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The Daily Dish: Michigan and North Carolina are among the teams with something to prove entering March

March is the most chaotic month on the college basketball calendar. All eyes are on the conference tournaments and, of course, the NCAA tournament. But before teams can even consider postseason play, they must end the regular season. And there are some famous programs that need to end the season with big wins if they want to get into the Big Dance.

One of the most exciting things to look out for during a tournament is the “bubble” – the borderline space for teams that aren’t quite worthy of the tournament, but don’t deserve to be completely eliminated from the field. Typically, bubble programs teeter on the edge where one loss can shatter their postseason hopes and one win can take them straight to Field 68.

This makes the last two games of the regular season exciting and worth watching, despite the focus on the NCAA Tournament. And boy are there any big teams on the bubble this year.

North Carolina stands out from the crowd. In fact, CBS sports bracketist Jerry Palm listed the Tar Heels as the “First Four Out” team in his latest update.

UNC had a very disappointing second year season for Hubert Davis. Having just appeared in the 2022 National Championship game, the Tar Heels currently hold an 18-11 record with a 10-8 mark in conference play. It’s by no means terrible, but it doesn’t befit a team with their level of depth and experience.

Not to mention, North Carolina – three games before the ACC tournament – had just picked up their first Quad 1 win. Prior to that, the Tar Heels were 0-9 in their most important games when it came to tournament quality. It was one of the worst ratings in the entire country. Recording 1-9 is still bad. But fortunately for North Carolina, one of the last two games was against Duke, who is a Quad 1 opponent. A win there, given the spectacle of such a rivalry, would impress the committee.

But North Carolina is far from the only recognizable name on the bubble. Over the past two years, Michigan has appeared in both Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen. The Wolverines are now sitting in their first four games with North Carolina.

However, things are moving in the right direction for Wolverine. Juwan Howard’s team is on a three win streak, including victories over Michigan and Wisconsin. It took them right out of the conversation. Now they close out the year against a pair of Quad 1 opponents in Illinois and Indiana. If they win both of those games, then Michigan can count on their tournament chances. A great opportunity, if there ever was one.

In addition, there are the states of Arizona, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia – too many famous teams to describe them in detail in one article. Everyone still has something to prove with the ability to do so.

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The bottom line is: don’t look too far ahead. The NCAA tournaments and conferences are exciting, but the end of the regular season will be just as exciting. This means everything for bubble teams.

The Daily Dish is a daily column on college basketball that is rotated by 247Sports journalists covering the day’s biggest events in the sport and will run through the NCAA Tournament in April.

The Daily Dish is a daily column on college basketball that is rotated by 247Sports journalists covering the day’s biggest events in the sport and will run through the NCAA Tournament in April.



Source: 247sports.com

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