Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Top 5 must-watch matchups in this weekend's slate

March Madness is right around the corner but the final regular-season weekend slate is set to deliver.

Virginia v Duke
Virginia v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages
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4. Illinois at Iowa

After falling to Purdue at home on Tuesday, the Illini stand at 22-8 (13-6) on the year and are closing in on a four or five-seed come Selection Sunday.

The dynamic duo of Marcus Domask and Terrance Shannon give the Illini one of the more potent and efficient offenses in college basketball which makes them extremely tough out in the NCAA Tournament despite their defensive concerns. Take a look at these clips from Marcus Domask in their road win against Wisconsin, further illustrating how Illinois’ spacing allows Domask to drive to the basket early in the shot clock. 

Simple, efficient, effective. 

As Illinois has locked up the two seed for the Big Ten Tournament, the Illini will be playing for NCAA Tournament seeding purposes whereas the Hawkeyes will be playing for the at-large hopes -- two very different situations.

On Feb. 20, I stated how Iowa needed to win four of their final five regular season games to give themselves a shot at entering the field. Iowa is 3-1 so far (their only loss coming to Illinois on the road), meaning it all comes down to Sunday night.

Standing at 18-12 (10-9), Fran McCaffery’s group has risen their NET ranking 13 spots in 23 days. The only “bad” loss on their resume is a home loss to Michigan in early December.

All three of their Q1 wins have come in the last three weeks and they have a chance to add another one before conference tournament play begins next week.

I never want to say anything is do-or-die, because in college basketball, anything can happen, but it almost feels like this is the situation Iowa is in. A win over Illinois almost surely puts them right on the cutline of the at-large picture whereas a loss means the Hawkeyes will (most likely) have to win more than two games in the Big Ten Tournament given the overall weakness of the Big Ten.