Even though Wisconsin basketball is not playing today, this will be one of the most consequential days between now and Selection Sunday to decide the Badgers’ March Madness fate. 13 teams on the NCAA Tournament Bubble are playing today. Fortunately for fans of the Cardinal and White, Badger Notes has a brief, but comprehensive, guide to today’s action.
Will Wisconsin Basketball Make the NCAA Tournament?
Bracketologists are split on Wisconsin’s potential tournament fate. As of publication, 54 of the 97 predictions on Bracket Matrix have the Badgers in the field of 68. Needless to say, UW needs the bubble to break its way. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Wisconsin as the second-to-last team in the tournament as of this morning. CBS’s Jerry Palm’s bracketology has UW as the first team out.
The Badgers did get some help yesterday. New Mexico, the only bubble team in action on Friday, lost its regular season finale at Colorado State.
— Kedrick Stumbris (@KedrickStumbris) March 4, 2023
March Madness Bubble Teams Playing Today
There are ten games featuring bubble teams today. If you want to know what to watch, when the games are, and where to watch them, today’s guide has you covered from the early afternoon to the late evening.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs Kansas State Wildcats – 1:00 PM CST on ESPN+
While West Virginia is in the tournament field for now, Lunardi and Palm both have the Mountaineers as one of the last teams avoiding a trip to the First Four. Kansas State defeated West Virginia in the first matchup between these two teams in Manhattan, KS 82-76.
Auburn Tigers vs Tennessee Volunteers – 1:00 PM on ESPN
Auburn is also narrowly avoiding a trip to Dayton right now. The Tigers had an opportunity to secure a key victory at Alabama earlier this week but blew a 17-point lead before losing in overtime. Auburn will try to get that resume-defining victory again today. The Volunteers squeaked by the Tigers in a 46-43 rock fight one month ago to the date.
Oregon Ducks vs Stanford Cardinal – 3:00 PM on CBS
Oregon is not in the NCAA Tournament picture yet, but Badger fans would prefer it stay that way. Lunardi currently has Oregon as the eighth team out of the field. A Quad 3 loss to Stanford, which would be the Ducks’ third Quad 3 loss, would likely end Oregon’s chances at an at-large berth. Oregon is looking to avenge its earlier 71-64 loss to Stanford.
Nevada Wolf Pack vs UNLV Runnin’ Rebels – 4:00 PM on Mountain West Network
In order for Nevada to make the Tournament for the first time since head coach Eric Musselman departed for Arkansas, it must defeat UNLV this afternoon. The Wolf Pack is trying to complete an undefeated season at home while avoiding a season sweep at the hands of their in-state rival. UNLV won the first matchup between these two teams 68-62.
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Texas Tech Red Raiders – 5:00 PM on ESPN2
Oklahoma State is just on the outside looking in of the field of 68 right now. Palm has the Cowboys as the second team out, while Lunardi has them as the fifth team out of the tournament. Because almost every team in the Big 12 tournament will be a Quad 1 win opportunity, losing tonight would not end Oklahoma State’s at-large chances. However, a win in Lubbock, TX tonight would give the Cowboys their sixth Quad 1 win and the season sweep over Texas Tech (71-68).
North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils – 5:30 PM on ESPN
Wisconsin basketball fans will hate me for writing this, but you need to be Duke fans today. Despite having only one Quad 1 win, North Carolina appears to be knocking on the doorstep of the NCAA Tournament. A win over Duke might be enough to secure UNC’s spot in the Big Dance. In their first matchup with the Tar Heels this season, the Blue Devils pulled away late for a 63-57 victory.
Clemson Tigers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 7:00 PM on ACC Network
Clemson’s bad losses this season will be its demise if it fails to go dancing in March. The Tigers have suffered two Quad 3 and two Quad 4 losses this season. That Quad 4 loss number would grow to three if Clemson loses tonight, ending its chance of an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Three Potential Elimination Games Today
There are three games today pitting a bubble team against another bubble team. In each game, one team can potentially eliminate the other from at-large bid contention.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Vanderbilt Commodores – 7:30 PM on SEC Network
Mississippi State has been flirting with the bubble for much of the season. On the other hand, Vanderbilt is a team on the rise after defeating Kentucky on the road 68-66 earlier this week. Lunardi and Palm both have the Bulldogs as one of the last four teams in the tournament.
Boise State Broncos at Utah State Aggies – 8:00 PM on Mountain West Network
Mountain West conference fans will be on the edge of their seats come selection Sunday. Depending on how the bubble shakes out, this conference could get anywhere from one to four teams in the NCAA Tournament. For now, Boise State is in the field, but Utah State could take the Broncos’ spot with a win tonight. Boise State won the first game between these two teams 82-59 in Boise.
Arizona State Sun Devils at USC Trojans – 10:00 PM on FS1
Finally, Arizona State travels to USC in a game with monstrous NCAA Tournament implications. The Sun Devils currently appear in 53 of the 83 projected tournament fields at Bracket Matrix, while USC is narrowly avoiding a trip to Dayton. The Sun Devils have been trying to get on the right side of the bubble since suffering a Quad 4 loss at Texas Southern back in November. The Trojans, similarly, opened the season with a Quad 4 loss to FGCU. USC won the first matchup between these two teams in Tempe, AZ, 77-69. Wisconsin basketball fans will remember that the Badgers defeated USC in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend.
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