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
St. Bonaventure (vs George Washington)
Drake (@ Bradley)
Loyola Chicago (vs Southern Illinois)
Utah State (vs Nevada)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
Purdue (@ Penn State)
Losing records typically disqualify teams from at-large contention. However, with a shortened season, Penn State is still on some projected bubbles with an 8-12 record. Purdue, on the other hand, has played strong basketball and is in most projected brackets. The Boilermakers have only lost by more than three points once in their last ten games. An upset by the Nittany Lions wouldn’t hurt Purdue too much, but they are so close to getting a high seed. Las Vegas sees this game as a coin flip but Purdue is better and should flex that.
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.
Richmond @ Saint Louis
The Atlantic 10 will send at least two teams to March Madness. VCU and St. Bonaventure feel like near looks to grab an at-large spot and there may just be room for one more. Richmond and Saint Louis are both on the bubble and need this win. Barring a deep run in the conference tournament, the loser of this matchup may be bounced for at-large contention. The NET rating doesn’t tell an entire story but the Spiders have the edge over the Billikens with five Q1 and Q2 wins. For each teams final game of the regular season, expect Saint Louis to make a strong home stand. They have an edge in defensive efficiency and rebounding but need to avoid careless turnovers against an opportunistic opponent. Hopefully for viewers both teams leave it all on the court in an a big spot.
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 richmondspiders.com
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