Selection Sunday is a little over five weeks away. Here are some of the games that can be seen on Saturday when teams argue for an invitation to the Big Dance:
Saint Louis at Dayton: The Flyers (20-2, 9-0 Atlantic 10) continue their ascent and are a legitimate Final Four threat behind striker Obi Toppin (19.7 ppg) and shooters Jalen Crutcher, Ibi Watson and Trey Landers. Crutcher pushed a 3-pointer to the overtime in extra time when Dayton lost 55:42 to Saint Louis (78:76) on January 17, 7½ minutes before the end. Dayton will be a two-digit favorite in the rematch.
Purdue in Indiana: Twelve of the 14 teams in the Big Ten remain in competition for the NCAA tournaments, but the Boilermakers (12-10, 5-6) have serious problems with the air bubble. Purdue has only two real road wins this season (Northwestern and Ohio). Purdue coach Matt Painter has dominated the Hoosiers in recent years, but his success in this rivalry will end this weekend. Indiana is 4-1 at home in the league game and should be a good bet if favored with five or fewer points. The Hoosiers lost three times in a row and had a full week off to prepare for this game.
Texas Tech in Texas: Texas Tech's Chris Beard is a field coach and Texas Tech's Shaka Smart has become a field coach. However, the Red Raiders are young and make you restless on the street. Tech dropped to 1-3 in the Big 12 Road Games with a 78:75 loss in Kansas last weekend, but the Red Raiders, covered as an 8½-point outsider at Allen Fieldhouse, scored 26 points. Texas was a 14-point dog on Monday with a loss of 69:58 in Kansas. This will likely be a game for the Red Robbers if they prefer three points or less.
Duke in North Carolina: Newcomer Cole Anthony is back, but he and the Tar Heels have a long climb ahead of them. North Carolina is 2-7 ahead in 2020. In his second game after knee surgery, Anthony fought a defeat in the state of Florida on Monday. He scored 16 points, but shot 5 against 22 and missed seven of his 10 3-point attempts. The heels played well without Senior Guard Brandon Robinson, who was sitting with a sprained ankle. Robinson could return for this rivalry game, but Carolina will still be a big domestic dog. Duke was impressive on Saturday when he appeared as a seven-point favorite in a 97:88 win in Syracuse.
San Diego State at Air Force: Will the Aztecs lose before the Mountain West tournament in March? Don't bet on it. San Diego State (23-0) has just passed its two toughest remaining tests by winning at UNLV and defeating Utah State. The Aztecs' comeback win over the Aggies was particularly annoying to the underdogs when the U.S. state of Utah (+7) led the way with 10 points at the start of the second half before suddenly breaking down with an 80-68 loss , Matt Mitchell got hot and filled 24 of his season highs with 28 points in the second half. The Air Force slipped into a radio, lost and failed to score five consecutive hits. Still, the tiny Clune Arena in Colorado Springs can be a difficult place for visiting teams. The hawks could be worth a look if they get more than 10 points.