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Andy Katz | Correspondent | March 3, 2018

Duke-UNC the headliner, but plenty of Saturday bubble implications

Duke-North Carolina is the marquee game Saturday. We get that. The rivalry never disappoints. So check that out for sure at 8:15 p.m. (ESPN). But let’s dive into what will really matter Saturday: the bubble.

The bubble breakdown Friday showed where teams stand as they get their last chance to impress the selection committee before these teams start conference tournament play next week.

Here are the most significant bubble-related games on tap:

West Virginia at Texas, Noon, ESPN: The Longhorns need to create separation within a muddled Big 12. Texas also needs to get some momentum heading into the Big 12 tournament. Texas needs this more than West Virginia.

Kentucky at Florida, Noon, CBS: If you’re in the camp that Florida still needs another quality win then sure, the Gators need to beat Kentucky. I don’t see it. The Gators are in the field as far as I’m concerned.

Virginia Tech at Miami, Noon, ESPN2: The Hokies have done enough to warrant a bid, especially with the road win at Virginia. But a road win at Miami would erase all doubts.

Mississippi State at LSU, 1 p.m., SEC Network: The Bulldogs didn’t make my cut. The home loss to Tennessee eliminated them for now. Beat LSU on the road, though, and there is a chance to at least climb back near the bubble.

Clemson at Syracuse, 2 p.m., ACC Network: Syracuse has to win this game after losing at Boston College. The Orange aren’t out with a home loss to Clemson but that would mean a lengthy stay in Brooklyn next week is a must.

Boston College at Florida State, 2 p.m., ACC Network: The Seminoles should be fine, but losing to BC at home would give fodder to pause.

Alabama at Texas A&M, 2 p.m., ESPN2: This is a tough one. The Aggies won on the road to quiet their questions while Alabama has slid lately. The loser will be in a tenuous situation. The winner isn’t a lock, but can at least breathe.

Baylor at Kansas State, 2 p.m., ESPN: This is the ultimate bubble game. Winner has more than a pulse. Loser will need a deep run in Kansas City next week.

Creighton at Marquette, 2:30 p.m.: Marquette didn’t make my cut Friday. Beat Creighton at home, and the Golden Eagles can climb back into the conversation.

Notre Dame at Virginia, 4 p.m., ACC Network: If the Irish win this game I could see them being in since Bonzie Colson would be a difference maker in the decision process. Lose, and Notre Dame will need to get to work in Brooklyn and probably win at least two games (one against a team heading to the NCAA tournament).

Kansas at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m., ESPN: I like the Cowboys’ resume. Sweep Kansas and it could be a moot point. Mike Boynton’s crew would be hard to keep out of the field.

TCU at Texas Tech, 4 p.m., ESPN2: TCU should be fine. The resume shows the Horned Frogs deserve a bid. Win at Texas Tech and there would be no question at all

Oregon at Washington, 4:30 p.m.: The Huskies need to sweep the Oregon schools for a chance to get a bid. And even then work must be done in Las Vegas. This would be a disastrous home loss for a team that needs to make more of an impression.

Louisville at NC State, 6 p.m., ESPN: The Wolfpack's resume is still too strong to dismiss. They’re in. Louisville has to come back from a crushing home loss to Virginia. Winning at NC State could/should change the narrative.

Arkansas at Missouri, 6 p.m., ESPN2: The Hogs are good to go. I think Mizzou is as well. But if some want another win from Missouri, beat Arkansas to silence them.

Marshall at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m.: The Blue Raiders may not need to win Conference USA’s tournament to get in, but they would make their case less compelling by dropping a home game to the Herd.

Colorado at Utah, 7 p.m.: Utah blew a chance to sweep its final three home games by losing to USC last week. They cannot fall to Colorado or the Utes are toast.

Wyoming at Boise State, 7 p.m.: Boise State’s at-large chances may have disappeared lately. Lose to Wyoming and they are definitely gone.

Nevada at San Diego State, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network: The Wolf Pack are safe — at least for me. Losing at SDSU shouldn’t crush their at-large potential. But it could put a dent in the case.

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