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 tacking a bad loss on their resume or are a bad loss from falling out of at-large contention.
Teams that Should Win
Colorado (vs Oregon State)
North Carolina (vs Miami)
Minnesota (vs Nebraska)
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.
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.
Oklahoma State @ Kansas
The Cowboys won the first matchup between these two teams in a 75-70 nail-biter. At the time, Kansas had only lost twice and was ranked sixth in the country. Oklahoma State also lost Cade Cunningham for almost three weeks after that game, but since his return have gone 2-1 including an overtime win over Texas. Based on the most recent results, these two teams may swap spots in the AP Poll with Oklahoma State taking a low ranking spot and Kansas sliding into best of the rest. If this game is close down the stretch, free throw shooting could loom large. Oklahoma State has 67% from the charity stripe during conference play, good for dead last. Kansas may still have a slight edge playing in Allen Fieldhouse in the game of the day.
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.
Ohio State @ Maryland
Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins squad has bobbed up and down this whole season. In the last week, Maryland had a narrow victory over ranked Purdue and lost in a low-scoring game against 6-8 Penn State. Fortunately, they have the easiest remaining schedule among Big Ten schools. By far their toughest opponent is a Buckeyes team that has won four straight including road wins over ranked Wisconsin and Iowa. Maryland will be an interesting case study when compared to strong runners-up in mid-major conferences. It’s hard to bet against the Buckeyes who haven’t lost a road game since December but Maryland has pulled similar upsets already. A win would lift Maryland to a high bubble spot.
Gonzaga @ BYU
Very rarely will Gonzaga be written about in these articles. They stand high above all other West Coast Conference competition at 18-0 on the season. This section is more dedicated to BYU and their bubble prospects. The Cougars have four losses but only one to a non-tournament team in Pepperdine. BYU has three Quad 1 wins giving them a nice look on the NET rankings. In an uphill battle game, a lack of defensive turnovers generated will probably hurt BYU. They are also the top rebounding team in the WCC but even when they outrebounded Gonzaga in their first meeting, the Cougs still lost 86-69. If BYU wins, they will be projected as a solid mid-level seed but Gonzaga hasn’t cracked yet.
Featured Image courtesy of kuathletics.com
“From Our Haus to Yours“