10 NCAA Tournament Bubble Games to Watch

10 NCAA Tournament Bubble Games to Watch

13 top 25 ranked programs are hitting the road to face upset opponents this weekend and many of them could result in upsets – a common theme so far this college basketball season.

In some cases, the host team is also fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives, hoping to get a big win to help boost their youth so they feel more confident heading into March Madness if they fall short. to win the conference tournament.

Michigan State and Indiana host Illinois and Purdue, respectively, giving the Big Ten a pair of big bubble games to keep an eye on this Saturday.

Below is a look at ten games those bubble watchers should turn to this weekend, including at least one game from each Power-6 conference, as well as analysis of who could move in and out of the bubble depending on results:

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 2:00 pm ET

TV: FS1

The Big East has a bevy of teams sitting around .500 in conference play, and Saturday’s tilt between 6-6 Providence and 6-6 Butler will give someone a light leg up on one of the precious bubble spots from this conference.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 4:00 PM ET

TV: ACC network

NC State won the first time, but if Wake Forest can defend their home court and move to 8-4 in ACC play, it will dramatically help Steve Forbes’ quest to get into the Big Dance. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are 7-5 in league play and could use a sweep over one of the top teams in the ACC to bolster their blistering resume.

Union: The Register Guard

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: Pac-12 Network

The Pac-12 is basically full of bubble teams and Arizona. Oregon has perhaps the best chance to clinch a spot with a home win over the Cougars of Washington State. However, both teams are 8-4 in conference play, and if Kyle Smith’s WSU team can pull off a win on the road, they will be a bigger player in the bubble race as well.

NATHAN J. FISH / OKLAHOMAN NETWORK / USA TODAY

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 4:00 PM ET

TV: Big 12/ESPN+

UCF isn’t really in the bubble conversation, though a very strong finish to the season could turn things around for the Knights. Rather, this is a must-win game for the Red Raiders, who are now just 5-4 in conference play and could fall into the bubble conversation with a bad loss like this one.

Brian Lossness-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 10:00 ET

TV: FS1

Utah State won on the road in Boise in the first meeting, but now with both teams on losing streaks, it’s an opportunity for the Broncos to hand the Aggies another loss and put themselves in a more comfortable position in the bubble picture . . Meanwhile, Utah State is close to falling on the bubble – making this a very intriguing game with bubbles on both sides.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 4:00 PM ET

TV: CBS

Gonzaga is in unfamiliar territory, having gone 0-5 in Quad 1 games this year and now two games back of St. Louis. Mary’s at WCC. If they fail to win the conference tournament, it’s possible that a streak dating back to 1998 could end if they can’t build a resume to secure an at-large bid.

Beating the Kentucky Wildcats on the road would certainly be a big help, making this a game the Zags will be desperate to get.

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 2:00 pm ET

TV: CBS

Illinois narrowly escaped with a three-point win at home the last time these two teams met, and if Tom Izzo and Michigan State can win this one at home, they’ll move to 7-6 in conference play and put themselves more comfortably in position to make the NCAA tournament.

It’s been a tough year for the Spartans, who are coming off a loss in Minnesota, but no one wants to face Izzo in March, and this is the type of game that could help cement their spot in the Big Dance.

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 6 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Rick Pitino and the Red Storm have won just two of their last seven games, including upset one-point losses to Creighton and Marquette. This program is desperate for a marquee conference win to re-establish itself as a major NCAA Tournament threat, and a win in Madison against Marquette is the perfect opportunity to get back on track.

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 3:30 PM ET

TV: SEC Network

Florida has remained a bubble team for the better part of a month, and in order to push their way harder into the NCAA Tournament picture, they need a big win. A home matchup against Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers, considered one of the best teams in the country using advanced metrics, represents a great opportunity to boost that resume for coach Todd Golden and the Gators.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, February 10

Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Purdue is the safest team in the country, but Indiana really needs a big win to help boost a mediocre resume and get Mike Woodson’s team into the Big Dance. The Hoosiers won in Assembly Hall last year, but they are underdogs this time around and another loss to the Boilermakers could sink the ship for Indiana.

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