From bubble struggles to NCAA seed improvement, why these final weekend games matter

This is it.

While conference tournaments will continue to influence the NCAA tournament landscape, it’s no secret that for most schools, this is the last weekend of the 2022-2023 men’s college basketball season to impress the selection committee and be called up on Selection Sunday.

For teams on the bubble, a serious loss or failure to record a quality win can send them to the NIT. For teams that have already placed a bet, the weekend is a chance to win and avoid a risky first-round matchup against a talented or underrated mid-major. And for teams looking for top seeds, it’s all about boosting their resumes so they play as close to home as possible.

Just ask Bill Self.

No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (25–5, 13–4 Big 12) and No. 9 Texas Longhorns (22–8, 11–6 Big 12)

Saturday 4:00 pm ET Sportzshala

Kansas ended the 17th Big 12 regular season championship during Self’s tenure with a 67–63 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday night. But a victory over the Longhorns would help the Jayhawks take first place overall. This comes with a likely and favorable path through Des Moines, Iowa in the first and second rounds, and Kansas City in the Sweet 16 (if they advance). Meanwhile, Texas could improve their chances of winning with two seeds. Here’s something interesting for you: In NCAA Tournament history, the 2nd seed is 138-10 in the first round.

Estimation forecast: Kansas 77, Texas 74

Other Regular Season Matches to Watch

No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (25-5, 14-5 Pac-12) to No. 4 UCLA Bruins (26-4, 17-2 Pac-12)

Saturday 10 p.m. ET Sportzshala

Jaime Jaques Jr. and the Bruins have sealed the Pac-12 championship, but a victory over the top 10 Wildcats in the Pauley Pavilion will boost their chances of getting the first seed on Qualifying Sunday.

Estimation forecast: UCLA 79, Arizona 75

No. 1 Houston Cougars (28-2, 16-1 AAC) to Memphis Tigers (23-7, 13-4 AAC)

Sunday 12:00 pm ET CBS

Houston, which has only lost once since Dec. 10, 2022, is chasing the top seed overall. This will be the first time he faces the Memphis team with Kendrick Davis, who missed the first meeting due to injury.

Estimation forecast: Houston 75, Memphis 70

No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers (21–9, 14–5 ACC) and No. 16 Miami Hurricanes (23–6, 14–5 ACC)

Saturday 6:00 PM ET ACC Network

Jeff Capel has overcome many obstacles during his time at Pitt, but he could make one of the best turns in America – Pitt was 11-21, 6-14 in the ACC last season – and secure a share of the school’s first ACC title. history (Pitt was in the Big East when he won that league title in 2011).

Estimation forecast: Miami 84, Pitt 78

No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (26-4, 16-1 SEC) to No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies (22-8, 14-3 SEC)

Saturday 12:00 pm ET CBS

Alabama can’t seem to avoid controversy, but Crimson Tide clinched the SEC title after beating Auburn on Wednesday. The Aggies can break into a safer seed for their NCAA first round matchup if they find a way to beat the champions.

Estimation forecast: Alabama 79, Texas A&M 77

Illinois Fighting Illini (20-10, 11-8 Big Ten) on No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers (25-5, 14-5 Big Ten)

Sunday 12:30 pm ET Fox

Brad Underwood’s program is in better shape than most bubble teams, thanks to victories over UCLA and Texas. A win over the Big Ten champion and a potential top seed will put all fears to rest.

Estimation forecast: Purdue 78, Illinois 72

No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats (23-7, 11-6 Big 12) in West Virginia Mountaineers (17-13, 6-11 Big 12)

Saturday 2:00 pm ET Sportzshala+

A record of 6-11 in league play would disqualify most teams in bubble talk. But West Virginia could keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive if it eliminates Jerome Tang’s team.

Estimation forecast: West Virginia 76, Kansas 73

No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers (22–8, 11–6 sec) to Auburn Tigers (19–11, 9–8 sec)

Saturday 2:00 pm ET Sportzshala

The drama continues for the Vols, who just lost point guard Zakai Zeigler to an ACL tear ahead of this matchup against a team looking to emerge from the bubble with another signature win.

Estimation forecast: Auburn 69, Tennessee 67

No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats (20-10, 11-6 SEC) to Arkansas Razorbacks (19-11, 8-9 SEC)

Saturday 2pm ET CBS

Kentucky’s place in the NCAA standings will be determined by its finish. A win over Arkansas – days after losing to Vanderbilt – could help avoid a dangerous 7-10 situation in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Estimation forecast: Kentucky 76, Arkansas 72


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker