With Northwestern sitting squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble, it's time for a new daily feature, in which I take a look at every game relevant to Northwestern's NCAA chances and tell you whom you should be rooting for.
Before we start, a reminder of just how precarious Northwestern's current bubble position is, via a tweet from SI.com's resident bracket expert, Andy Glockner:
Again, teams right on the cutline or below right now are *not* in good shape. Current bracket projections have zero upsets built in.
So even though Northwestern is currently listed as in by most experts, eventually there will likely be upsets in conference tournaments and it will become that much harder to make it. So we're left with no choice but to root for no Cinderellas. Except us.
Team to root for: Penn State
Purdue has all but locked up a bid...unless they somehow lose at home to Penn State. They did get clowned in Happy Valley earlier this year, so who knows.
Team to root for: Marquette
Cincinnati looks like they should be a lock with 20 wins overall and 10 BIg East wins already but their non-conference schedule was a total joke and the committee has been known to look harshly on teams with weak non-conference performances. A marquee win over a team like Marquette should elevate them to lock status, however.
Team to root for: Louisville
South Florida has an impressive 11-5 Big East record but they don't have any marquee wins and find themselves squarely on the bubble. They'll probably need to make a run in the Big East tournament if they don't win this one.
Team to root for: St. Bonaventure
This is close to a must-win for St. Joe's.
Team to root for: Richmond
Ditto for Dayton.
Team to root for: Auburn
Alabama is close to lock status but a home loss to terrible Auburn could make things interesting.
Team to root for: SMU
Southern Miss would probably have to lose out to miss the NCAAs, but might as well hope.
Team to root for: South Carolina
Mississippi State is reeling right now and can't afford yet another bad loss to one of the SEC's many weak bottom-feeders.
Team to root for: Tennessee
LSU is hanging on by a thread at this point, a loss here sends them off the cliff.
Team to root for: NC State
Miami is in as now after upsetting Florida State on Sunday, while N.C. State is likely done considering their dreadful combination of zero RPI top 50 wins and 3 RPI sub-100 losses.
Team to root for: Oklahoma
Texas is right there on the bubble with Northwestern in all the bracket predictions and needs to beat a non-NCAA team like Oklahoma at home to stay afloat.
Team to root for: UNLV
Colorado State is in a similar position to Northwestern: squarely on the bubble with a great opportunity to get a marquee win at home tonight.
Team to root for: UC Irvine
Rooting for Long Beach State to win their conference tournament will be priority one come next week, as long as they don't suffer awful losses between now and then and play themselves off the bubble.