Just got done dealing with a little internet problem here at the household, so I’m a little strapped for time, but we’ll bust this out quick. It’s the second-to-last weekend of the 2016 college basketball regular season, and there are lots of games with postseason implications, highlighted by a Top-10 battle in Charlottesville between Virginia and North Carolina, a game that will have a huge impact on the top of the ACC standings. The following is a little preview of what’s to come this Saturday and Sunday!
Texas Tech @ #2 Kansas
Sat 2/27, 12:00 noon ESPN
The Red Raiders have worked their way back onto the Bubble as the result of a current five-game winning streak which includes wins over Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma. This will be a difficult one, as Kansas just simply doesn’t lose at home. This would be a monumental win for Texas Tech, one that could solidify their spot in the Field of 68.
Butler @ Georgetown
Sat 2/27, 12:00 noon CBS
Another team on the Bubble is Butler, but unlike Texas Tech, Butler looked safely in the Tournament a couple months ago, and have fallen down onto the Bubble. This is the type of game that you can’t lose as a Bubble team as we near the postseason. Georgetown has really struggled this year, but they’re definitely good enough to knock off the Bulldogs in D.C.
VCU @ George Washington
Sat 2/27, 12:30 pm NBC Sports Network
The Atlantic 10 could see as many as five teams make the Tournament this year, and these are two of those teams. They are both considered to be on the Bubble, but they are also both capable of winning the A-10 Title. VCU has been on top of the conference for much of the season, but they are coming off of a rough loss to George Mason. They’ll try to bounce back, but the Colonials won’t make it easy, as they look to improve their tourney resume.
#3 Oklahoma @ #25 Texas
Sat 2/27, 2:00 pm CBS
With so many good teams in the Big 12, it seems like there’s at least one huge match-up every weekend. Tomorrow we’ll see a Texas team that has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation take on an Oklahoma team that is primed for a run at the Big 12 Title and a 1-seed in the Tournament. Texas had a chance for a big home win last weekend against Baylor, but they came up short. This is another opportunity to knock off a top-ranked team in Austin.
#11 Louisville @ #12 Miami FL
Sat 2/27, 2:00 pm ESPN3
Louisville may not be eligible for the 2016 postseason, but they are still an extremely good team, and a win over them would definitely help Miami in their quest for a 1-seed in the Big Dance. The Hurricanes just got a huge home win on Monday over Virginia, and the Selection Committee would be very impressed if they can back that up with a victory over Louisville.
#9 Arizona @ #22 Utah
Sat 2/27, 2:00 pm ESPN
Utah is a team that has flown a little under the radar this year, but they have wins over Texas Tech, BYU, Duke, USC and California this season, enhancing a very good resume. As they quickly rise up the ranks, a win over a Top-10 Arizona team could propel them to heights nobody could have expected. The Wildcats are coming off of a loss to Colorado, so they will look to come out guns blazing and get a big time road win for their own tourney resume.
#16 Kentucky @ Vanderbilt
Sat 2/27, 4:00 pm CBS
Vanderbilt has a top NBA prospect in G Wade Baldwin IV, but they have struggled at points this season. They are heating up here down the stretch though, and that will definitely help their tourney hopes. Another thing that would help their chances would be to get a huge win tomorrow over the SEC-leading Wildcats. Kentucky is now the complete team that they weren’t at the beginning of the season, and they will make the Commodores earn a victory in this one.
#23 Notre Dame @ Florida State
Sat 2/27, 4:00 pm ESPN2
Florida State is hanging onto the Bubble by one finger, and luckily for them, they get a chance this weekend to knock off a ranked team in Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are pretty safe at this point, but a road win over Florida State would definitely make them feel a little better about where they stand. This will be a desperate Seminole team, so an ND win will be impressive.
