Must-win weekend: Which NCAAB finales carry the most weight?
It’s the 11th hour for plenty of college basketball teams as the schedule heads into its final weekend.
Those programs with a weak NCAA resume are out for one more convincing win while others are jockeying for position before the conference tournament begins. Here’s a look at which weekend matchup carry the most weight:
La Salle Explorers at Saint Louis Billikens – The Explorers are on the tournament bubble and win over No. 15 SLU might do the trick. La Salle is also hoping to hold on to the No. 3 seed in the A-10.
UMass Minutemen at Rhode Island Rams – Massachusetts is another A-10 team on the fence and a win over the lowly Rams won’t do much to change that. The Minutemen are trying to stay among the top 8 in the conference.
VCU Rams at Temple Owls – Temple can boost its NCAA hopes with a victory over No. 19 VCU. The Owls are also in the hunt for the top 4 seed in the A-10 tournament and a first-round bye.
Clemson Tigers at Miami Hurricanes – Miami missed out on a chance at clinching its first outright ACC season crown vs. Georgia Tech Wednesday, losing its second straight game. Can the Canes avoid a late-season collapse versus Clemson?
Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels – This is a big game for both Tobacco Road rivals. Duke is trying to steal a share of the ACC title from Miami while UNC desperately needs a win over a ranked opponent to get off the bubble.
Maryland Terrapins at Virginia Cavaliers – Virginia can feel safe better about its NCAA destiny with a win over Maryland, which may have had its bubble burst in a loss to UNC Wednesday.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Iowa Hawkeyes – Iowa has won five of its last seven and has a foot in the door when it comes to the NCAA conversation. A loss to Nebraska would likely slam the door on that foot.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes – The battle for No. 2 – or even a four-team logjam atop the standings – starts in Columbus Sunday. Ohio State need some help from rivals Michigan.
Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Wolverines – The Hoosiers can win the Big Ten season title – and possibly a No. 1 NCAA seed - Sunday or Michigan can spread the love over four different teams, barring outside upsets.
Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan State Spartans – MSU came up big with a win over Wisconsin and can win a share of the Big Ten title with a victory over Northwestern and some help from the Wolverines.
Syracuse Orange at Georgetown Hoyas - With a win, the Hoyas earn a share of the Big East season crown. This is the final regular season game between these two bitter rivals, with SU moving to the ACC next season.
Marquette Golden Eagles at St. John’s Red Storm – Marquette can at least win a share of the Big East title with a victory over the Johnnies.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Louisville Cardinals – Louisville is also in the hunt for a piece of the Big East pie. The Cardinals will get a share of the conference crown if they win, and could win outright if GT and MU go down.
Providence Friars at UConn Huskies – The Friars have quietly become the hottest team in the Big East, winning seven of their last eight and propping themselves on the NCAA bubble heading into the weekend.
Kansas State Wildcats at Oklahoma State Cowboys – KSU is currently tied with KU for first in the conference and will win at least a share of the conference crown with a win.
Iowa State Cyclones at West Virginia Mountaineers – ISU may have moved off the bubble with a huge win over OSU Wednesday. However, a letdown loss to WVU could erase that momentum.
Kansas Jayhawks at Baylor Bears – Kansas it trying to hang on to a share of the Big 12 title while Baylor has one last chance to impress the selection committee with a marquee win over KU.
Oklahoma Sooners at TCU Horned Frogs – The Sooners are another bubble team with everything to lose if they come out flat versus TCU. OU is holding on to No. 4 in the Big 12 heading into the weekend.
Central Florida Knights at Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles – Southern Miss is on the bubble heading into the final game of the season. Tuesday’s loss to Marshall may have been the nail in the coffin though.
Fresno State Bulldogs at UNLV Runnin’ Rebels – UNLV is trying to hold on to the No. 2 spot in the MWC and win its sixth in a row.
San Diego State Aztecs at Boise State Broncos – San Diego State is clutching to a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye while Boise State is on the NCAA bubble, needing another convincing MWC win.
Nevada Wolf Pack at Colorado State Rams – CSU is knotted with UNLV for the second spot in the conference and needs a win over Nevada to avoid sliding back.
Oregon Ducks at Utah Utes – Oregon crumbled under the pressure with a chance to clinch the Pac-12 title in Colorado and now must win out to at least get a share of the conference crown.
UCLA Bruins at Washington Huskies – Thanks to Oregon’s loss, UCLA is alive in the Pac-12 hunt and needs to win in Washington in order to stake a claim of the conference crown.
Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Wildcats – The Wildcats are trying to stay among the top 4 seeds in the conference while the Sun Devils are gasping for their NCAA lives. A win over No. 18 Arizona would give them a chance.
Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats – This is UK’s last chance to dance. After a loss at UGA Thursday, the defending champs need a win over UF and hope the selection committee takes pity on them.
Mississippi Rebels at LSU Tigers – Ole Miss is on the NCAA bubble while also locked in a four-team battle for No. 2 in the SEC.
Georgia Bulldogs at Alabama Crimson Tide – Bama is very bubbly heading into the season finale with a dangerous UGA team. The Tide are one of those four programs jammed into the No. 2 spot right now.
Missouri Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers – The Vols need another marquee win to secure a spot in the field of 68 while the Tigers are trying to break away from the pack and grab the No. 2 seed in the SEC tournament.