A quick glance at the calendar tells you March is on the way, which means college basketball teams don’t have too many games remaining on the schedule before their conference tournaments tip off. For teams fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament – sitting on the infamous bracket bubble – these remaining contests become must-win situations if they want to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
This added motivation can be a blessing for those basketball bettors searching for some handicapping tips in the dwindling NCAAB slate. These programs could provide some extra profits as they try to keep their NCAA bubble from going POP! in the final games of the year.
TCU Horned Frogs (17-9 SU, 12-12-1 ATS)
The Horned Frogs are on the outside looking in when it comes to many NCAA bracket projections. Texas Christian rolled through soft non-conference competition but fell flat in Big 12 play and has yet to record a resume win that would impress the selection committee, outside of a victory against West Virginia.
The Horned Frogs can put up points – averaging more than 84 points per night – but Jamie Dixon hasn’t been able to find an answer on defense, with TCU bending for 77 points against. The Frogs have only one ranked foe ahead on the schedule, facing Texas Tech in the season finale. That could be a do-or-die game for TCU.
Florida Gators (17-9 SU, 12-12-1 ATS)
The Gators have an identical record as the Horned Frogs entering the weekend but do have a much better shot at making the NCAA cut due to a stronger non-conference schedule that featured a loss to Duke, a win over Cincinnati, a win over Gonzaga, and a loss to Clemson. Luckily, Florida planned out that tough tune-up sked because the SEC is especially weak this year.
Florida does have a win over ranked Texas A&M and its remaining schedule features Tennessee and Auburn – the other two SEC teams in the Top 25. The Gators also have an important contest with Alabama, which is right there on the bubble with UF and that February 27 contest could decide which team gets a tourney nod.
Providence Friars (17-9 SU, 9-15 ATS)
The Big East is a bonafide basketball power this season with Villanova and Xavier ranked in the national Top 5. Providence knocked off the Musketeers for its marquee conference win but missed out on both chances against the Wildcats. The Friars non-conference schedule was mild at best, with a loss to Rhode Island as the toughest test.
Providence has a trip to Xavier ahead on the schedule and a second win over the Muskies may be enough. Beyond that, the Friars will need to take down Seton Hall, Georgetown, and St. John’s – with wins already over the latter two teams. Providence has been a pretty bad bet all season, but this postseason push could get the Friars – and their backers – into the black.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (21-5 SU, 13-10 ATS)
The Blue Raiders caught the nation’s attention two seasons ago when they knocked off Michigan State in the Round of 64, and dropped another Big Ten power in Minnesota during the opening round last year. Middle Tennessee is currently atop the C-USA and getting some Top 25 votes, but not enough to crack the national polls. The conference doesn’t pack much punch in terms of RPI and the Blue Raiders’ non-conference schedule lacks a notable win.
Middle Tennessee could very well have to win out during the C-USA tournament to earn a bid in the Big Dance. The Blue Raiders can’t afford a bad showing in their remaining four games, especially against Western Kentucky on March 1, with the Hilltoppers sitting third in the C-USA standings.