the bubble but can greatly boost their status with wins against Rutgers today and/or Michigan on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights and Hoosiers have fairly similar stats but Rutgers has the edge in one key category: they boast the best turnover margin in the Big Ten. Neither team risks much by losing but Indiana needs the win more.
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 goxavier.com
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