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 Dayton)
Virginia (vs Miami)
Saint Louis (vs UMass)
Richmond (vs St. Joseph’s)
Rutgers (@ Nebraska)
Colorado State (vs Air Force)
Teams that Need a Win but Could Lose
Oregon (vs Arizona)
Though Arizona isn’t eligible for postseason play, they’ve played some decent basketball. Back-to-back wins over Washington State and Washington aren’t too impressive, but they were preceded by a road win over USC. Earlier in February, the Wildcats and Ducks faced off in Tucson where Oregon won 63-61. Since that game, Oregon has won four of their last five including two other NCAA Tournament hopefuls; Colorado and Stanford. The Ducks are only one game back of a share of the conference lead so a home win is vital.
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.
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
Another entry in the Bedlam Series is on the way. On Saturday, these teams met in an absolute spectacle of a game. The Cowboys pulled out the 94-90 win in overtime on the back of a 40-point performance from Cade Cunningham. Now the rivalry comes to Stillwater with Oklahoma State as hot as ever on a four-game winning streak. The Sooners meanwhile are reeling not just from their last game but a loss to Kansas State in their previous one. Both teams are vying for seeds in the three to seven range so expect another classic showing.
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.
North Carolina @ Syracuse
This is not the first time either of these teams have found their way to this section. Continuously in bubble limbo, North Carolina has clawed their way into most projected brackets. A win over 11th ranked Florida State helped to nearly solidify their at-large candidacy. Syracuse, meanwhile, has lost their last two to fellow bubblers Duke and Georgia Tech. With only two games left before the conference tournament, both the Tar Heels and Orange need to win at least one more regular season game. Though the ACC tournament can shake things up, this matchup is key. North Carolina is the hotter and stronger team and is a slight favorite to grind out a road win.
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.
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