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.
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
BYU (@ Portland)
Belmont (@ Eastern Illinois)
Gonzaga (vs Pacific)
Colorado State (@ Wyoming)
Utah State (@ Fresno State)
Oregon (vs Washington State)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
Stanford (@ California)
The Cardinal are a true bubble team. They are 10-7 with success coming in a seemingly random pattern. They’ve lost games as favorites, won games as underdogs, and now face a Golden Bears team that is dead last in the Pac-12. If Stanford loses, they slip away from bubble contention. Sadly, a win doesn’t really help them at all but games against Colorado, USC, and Oregon this month should be meaningful.
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.
Ohio State @ Iowa
The Big Ten has been the best conference this season. Even with the quality of teams the conference possesses, Iowa was primed as a leader of the pack in the preseason. Not even a full week into February, the Hawkeyes have four losses. That number feels really high for an elite team with the likely Wooden Award winner. They host a Buckeyes team that has won seven of their last eight and has surpassed Iowa in the AP Poll. Both teams are very secure in their tournament prospect but the winner should earn temporary placement on a top seed line in bracket projections.
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.
Minnesota @ Rutgers
The story of the Minnesota Golden Gophers has drastically shifted over the last couple of weeks. They beat three ranked teams in four games to ring in the New Year. Now, they’ve lost three of their last four including two unranked opponents. The Gophers have failed to shoot better than 40% in their four most recent losses. Unfortunately, they go against a Rutgers team that hasn’t allowed more than 75 points in any of their last five games. So what happens when a lagging offense faces a defensive stalwart? If Minnesota can’t find more ways to get non-Marcus Carr scorers involved, the Scarlet Knights could extend their winning streak to four.
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 Dennis Nett / syracuse.com
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