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
Richmond (vs George Washington)
Alabama (@ South Carolina)
Arkansas (@ Kentucky)
Texas (@ Kansas State)
Creighton (@ Georgetown)
Colorado State (vs Wyoming)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
VCU (@ Dayton)
Syracuse (@ North Carolina State)
St. John’s (@ Butler)
These three teams won’t be found in most brackets and only St. John’s has made any positive traction in the last week. For VCU and Syracuse, they need to win to hang in the bubble discussion. Losses to Dayton and NC State respectively wouldn’t be very damaging to their resumes. The Rams are in a tricky spot with a game against Davidson scheduled for Wednesday evening. Expect them to lose one of the two. The Orange just downed the Wolfpack on New Year’s Eve 76-73. A run at the start of the second half brought them back from an early deficit. The Red Storm need to win because Butler represents a potential bad loss. Fortunately, they are one of the hottest teams in basketball winning six straight including road wins over UConn and Marquette and an upset of Villanova. St. John’s needs to win at least three of their final six games to keep at-large candidacy.
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.
West Virginia @ Texas Tech
The marquee matchup of the day pits two trendy teams against each other. Texas Tech has two wins over Top 10 teams in the last month. They also lost to West Virginia in late January, blowing a 12-point second half lead. The Red Raiders have struggled with 3-point defense allowing Big 12 opponents to make about 40% of attempts. In their first meeting with the Mountaineers, Texas Tech gave up 12 triples on 19 attempts (63%). West Virginia, meanwhile, just notched a statement win against Kansas 91-79. They rediscovered their long ball accuracy shooting over 50% from deep for the first time since beating Texas Tech. Both teams look poised for strong seeds in March Madness but a season sweep would put West Virginia solidly over Texas Tech.
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.
No Games to Report.
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 texastech.com
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