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What the February 27th college basketball schedule means for March Madness bubble watch

The NCAA tournament is fast approaching. We break down what the Saturday, February 27th schedule means for teams on the bubble.

Duke Blue Devils forward Jalen Johnson shoots the ball against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center. 
Duke Blue Devils forward Jalen Johnson shoots the ball against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Watsco Center. 
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the final weekend of regular season basketball for most conferences across America, and with that we’ll be bringing you updates each day on how the March Madness field will begin to take shape. Teams are fighting for a spot in the field and their remaining games will move numerous teams off the bubble for good or bad.

Each day we’ll take a look at who’s in with a win, who’s out with a loss, and all the in-between machinations of the 2021 NCAA Tournament bubble. We’ve added spreads and some bracket analysis for the biggest games of the day.

A Win Will Help, A Loss Won’t Kill

Louisville vs. Duke (-5.5): 6:00 p.m. ESPN

They don’t get much more bubbly than this. UL is in via most places, and Duke still has work to do despite their big win over Virginia last Saturday. The Cardinals are No. 48 in the NET, and the Blue Devils are No. 49. Louisville at 12-5 certainly has a better season on the whole than Duke’s 11-8, but UL is 0-4 in Quad 1 games. A road win here would be a big boost to the resume, and keep the Cards form sweating Selection Sunday.

No. 3 Michigan (-9) vs. Indiana: 12:00 p.m. Fox

Despite the rantings of Archie Miller about bracketology and preschool television, his team still has work to do. The Hoosiers are 12-11 overall, 54 in the NET, 2-9 in Quad 1 games, and haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since this guy and his face got in via the First Four in 2016.

Michigan is merely looking to avoid blips on the resume to stay on the No. 1 seed line.

Boise State vs. No. 22 San Diego State (-6): 4:00 p.m. CBS Sports Network

If the Mountain West was a major conference, there’s little doubt the Broncos would be fine. They’re 36 in the NET, but only 57 via KenPom after their OT loss to SDSU on Thursday night. They also don’t get too many shots at Quad 1 wins in that league, and this is a rare chance to improve upon their 2-4 mark in that category.

The Aztecs are just playing for seeding as having won nine in a row, they’re fine with a 21 NET.

Marquette vs. UConn (-7): 2:30 p.m. Fox

Marquette is on the mildest of heaters after a big road win at North Carolina Thursday, but at 85 in the NET they’d almost need to win out and make the Big East Final to even have a sweat.

The interesting case here is UConn, who is 11-6 with no bad losses and a 2-3 record vs. Quad 1 teams. This is a Quad 2 game, but they need this to stay in the conversation with Seton Hall lurking midweek, and maybe needing a win or two at MSG as well.

No. 13 Creighton (-5.5) vs. Xavier: 5:00 p.m. Fox

The Musketeers have somehow played 17 games and a Big East regular season but have just two Quad 1 games, in which they are 1-1. But they’re 58 in the NET, and this is their last Quad 1 shot before the Big East Tournament. It’s pretty close to a must-have.

Syracuse vs. Georgia Tech (-5): 12:00 p.m. ACC Network

Because most of your favorite broadcasters are ‘Cuse grads and #NewhouseMafia, lots of national media are ignoring the Orange are 0-5 in Quad 1 games and just 2-6 performance on the road. Even with a win here they’re still out, and they might need a win-out and two-or-three wins in the ACC Tournament just to get a look.

The Ramblin’ Wreck are 40 in the NET, 2-6 in Quad 1, and have some work to do. But they’re a lot closer than their opponent on Saturday no matter the result.

Bubble Team “You Better Win” Games

These are teams that are on the bubble, favored, and need to hold serve to stay on that bubble. These are games that likely won’t help much with a win, but could be real setbacks with a loss.

Air Force vs. Colorado State (-18): 4:00 p.m. Mountain West Network
VCU (+2.5) vs. Davidson: 2:00 p.m. ESPNU
Ole Miss (-6) vs. Vanderbilt: 3:30 p.m. SEC Network
Minnesota (-3) vs. Nebraska: 7:00 p.m. Big Ten Network
Oregon State vs. Stanford (-7): 7:00 p.m. Pac-12 Network
Drake (-8.5) vs. Bradley: 7:00 p.m. ESPN+