Yesterday was a good day for the bubble teams in action, which means it was a bad day for those who weren't. The A10 saw three bubble teams win, with Saint Lou, VCU, and Saint Bonaventure all forging ahead. Toledo thumped Ball State and Georgia Tech shook off some early doldrums to walk away from Wake.
Drake got the weirdest outcome of the day when their game against UNI was cancelled due to Covid protocols. That's a good outcome for the Bulldogs as winning that game would have added nothing but losing it would have hamstrung their resume. Hopefully that's the last single-elimination game we see dropped due to the rona.
Let's get to today's action!
Rutgers at Minnesota, 12pm, FOX
It's right away today. Rutgers is in a solid position, but this is a game that could punch their ticket. They could probably lose today and in the conference tournament and still be in, but they'd be vulnerable to bid pirates in a big way. Win this one, which is a borderline Q1 game, and I think they're safe.
South Florida at Wichita State, 1pm, ESPN+
The problem with playing in a mid-major conference is that there is a lot of resume poison on the schedule, and this one is absolute hemlock for the Shockers. USF took them to OT earlier in the year; if they drop this one, it would be their first loss below Q3 on the year. It might leave them needing the auto bid.
Indiana at Purdue, 2pm, ESPN
The Hoosiers are still showing up on some brackets. I don't think they have a shot at at-large consideration, but I'm not a scientist. Winning a Q1 roadie against Purdue would obviously be a nice boost to a resume desperately in need of one.
Virginia at Louisville, 4pm, ESPN2
Louisville used to be 11-1, then they ran into a little snag, namely dropping 4 of 6 starting in mid-January. They've righted the ship a bit, but they frittered away all of their wiggle room in the meantime. Winning against Virginia here would give them a desperately needed second Q1 victory. Losing would send them to the conference tournament needing a win to feel secure.
Missouri State v Drake, 4pm, CBSSN
Assuming they get this one in, Drake is in the same position they were heading into UNI. Mo State will likely end the year as a Q2 game. Dropping it wouldn't be a catastrophe in a vacuum, but Drake doesn't have the resume to support missing an opportunity like this.
Duke at North Carolina, 6pm, ESPN
Well now. Duke is reeling and would likely not be in if today were Selection Sunday. North Carolina just spit the bit at home against Marquette; while they're in a better position than Duke, they aren't entirely safe. North Carolina might well be able to absorb this loss, but it would be a rough chance to miss. Duke is dead and buried if they don't have this one. Someone is leaving this game in bad shape.
Saint Louis v St. Bonaventure, 6pm, CBSSN
A classic mid-major cannibalism tournament game. The Bonnies are a 10-seed in the bracket matrix; they could punch their ticket here. Saint Louis is the second team out, and they're done and dusted with a loss. It's possible St. Bonaventure could lose this one and still make the tournament, but that would have them sweating it out all through Selection Sunday. I think someone is eliminated in this game.
Seton Hall at St. John's, 7pm, FS1
The Hall is the first team out on the bracket matrix. They've been solid all year, but three straight losses and a Q3 home L to Providence on the resume have them on the wrong side of the bubble right now. I don't know that a win here puts them in, but a loss has them needing multiple wins in the Big East Tournament to make a case.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi, 7pm, SEC Network
Ole Miss has 2 Q3 losses but an 8-8 record in Q1/2. They'll take on a Vanderbilt squad that just won at a UC team widely considered to be the Thomas More of the Ohio valley. A Q3 win isn't going to pull them much closer to an at-large bid, but a loss would certainly eliminate them.
Davidson at VCU, 9pm, CBSSN
Another must-not-lose game for the Rams. Davidson is right on the line of Q2/3 for VCU, and if they lost this one, I don't think their resume would survive the hit. They just lost at Davidson a couple of weeks ago, and dropping this one could give them 3 Q3 losses depending on where Davidson ends up. Win this one, though, and they've got one foot in the tournament.
Xavier at Marquette, 9pm, FS1
A solid Q2 opportunity for Xavier. This is another game where losing it isn't a bad hit in isolation, but it might be a loss too many on a team sheet that only has 20 total games. A win here would have Xavier at 6-6 in Q1/2 with no bad losses; they might still need a win in the Big East Tournament, but they'll surely need more than that if they lose here.
Utah State at Fresno State, 11pm, FS1
The Aggies are on the outside looking in according to the bracket matrix today. Fresno State is not a good team this year, but these are the kinds of games that occasionally just kidney punch a team's hopes. USU has to take care of business here or they'll need the auto bid.