Five of the eight SEC teams in action on Super Tuesday could use some work on their NCAA tournament resumes.
Entering Tuesday, Auburn and Missouri are listed as No. 8 seeds by ESPN's Joe Lunardi, Arkansas and Kentucky are on the last four byes line and Texas A&M is the first team out.
Arkansas and Kentucky's clash inside Rupp Arena carries the most significance of the three in-focus matchups in the SEC. The Razorbacks almost stumbled on the road at South Carolina on Saturday, and that could lead to some resistance in betting them, but they could be a frisky underdog against a Kentucky side that has been more consistent in the last three weeks.
Texas A&M's only losses since Christmas came against Arkansas and Kentucky. The Aggies have risen up the SEC standings and their defense could be critical in shutting down an Auburn team that was held to 43 points by Tennessee on Saturday.
As for Missouri, it just needs to take care of business as a double-digit favorite against South Carolina, who might have put all its energy into trying to beat Arkansas at home.
The rest of Tuesday's schedule carries a ton of NCAA tournament implications in other conferences. The spots I chose to focus on were in the Big Ten, MAC and Mountain West.
Tuesday College Basketball Plays
Overall Record: 99-98-6 (1-1 Monday)
Rutgers (+4.5) at Indiana (6:30 p.m. ET, BTN)
This is strictly an emotional fade of Indiana.
The Hoosiers earned their biggest win of the season at home against rival Purdue on Saturday.
Tuesday's clash with Rutgers, the second-best team in the Big Ten, screams let down spot for the Hoosiers.
The Scarlet Knights have a fantastic defense, which ranks second in adjusted efficiency on KenPom, and they could go into Bloomington and pick up a win.
I think Indiana will be competitive at some stage late in the first half, or early in the second stanza, but it will have to play from behind at that stage.
Auburn at Texas A&M (-3) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Texas A&M went into Auburn two weeks ago and picked up a 16-point victory.
The Aggies have controlled most of their SEC games with strong defense. They earned seven of their eight SEC wins by holding opponents under 65 points. Vanderbilt had 66 points in its loss to A&M.
Auburn's brutal 43-point performance in Knoxville on Saturday is already forgotten by everyone.
However, the Tigers still have some offensive issues. They rank 354th in three-point offense on KenPom. They have a 28.8 shooting percentage from deep, which is the worst number of any power-conference team.
A&M does not have a great three-point offense either, as it shoots 31.8 from deep, but it more than makes up for that offensive inefficiency with its defense.
I think you will see Auburn's offense come away frustrated from this game, although maybe not with a 43-point performance, and for A&M to get closer to a solidified spot in the field of 68.
Louisville at Pittsburgh (-15.5) (7 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Nine of Louisville's 11 ACC defeats have come by double-digit margins.
Pittsburgh defeated the Cardinals in Louisville by 21 points on January 18 and a similar fate will likely await the visitors in western Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh is better in every facet of the game and an easy double-digit win could help set the course for a smooth next week-and-a-half that also features games against Florida State and Boston College.
Toledo at Akron (-2) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Defense wins tight games and Akron has a much better defensive unit than Toledo.
The Zips give up 62.7 points per game compared to Toledo's 77.6 points allowed per contest.
Akron also has not lost at home this season, and I think that gives the Zips another edge in a game that could create some separation at the top of the MAC. Akron is one game ahead of Kent State and Toledo.
South Carolina at Missouri (-15.5) (9 p.m. Et, SEC Network)
South Carolina's claim to fame this season is a road win over Kentucky.
The Gamecocks have lost seven straight games since that upset and they have covered twice in that span.
Missouri is gearing up for the NCAA tournament, and it has built a nice resume with some strong home wins. The Tigers have a single loss at home to Alabama in league play and they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games in Columbia.
Missouri averages 18 more points per game than the Gamecocks and it could outpace its conference foe fairly quickly in the first half.
Arkansas (+5.5) at Kentucky (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
I think Arkansas' almost-slip-up at South Carolina on Saturday has more to do with its offense.
The Hogs still held South Carolina to 63 points, but they shot 26.7 percent from three-point range.
Arkansas' defense has not allowed more than 70 points in its last five games, and I believe that is the unit that keeps it in the contest in Lexington.
Kentucky can still win, but it will have some trouble dealing with Arkansas' intensity on defense.
Nevada at New Mexico (-4) (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Nevada struggled on the road in Mountain West play.
The Wolf Pack lost to San Diego State by nine points, fell to Boise State by 15 and dropped a six-point loss to UNLV.
That record does not bode well for the Wolf Pack as they enter The Pit on Tuesday to face a New Mexico side that needs to bounce back after suffering two road defeats in its last three games, one of which was to Nevada.