It's the final weekend for NCAA men's hoops before March Madness begins
The GIST: It’s last call for men’s hoopers. This weekend’s conference tournaments, which all wrap up by Sunday afternoon, are the final opportunity for teams to make their case to the NCAA committee before Selection Sunday (BTW, we’ll be making a weekend visit to your inbox with all the selection show deets).
- For squads on the bubble, any given matchup could mean the difference between dancing or watching the Madness from the couch.
Bubbles, burst: A few teams’ late-season implosions peaked last night, seriously jeopardizing their playoff chances. In the ACC, Pitt went from conference leader to question mark in mere weeks, and last night’s 96–69 spanking by No. 21 Duke didn’t help. Preseason–No. 1 but now-unranked UNC is in a similar situation after losing 68–59 to No. 14 Virginia.
- Iowa and Illinois also hurt their Madness cases with losses to Ohio State and Penn State, respectively, but another Big Ten contender is officially out: Michigan’s 62–50 loss to Rutgers blew their natty chances. Blue and
The dream lives: Speaking of Rutgers, their win may help them mount a last-minute case for Madness — especially because they’ll now have a shot at another upset over No. 5 Purdue at 12 p.m. ET today. And in the Big 12, Iowa State proved they’re not a bubble team — the Cyclones’ 78–72 win over No. 10 Baylor last night silenced their doubters.
- Elsewhere, the Pac-12’s two bubble teams went head-to-head last night, and Arizona State emerged victorious, boosting their odds while likely sinking opponent USC in the process. Two birds, one stone.
All survive, no advance: Merrimack may have won the Northeast’s tourney on Tuesday, but due to a controversial NCAA rule rendering teams ineligible for March Madness for four years after jumping from Division II to Division I, they won’t be dancing. Big-time BS.