With just over two weeks until the committee spits out another field of 68 for us all to enjoy, some teams know there is still work to do in order to get there. Here are the games to watch today with tournament implications.
Nebraska @ Ohio State
The Buckeyes are currently sitting right near Xavier's level of tournament contention: most likely in, given that they do not shoot themselves in the foot. Meanwhile, Nebraska represents that opportunity, coming in at 13-14 and no where near the bubble. A loss here would make things very uncomfortable for the seven people who are cheering for OSU this year, now that they aren't a guaranteed 1 seed.
Old Dominion @ Rice
Currently, ODU is on the very bottom edge of the bubble, but still alive nonetheless. They sport a 20-8 record and have wins over VCU and LSU this year. However, Conference USA play has done them no favors, and their best shot remains in the conference tournament. A loss to Rice would make that their only shot.
UTEP @ Louisiana Tech
UTEP's resume is similar to that of Old Dominion. Their big win came over (sigh) Xavier, but they also sport crippling losses in that every loss in CUSA is crippling. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech currently leads the conference, but has no good non-conference wins on which to hang their hat. They need the conference title, UTEP needs to not lose.
Rutgers @ Purdue
The Boilermakers struggled to an 8-5 record in non-conference, with a loss to Gardener-Webb to close it out. However, they have made their mark in conference play by beating Iowa, Indiana (twice), and Ohio State. They need to keep winning to keep their blemishes in 2014 from haunting them, and Rutgers would be a loss that drives the nails into their coffin.
BYU @ Portland
BYU has had an up and down season, and are hurt by their lack of wins over quality opposition. Their best win was over fellow bubble-dwellers Stanford, but they lost to Purdue and SDSU in OT, Utah by 4, and Gonzaga by 7. A win here sets them up with another shot at punching their ticket by closing out their season at Gonzaga on Saturday.
Oregon State @ Stanford
Our final game to watch tonight sees Stanford, a team people are roughly half and half on, hosting Oregon State, a team pretty much everyone agrees has no shot. The Cardinal(singular) have wins over Texas, UCONN, and Arizona State, but have to avoid bad losses down the stretch. Oregon State shouldn't be much of a problem, but Oregon is next before trips to Arizona State and Arizona close out the season. 2-2 down this stretch will not cut it for Stanford,