As we wrap up January, it’s time to start keeping an eye on who’s in and who’s out of the NCAA Tournament. Bracketology is here, and every game played now means just as much as the ones in early March that will determine who is going where on Selection Sunday.
Here’s three key games on January 31 that will affect the brackets of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi depending on the results tonight.
Indiana vs. Maryland: 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Hoosiers are on the five-line as of now, but could be in line for a top-four protected seed with a win as Trayce Jackson-Davis continues getting more buzz as a National Player of the Year candidate. As for the Terps, they’re pretty safe sitting as a ten-seed right now and one of the last four teams avoiding Dayton. But another Quad 1 win might get them out of the bubble danger zone for a bit.
West Virginia vs. TCU: 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
If you can figure out what’s wrong with this WVU team, please call a Mr. Huggins in Morgantown. The computers love the Mountaineers, and the standings hate them as 2-6 even in a league as tough as the Big 12 isn’t ideal. They’ll need some more quality wins to even make the field.
And just like they were in football, TCU is one of stories of the season. Jamie Dixon’s Frogs are No. 15 in KenPom, a 4-seed from Lunardi, and can keep the train rolling with another quality win here.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The Aggies are the first team out according to Lunardi, but a win at Basketball Palace of Mid-America could go a long way to getting them off the bubble and into The Dance. The Hogs aren’t one of the last four bye teams as of now, but they are on the 10-line, which means a loss at home could put them there this evening. It should be a quality matchup of two contrasting styles, as Erik Musselman’s Razorbacks will try and speed and swarm the plodding visitors.