#10 Maryland @ #20 Purdue
Sat 2/27, 4:00 pm ESPN
These two Big Ten teams are going to be highly ranked in the Tournament, but they have both struggled a little as of late. Maryland lost to Minnesota and then barely beat Michigan at home, while Purdue is coming off of a tough, close loss on the road against Indiana. Purdue needs this win more, but don’t think for one second that Maryland is going to just give it to them.
#7 North Carolina @ #3 Virginia
Sat 2/27, 6:30 pm ESPN
It’s a tight race at the top of the ACC, and the Tar Heels currently find themselves in 1st place by a game over Miami and Louisville. Virginia is just two games back, and a win here over UNC will make this race much more interesting. The Cavaliers are two games back due to a loss at Miami this past week, so they’ll definitely be motivated to avoid a losing streak this late in the season.
Gonzaga @ BYU
Sat 2/27, 8:00 pm ESPN2
It is weird to say that Gonzaga is on the Bubble, but Gonzaga is on the Bubble. They played some really good teams this year, but where in the past they won some of those games, this year they simply did not, and that is hurting their chances to make the Field of 68. The Zags are 0-3 this year against Saint Mary’s and BYU, and they REALLY need to win this game, or they can kiss their at-large chances goodbye.
Florida @ LSU
Sat 2/27, 8:30 pm ESPN
Florida is looking like a Tournament team, barring an epic collapse. LSU isn’t looking like a Tournament team, and it’s a shame that we might not get to see Ben Simmons play in the Big Dance. If LSU wants any prayer of an at-large bid, it begins with a win here. Florida is a very good team, and they could use a win like this to enhance their resume. One of these teams is going to get a big win.
#5 Xavier @ Seton Hall
Sun 2/28, 12:30 pm FOX Sports 1
Last season, Seton Hall started off red hot and then completely collapsed in Big East play. This season has been the exact opposite, as the Pirates came out of the gates a little slow, but have ratcheted it up in conference play. Meanwhile, the Musketeers are looking like a National Championship contender, and are coming off of a win over #1 Villanova. Xavier will look to avoid a letdown, while Seton Hall looks for a win that could cement their spot in the Tournament.
#15 Duke @ Pittsburgh
Sun 2/28, 2:00 pm CBS
If there is a team this season that is like Seton Hall was last season, it’s Pittsburgh. This team went 11-1 in non-conference play, but they are just 8-7 in the ACC, and their resume lacks a signature win. Luckily for them, the schedule makers decided to be friendly and give them a shot at one here at the end of the season with the Blue Devils coming to town. A win in this one, and the Panthers should get into the Dance.
Michigan @ Wisconsin
Sun 2/28, 6:00 pm Big Ten Network
These teams are taking completely different paths to the NCAA Tournament, but both should be in. Michigan started the season really well, but have struggled at times without their leading scorer Caris LeVert. Wisconsin struggled under Bo Ryan, but when he retired and Greg Gard took over, this team eventually turned a corner, and they have won nine of their last ten games. Like I said, both teams look like they’ll get in, but that doesn’t mean a win in this one wouldn’t help them both feel better about their standing.
USC @ California
Sun 2/28, 8:00 pm FOX Sports 1
If you would have told me a month ago that USC would be struggling to hold onto a spot in the Tournament field, I would have called you crazy. But crazy is the way we can describe this basketball season, and here USC sits, having lost four of their last five, including brutal losses to Arizona State and Stanford. I don’t want to say that the Trojans need this win, but they are in a lot of trouble if they continue to lose.
Washington @ #13 Oregon
Sun 2/28, 8:30 pm ESPNU
Washington had a really nice start to the season, but they have struggled in Pac 12 play. They’re an extremely young team, and that youth has shown over the last month or so. They need to win a couple big games here down the stretch, and a road game against a Top-15 team counts as a big game, especially against Oregon, a team that has yet to lose at home this season.
We are almost there! Just a couple more weeks until the Big Dance! Once Tuesday rolls around, it will officially be time for March Madness, and I hope you are all as excited as I am! Have a good weekend everybody!