March Madness 2013: Regular Season Games That Will Most Affect Tournament

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2013

Feb 2 2013, Bloomington, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Trey Burke (3) takes a shot as Indiana Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller (40) defends at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 81-73. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With less than one week remaining in the college basketball regular season, the games have never been more important.

Some squads are doing their best to get a high seed in the NCAA tournament, while others are simply trying to prove they are good enough to get an at-large bid.

The final week of the season features some exciting games like Duke vs. North Carolina, although this battle will not affect the postseason all that much. Both teams are securely in the field and will not move much regardless of the outcome.

However, there are plenty of matchups that will greatly affect both sides. These are the most important games to watch over the next week.


March 6: Georgetown at Villanova

Villanova is one of the toughest teams to read. On the plus side, the team has wins over Marquette, Syracuse and Louisville. However, the Wildcats also have losses to Columbia, Seton Hall and Providence twice.

The Wildcats missed a chance to get a win over Pittsburgh, but a victory over Georgetown might make the profile too good to ignore.

Meanwhile, Georgetown is looking to secure a No. 1 seed after 11 wins in a row over most of the best teams in the Big East. Losing this game would probably remove any chance at being on the top line.


March 7: Butler at Massachusetts 

There is little chance Butler does not make the NCAA tournament, but the Bulldogs have dropped a long way since being ranked in the Top 10. The 9-5 conference is less than flattering and two-straight losses show that things are getting worse.

After losing to VCU by 22 points last week, Butler could end up with a poor seed that could lead to an early exit in the tournament.

Conversely, Massachusetts has played itself into the tournament over the past week according to CBS' Jerry Palm. A win over Butler would give the Minutemen the signature win they've been missing all season.


March 9: Florida at Kentucky

Kentucky's bubble hopes are hanging on by a thread. Since losing Nerlens Noel for the season, the team is 3-2. Unfortunately, the win over Missouri is not as big as the loss against Arkansas.

The selection committee takes injuries into account, so the Wildcats have to prove that they are good enough without Noel on the floor. Beating Florida would be a good way to do that.

Of course, the Gators know that every loss takes them further away from a No. 1 seed and are now looking more like a No. 3 seed at best.


March 10: Maryland at Virginia 

Two bubble teams with similar résumés will face each other on Sunday in what could end up being a play-in game for the NCAA tournament.

Virginia beat Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State at home, while Maryland will try to complete the same feat while facing the Tar Heels on Wednesday. The Cavaliers also have a win at Wisconsin, but own much worse non-conference losses.

The selection committee claims it doesn't pay attention to how many teams come from each tournament, but it would be hard to justify taking six teams from the ACC in a down year. The loser of this game might not have an argument if they are left out on Selection Sunday.


March 10: Indiana at Michigan

Regardless of what the rankings say, these two teams have proven throughout the year that they are among the top contenders for a national championship.

Indiana can clinch the Big Ten regular season title with a win over Ohio State on Tuesday and will likely secure a No. 1 seed with a victory. However, Michigan is also in line for a top seed if it can get an upset over the Hoosiers.

In reality, this battle could end up being a preview of a Final Four game. 

If you call yourself a college basketball fan, make sure you do not miss this matchup on Sunday.