Men's Basketball

Buckeyes On the Bubble — Who You Should Root For This Weekend

Even though the conference tournament season is over for the Buckeyes, there is still plenty of basketball going on this weekend that can affect them.

As it stands now, Ohio State is believed to be on the good side of the tournament cusp, but that could change if enough conference tournaments are stolen by teams who aren’t already in.

Currently, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Ohio State as an 11-seed playing 6-seed Iowa State in Jacksonville. Jerry Palm of CBS has the Buckeyes as an 11-seed playing 6-seed Marquette in Tulsa.

Neither prognosticator has OSU as one of the last four in, which would seem to mean that there is some wiggle room for a conference tournament or two to not go Ohio State’s way this weekend, but things better not get too crazy.

In order to keep you up to speed on the Buckeyes’ chances, what follows is a list of the conference tournaments that could affect OSU, and gives fans a good idea of who they should be rooting for in each of those respective games and brackets. Most of the one-bid leagues have been ignored.

America East Championship Game
#1 Vermont vs. #3 UMBC (11:00 a.m., ESPN2) — This year, the America East looks like a one-bid league. Vermont is 26-6, but are in the mid-70s in NET ranking, so even if UMBC steals the bid, don’t expect Vermont to get in.

American Athletic Semifinals
No. 1 Houston vs. No. 5 Memphis (3:00 p.m., ESPN2) — Memphis is not in per Lunardi and Palm, and not yet close to the bubble. As such, you are Cougars fans today.

No. 2 Cincinnati vs. No. 6 Wichita State (5:00 p.m., ESPN2) — Wichita State is not in, so root for the Bearcats. Cincinnati is in, so as long as the Bearcats and Cougars win, the Buckeyes will be unaffected.

Atlantic 10 Semifinals
No. 8 Rhode Island vs. No. 4 St. Bonaventure (1:00 p.m., CBSSN) — Rhode Island defeated No. 1 VCU yesterday. VCU is in per the experts. Neither of these two teams in this game are in at the moment, which means you’ll want them losing in the conference championship game just to be safe.

No. 2 Davidson vs. No. 6 St. Louis (3:30 p.m., CBSSN) — It doesn’t appear as though Davidson would get in with a loss, which makes it quite likely that nothing that happens in these semifinals can really hurt the Buckeyes since it became a two-bid league yesterday. Still, root for Davidson from here on out if you want to be safe.

Big West Championship Game
No. 1 UC-Irvine vs. No. 3 Cal State Fullerton (11:59 p.m., ESPN2) — The Big West is likely a one-bid league, but if you’re gonna be up late Saturday night anyway, you may as well root your guts out for UC-Irvine.

Conference USA Championship Game
No. 1 Old Dominion vs. No. 2 Western Kentucky (7:30 p.m., CBSSN) — The CUSA is also likely just a one bid league, and rooting for Old Dominion is your best chance to keep it that way.

Mid-American Championship Game
No. 1 Buffalo vs. No. 3 Bowling Green (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) — It doesn’t feel good to type these words, but Buckeye fans, you need to root against Bowling Green tonight. Buffalo has done enough to make it as an at-large. Bowling Green, meanwhile, will be stealing somebody else’s at-large bid with a win in this one. (If you don’t want to root against the Falcons, that’s okay. A BGSU win alone wouldn’t put the Buckeyes out.)

Mountain West Championship Game
No. 2 Utah State vs. No. 4 San Diego State (6:00 p.m., CBS) — San Diego State is only in with a win today. Yesterday, they defeated No. 1 Nevada, who is safely in the tournament. Utah State is also pretty safely in. As such, you’ll want to root heartily against the Aztecs in this one.

Pac 12 Championship Game
No. 1 Washington vs. No. 6 Oregon (10:30 p.m., ESPN) — Washington is very likely still in with a loss, so you will be rooting against the Oregon Ducks like you haven’t done since the 2014 CFP National Championship Game.

SEC Semifinals
No. 8 Florida vs. No. 5 Auburn (1:00 p.m., ESPN) — Florida is listed as in by both Palm and Lunardi, but go ahead and root against them because they are right next to Ohio State on the bubble.

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Tennessee (3:30 p.m., ESPN) — Both of these teams are both in, so you don’t need to watch it. Go enjoy some fresh air or watch the Big Ten.

WAC Championship Game
No. 1 New Mexico State vs. No. 3 Grand Canyon (10:00 p.m., ESPNU) — The WAC is likely a one-bid league, as New Mexico State is No. 41 in the NET rankings. Just to be safe, however, you should root for the Lobos.

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