The college basketball regular season has hit its final weekend. The conference tournaments are just around the corner in the bigger conferences, and have already started in the smaller conferences. There are a lot of key games on Saturday in those smaller conference tournaments, but the matchups can’t be nailed down because we don’t yet know the results of the preliminary-round games in those tournaments.
One such example is the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, otherwise known as “Arch Madness” in St. Louis. The Valley semi-finals are on Saturday, so the matchups won’t be known until the four quarterfinals are played on Friday.
The games we know about on Saturday are from the power conferences which will play their conference tournaments next week. Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes
The Illini are in line for the fourth and final No. 1 seed in March Madness, behind Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan. Illinois earned this privileged position by thumping Michigan on Tuesday, a high-value win which will vault coach Brad Underwood’s team past several other competitors. Illinois isn’t yet a lock for that final No. 1 seed, but if the Illini go into Columbus and beat the reeling Buckeyes it would be very hard to deny the Illini that big prize in the bracket. The Buckeyes are certain to be a top-three seed, and still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed if they can turn things around.
If Ohio State wins this game, the Buckeyes — having lost three in a row to Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa in the past two weeks — would probably solidify a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If they keep losing, however, they could fall to a No. 3 seed.
Florida State Seminoles at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This is a game in which Florida State will likely be playing for the ACC regular-season championship. The Seminoles are trying to fend off Virginia, which plays Louisville later on Saturday. If Florida State does win the ACC title this year, the Seminoles would win back-to-back ACC regular-season championships for the first time in the history of the program. That would be a phenomenal accomplishment for head coach Leonard Hamilton. Florida State is aiming for a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If the Seminoles win the rest of their online betting games before Selection Sunday – meaning that they win the ACC regular-season and conference tournament championships together – they could potentially get a No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Rutgers inexplicably lost in a blowout to a bad Nebraska team earlier this week. Minnesota has suffered losses to Northwestern and Nebraska to fall off the bubble. Rutgers must defeat Minnesota to feel 100-percent safe for the big dance. The Scarlet Knights were going to play in the tournament last year, but the pandemic wiped out March Madness in 2020. Rutgers is therefore trying to make sure that it will play in the big dance by winning here in Minneapolis. Rutgers has not participated since 1991.
Utah State Aggies at Fresno State Bulldogs
The Utah State Aggies are squarely on the bubble in the Mountain West Conference. They have no margin for error. A loss to Fresno State would knock them off the bubble. Fresno State just did beat Boise State to push the Broncos off the bubble. Utah State obviously has to be vigilant and prepared for Fresno State in this game.
Virginia Cavaliers at Louisville Cardinals
This is a game in which Virginia will try to swipe the ACC title from Florida State if the Seminoles lose to Notre Dame earlier on Saturday. If Florida State wins, Virginia can still find value in this game. The Cavaliers have not played well in recent weeks. They just need a good performance more than anything else before the big dance. Virginia has not played as well as it expected to this season. Coach Tony Bennett has to find ways to get his team to play better.
Oklahoma State Cowboys at West Virginia Mountaineers
Oklahoma State has soared in recent weeks, sweeping Oklahoma and beating Texas Tech. The Cowboys are probably a No. 4 seed in March Madness at this point, and they have a chance to move up to a No. 3 seed. West Virginia is likely a No. 2 seed and wants to maintain that position by handling Oklahoma State in a cutthroat Big 12 Conference.
Xavier Musketeers at Marquette Golden Eagles
This is a bubble game for Xavier. The Musketeers lost to Georgetown on Tuesday, a critical defeat which probably moved the Muskies from “good side of the bubble” to “bad side of the bubble.” Xavier is still in the hunt for an at-large bid, but this game against Marquette, a team in the bottom tier of the Big East Conference, is simply a must-win. Xavier cannot lose this game if it wants to be an at-large team in the Big Dance on Selection Sunday, March 14.
USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins
This is a game in which UCLA will likely be playing for the Pac-12 championship. The question is if USC will also be playing for that title. The Trojans just lost two straight games to Colorado and Utah. Oregon and UCLA are in the best positions to win the Pac-12 championship. UCLA needs a win, regardless of the Pac-12 title race, to boost its seeding for March Madness.
Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers
This is a game in which Indiana is almost certainly out of the running for an at-large bid, but if the Hoosiers have any slight chance left, they must win here and then win at least two, probably three, games in the Big Ten Tournament next week. Purdue wants to get a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers are probably a No. 5 seed right now.
Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels
This game is very unusual for Duke and North Carolina, in that it is a bubble game for both teams. North Carolina is in better shape for March Madness, but the Tar Heels are not a lock to make the tournament field. A win here would enable UNC to breathe a lot easier. Duke is in huge trouble for the NCAA Tournament. Mike Krzyzewski must win this game and win at least two, probably three, games next week at the ACC Tournament in order to have a realistic chance. If North Carolina loses this game, it would need at least one win at the ACC Tournament, possibly two.
Seton Hall Pirates at St. John’s Red Storm
This game is a bubble game for Seton Hall. St. John’s has played its way off the bubble, but the Red Storm can play spoiler by knocking the Pirates out of the NCAA Tournament hunt.
Join our big NCAA Tournament contest as picking a perfect bracket could net you $1-million at BetUS!