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.
Yesterday was a prettay, prettay good day for Northwestern. Besides escaping with a win at Iowa, several bubble teams suffered damaging losses, including Washington, South Florida, Long Beach State, BYU, Texas, Southern Mississippi, and Seton Hall. Well, the Seton Hall loss (a humiliating 28 point #BEATEMDOWN against last place DePaul) knocked the Pirates out of the RPI top 50, leaving NU with a grand total of one RPI top 50 win, so it wasn't all good.
Most importantly though, no one has stolen any bids yet. Murray State survived a serious scare against Tennessee State and won the OVC, and Gonzaga and Saint Mary's both reached the title game of the WCC to ensure no bid thieves there.
Team to root for: Creighton
Missouri Valley title game. Creighton is a lock for the tournament. Illinois State can only make the tournament with a win, and is coming off an upset of Wichita State, the pre-tournament favorite. Fortunately for us, the great Osiris Eldridge is not walking through that door.
Team to root for: Maryland
Virginia has been in the top 25 for much of the season but a recent swoon has them in minor bubble trouble, and it could get interesting if they suffer another bad loss to Maryland.
Team to root for: Iona
MAAC semifinals. Iona has a top 50 RPI and even though they don't really have any good wins and have several bad losses they could theoretically get an at-large bid so might as well root for them to win this tournament.
Team to root for: Old Dominion?
CAA semifinals. Drexel has an outside chance at an at large bid but from what I understand the only realistic chance the league has at two bids is for Drexel and VCU to meet in the league title game, as a loss to anyone else would look too bad on the profile. So root for Old Dominion I guess, this conference confuses me.
Team to root for: Arizona State
Arizona has to win this game, Arizona State is god-awful.
Team to root for: George Mason?
See the Old Dominion-Drexel write-up. I don't like the CAA.
Team to root for: Stanford
One bid Pac-12? Could happen if Stanford wins today.
Team to root for: Virginia Tech
NC State is all but dead, I probably shouldn't be including them in this but why not? Anyways, go Hokies.
Team to root for: Middle Tennessee State
Sun Belt quarterfinals. Middle Tennessee has a very small chance at an at-large, so might as well root for them to win this tournament even though it probably doesn't matter.
Also, the Big Ten regular season wraps up today. With NU locked into the seven seed for the Big Ten tournament, they will play the 2 seed in the quarterfinals assuming they can beat Minnesota. That will be either Michigan or Ohio State, and I'd say NU has a far better chance against Michigan. The good news is Michigan is quite likely to get the 2 seed. Here's what needs to happen for Ohio State to get the 2, hat tip to my man Tom Collins:
The only ways Ohio State get the #2 is:
Michigan Loss + Ohio State Win
Michigan Win + Ohio State Win + Wisconsin loss + Purdue Win
So there you have it.