Oh how college basketball flies. A month away from Selection Sunday, games begin to mean more for teams on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament.
There are three teams on the bubble in action tonight, so let’s break down their matchups.
Indiana vs. No. 21 Iowa
The Indiana Hoosiers currently sit at 15-8 with a 5-7 record in the Big Ten. They have three wins over teams currently in the top-25 but have lost four straight games. In Joe Lundardi’s latest projected bracket they sit right on the edge of the field as one of his last four teams in; but a win over a strong Iowa team would go a long way to solidifying their position.
In order to take advantage of the opportunity, the Hoosiers will need to stop Luka Garza. The junior from Washington D.C. is averaging 23 points and 9.9 rebounds per game and is in the top 20 on the Wooden Award list. At 6’11” he displays an ability to finish around the rim but is also the teams second best three point shooter at 38.2 percent. He is complimented by guard Joe Weiskamp who pours in another 15 points a game with six boards and a steal per contest.
A win for Indiana keys around the all around play of Trayce Jackson-Davis. The forward leads the team in scoring, rebounds and blocks and the Hoosiers go as he goes.
B-town ball. ? pic.twitter.com/R3TheExfuH
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 13, 2020
Memphis @ Cincinnati
At 17-6, the Memphis Tigers have underachieved.
Welcoming a stacked recruiting class headlined by Precious Achiuwa and James Wiseman, they were the preseason No. 14 team in the AP Poll. But the season has been marred the drama and fallout from Wiseman’s departure, and they have stumbled in American Conference play. An opportunity to bolster both their resume and placement in the conference standings comes with a clash at Cincinnati.
At 15-8 the Bearcats have a worse overall record but are a strong 8-3 in conference. They have wins over Tennessee, Houston and SMU but the Tigers won their first matchup on January 16. In a top-heavy conference like the American, nearly every game is a must-win at this point in the season for Memphis (who Lunardi has in his next four out). Outside of two games with Houston, the Tigers have just one opponent remanning on their schedule higher than 6oth in Kenpom rankings.
Coming off of a loss to No. 122 South Florida and with a 40 point loss to Tulsa on the resume, Memphis needs to beat No. 38 Cincinnati.
Arizona State @ Stanford
Chef Remy continues to lead the Pac-12 in conference scoring at 21 ppg. ??? pic.twitter.com/iRtTYqAogR
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) February 13, 2020
Last season Arizona State posted a 23-11 record and finished second in the Pac-12. Currently they sit one place back of that mark, in third place with a 15-8 record and are led by junior guard Remy Martin. The Chatsworth, California native leads the team in points (19.3) and assists (four)
But while they have won three straight games, those wins have come against bottom half teams in a conference without a team in the top-25. Similar to Memphis’ situation, most of the Arizona State’s remaining games will be high stakes.
Being listed as one of Lunardi’s first four out and facing seventh place Stanford, the Sun Devils can’t afford to fall to a team below them. To make this happen they will need to shut down Oscar da Silva and Tyrell Terry, the only two players on the team to average more than 10 points per game.
With only one top-25 matchup left on their schedule, Arizona State needs to take every chance it has to make a statement.