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.
Conference tournaments are underway across this great nation, meaning this rooting interest stuff is about to get serious. The most significant threat to Northwestern's NCAA hopes (well, besides their inability to get stops on defense) is so-called "bid-thieves" who surprisingly win their conference's auto-bid and relegate a presumed conference champion to the at-large pool. Northwestern is hanging on by a thread right now and can't afford any conference tournament upsets.
To signify their importance, any potential bid-thief game from here on out will receive drudge siren red alert status.
Team to root for: Wichita State
The Missouri Valley conference tournament is underway, and there's an interesting dynamic in play. Wichita State and Creighton are both in the top 25 and lock NCAA teams while the rest of the league has no shot at an at-large bid. So NU badly needs one of Wichita State or Creighton to win this tournament. This here is a quarterfinal game.
Team to root for: Harvard
Since the Ivy League doesn't have a conference tournament, NU doesn't have to worry as much about bid thieves, but it's still possible for Harvard to not win the Ivy League and get an at-large bid, so we'll root for them just to be sure.
Team to root for: Murray State
This is a semi-final game in the Ohio Valley tournament. Murray State needs to win this game and the championship game or there's one fewer at-large bid to go around.
Team to root for: Creighton
See the Wichita State game write up. Go Creighton.
Team to root for: San Diego
This is a West Coast Conference tournament game, and it's not at red alert status because neither team is a lock for an at-large bid, but BYU is right on the bubble and would be done if they lost to a bad team like San Diego. Also, BYU represents the biggest threat to Gonzaga and St. Mary's, the lock NCAA teams in the WCC.