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
Villanova (@ Butler)
Houston (vs South Florida)
Utah State (vs Nevada)*
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
No Games to Report.
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.
Iowa @ Ohio State
With a fairly empty Sunday slate, this game’s playoff implications will be centerstage. Iowa has looked strong this season with Luka Garza leading the team. Their last outing was a 22-point loss to Michigan, though, marking their third loss of the month. The Hawkeyes first loss of February was hosting Ohio State where they fell 89-85. Game one was back-and-forth but the Buckeyes pulled away in the final eight minutes. Ohio State, meanwhile is coming off back-to-back losses vs Michigan and at Michigan State. They’ll have the home court advantage in their game with Iowa but have some shortcomings to get around. The Hawkeyes boast the more prolific offense and more rebounds per game. An Iowa victory would hurt Ohio State’s chances of getting a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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.
Michigan State @ Maryland
This is the first and only meeting between these two teams. Both middling Big Ten squads are scraping at the bubble hoping to earn an at-large seat into March Madness. The Spartans are arguably the hottest team in basketball surviving a must-win road game at Indiana and then knocking off two Top 5 opponents consecutively after. They face a Terrapins team that has won four straight but against much weaker foes. Though the two schools have comparable offenses, the Terps are a stronger defense. Maryland has only allowed 75+ points once in their last twelve games. They’ll be the favorite to take this one down. Should that happen, Michigan State has two games against Michigan to end the season and build their case.
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 hawkeyesports.com
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