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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Indiana basketball rooting guide for March 9-10

Root for Archie’s brother, along with Syracuse, Texas, and conference tourney favorites

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Well would you look at that! The Hoosiers not only won last night but did so in convincing fashion. And they scored 92 points! That’s twice the amount they scored against Purdue back on February 19th. In a lot of NCAA Tourney projections, Indiana remains one of the First Four Out, and the most recent Bracket Matrix, made before IU’s win last night, only has the team in 9 of the 90 collected brackets.

Indiana, of course, can improve its position on Sunday by stealing the S back from Rutgers on Senior Day, at noon on BTN. But the Hoosiers will also need help. If you want IU to back their way into an NCAA Tournament appearance that seemed improbable only two weeks ago today, here’s who you need to root for this weekend:


Root for Arizona vs. Arizona State, Saturday, 4pm, CBS

Sean Miller’s team has had a disappointing season while the cloud of the FBI investigation looms over Arizona’s head. But Sean could really do his brother a solid by beating in-state rival Arizona State on Saturday. The Sun Devils have a huge win over Kansas (who was #1 at the time), but also have losses in all four quadrants. The overall mediocrity of the Pac-12 hasn’t done them any favors, either. A loss to Arizona tomorrow could really set their hopes back.


Root for Syracuse at Clemson, Saturday, noon, CBS

Yes, The Horror was six year ago. Time to let it go for one day only and root for the Orange. Syracuse once again only had a decent season, but it’s still enough to make them a tourney lock as of now (an 8-seed according to Bracket Matrix). Meanwhile, Clemson, who’s won one Quad 1 game all season (compared to six for the Hoosiers), sits right on the bubble as of now. A Cuse win tomorrow would be very helpful for IU and could push the Hoosiers ahead of the Tigers.

Root for Boston College vs. N.C. State, Saturday, 2pm, ESPN3

The Wolfpack lost to shorthanded Georgia Tech earlier this week and now find their NCAA Tournament status in peril. BC has no chance of making it unless they run the table in the ACC Tourney next week, so root for the Eagles to play spoiler in Chestnut Hill tomorrow.

Big 12

Root for Texas vs. TCU, Saturday, noon, ESPN2

Despite Texas having the same 16-14 record as IU, their tourney position is much more secure at this point. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs still have work to do if they want to sneak in. Like IU, The Horned Frogs will need to overcome a sub-.500 conference record to qualify, so the Hoosiers could benefit from a TCU loss tomorrow.


Root for UCF at Temple, Saturday, 4pm, ESPN2

Many will be rooting for Temple coach Fran Dunphy to get one more NCAA bid in his final season before retiring as coach of the Owls. That’s understandable, but if you’re an IU fan, you want suddenly hot UCF and their giant star player Tacko Fall to beat the Owls in Philly tomorrow.

Big Ten

Root for Wisconsin at Ohio State, Sunday, 4:30pm, CBS

I don’t think the Buckeyes are in too much danger of missing the tourney yet, but a loss on Sunday and an early Big Ten tourney knockout could make things very dicey for them. Regardless, a Wisconsin win makes the Hoosiers’ victory over the Badgers look better, so cheer for Wisconsin in that one.

I think Minnesota should be in thanks to its win over Purdue on Tuesday, but a Gopher loss to Maryland tonight wouldn’t hurt IU either.

Big East

Root for Villanova vs. Seton Hall, Saturday, noon, Fox

Root for DePaul vs. Creighton, Saturday, 8pm, FS1

What a wild season for the Big East, which only has two teams that are locks but also has no teams under .500 right now. As you can probably guess, Villanova is definitely in while DePaul is definitely out. But IU will need both to win tomorrow, as Creighton and Seton Hall could go either way according to most projections. A win for Xavier over St. John’s wouldn’t hurt either, but it would take a lot to knock the Red Storm out of the field at this point.


Root for Arkansas vs. Alabama, Saturday, 6pm, SEC Network

Yes, Arkansas scored a questionable win over the Hoosiers earlier this year. But IU will need their help tomorrow when bubble team Alabama heads to Fayetteville.

Also, Florida’s not a secure lock yet, but they’re in pretty good shape, and so I won’t be advising people to root for Kentucky against them tomorrow.

Conference Tournaments

Ohio Valley tournament: Root for Belmont

Atlantic Sun tournament: Root for Lipscomb

The OVC and A-Sun tournaments end tomorrow and Sunday, respectively, and you’ll want to root for both Nashville teams to win these. If Belmont and Lipscomb falter, they both have played well enough this season to steal a bid on that 11 or 12 seed line, so Indiana needs to root for the Bruins and Bisons to wrap up conference autobids here in order to avoid them sneaking in last-minute.