After watching my Bandwagon Team – Xavier – throw away last night’s 11-point lead in a game that would have all but punched their “Dance Card,” I was inspired to see how the bubble is shaping up. So I went to the Bracket Matrix (which has certainly made its way into my favorites as I’ve visited it about 142 times in the last three days) and looked at the final 10-seed, the 11-seeds, the 12-seeds, the First Four Out, and the Next Four Out. Then I went through each team’s schedule to see which games had high-impact potential on the resumes of these teams.
When you check out the picture at the bottom of the post, know that I’ve highlighted some games in three ways – Win and In, Bubble Battle, and Opportunity for Improvement. I was going to do a “Lose and Out” category, but with these teams, basically any game not highlighted in one of the three previous categories is a “Lose and Out” game. Here’s a category-by-category breakdown of the high-impact games.
Win and In
Cincinnati vs Marquette: The Bearcats are actually favored by 1.5. I would think it’s rare that a team is actually favored in a game of “win and in” status.
Northwestern vs Ohio State: Unlike Cincinnati, Northwestern is an underdog – one of 6.5 points. Despite the Buckeyes’ most recent game being a home loss to Wisconsin, they would still represent an impressive enough win for Northwestern to make the field.
Colorado State vs UNLV: UNLV is a team solidly in the Dance (as evidenced by their standing as a 5-seed in the Matrix). They’re a small 2.5 point favorite as they try to improve their seeding position against a Rams team that desperately needs a Top 50 win to impress the Committee.