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Sunday Michigan rooting guide: Final games before conference tournaments

Some big games are going down on Sunday.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan Wolverines have a massive game against Indiana today. While that game is going to be the most important to creating a path to the NCAA Tournament, they could still use some help across the college basketball landscape to help their resume look better.

Maize n Brew previewed the must-win matchup on Saturday. Instead, we will focus on the rest of Sunday’s action and how the results could impact the Wolverines for Selection Sunday next week.

No. 21 Maryland @ Penn State

  • Noon EST, BTN
  • Root for: Maryland

Penn State is sitting with Michigan on the bubble. The Nittany Lions are 18-12 and are 56 in the NET rankings, compared to the 17-13 Wolverines who are at No. 54. Things point in Penn State’s favor in this game for a couple of reasons. The Terps have just one win on the road in Big Ten play, and are also coming off a loss in Columbus against a bad Ohio State team. Last but not least, Penn State has also won four of its last five and performed much better at home on the offensive end. On a senior night, at home, in a must-win contest, Penn State has a shot to find itself ahead of the Wolverines again.

Wisconsin @ Minnesota

  • 7:30 p.m. EST, FS1
  • Root for: Minnesota

Wisconsin is another one of those Big Ten programs in need of consistent winning. The Badgers are hanging onto a win over Marquette for dear life. The reason so many have them in over Penn State and Michigan is because they don’t have a bad loss this season. Dropping a game to Minnesota would certainly change that narrative.

Northwestern @ Rutgers

  • 7:30 p.m. EST, BTN
  • Root for: Northwestern

There was a time when the Scarlet Knights were all but a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they have lost five of their last seven games, including games to Nebraska and Minnesota in that stretch. They’ve fallen to a bubble team and could find themselves out of the tournament altogether if they lose to Northwestern in the game and fall early in the Big Ten Tournament. The metrics still really like the Scarlet Knights, who are No. 38 in the NET Rankings, but it’s going to be tough to put in a team with just 18 wins and losing that much in the back end of the year.

Teams to watch in conference tournaments

The last thing l Michigan needs is for a dominant team in a mid-major conference to lose and potentially take a bubble team spot. While it is unlikely, there is always a chance one of these teams could sneak in. Here are the ones to look out for with games on Sunday.

  • College of Charleston: The 28-3 Cougars are on the bubble and are headed to the quarterfinals in the CAA Tournament on Sunday. They could get a look even if they don’t win their conference tourney. Charleston takes on 11-21 Stoney Brook on Sunday, which shouldn’t pose much of a threat.
  • Liberty: The ASUN final between Liberty and Kennesaw State is on Sunday. The Flames are 26-7 and are No. 40 in the NET Rankings. This is another team that could get looks for a last team in with a loss. They’ve lost only two games since Jan. 1, and one came to this Kennesaw State team on the road. The Owls will look to play upset again with this game also being on their home court.
  • Bradley/Drake: Drake has been a common name in the NCAA Tournament over the last couple seasons, but Bradley has had the better 2022-23. The two will now meet in the MVC Championship. If it is a really close game, perhaps the committee gives the other team a look as one of the final teams in.