Thursday's Big Ten clash between Purdue and Wisconsin means a lot more to the Badgers.
Wisconsin needs a win over one of the top teams in the country to feel more comfortable about its position in the NCAA men's basketball tournament field.
However, Purdue can draw some motivation for the trip to Madison as well, even though it already secured the Big Ten regular-season title.
The Boilermakers lost three straight road games in February and they could use a road win to bolster their own morale going into the tournament season.
Purdue is by far the better team, and if it finds a way to end its road struggles, it should easily cover.
Thursday CBB Picks
Overall Record: 160-158-8
Marist at Iona (-16) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Iona enters Thursday on a nine-game winning streak in which it won seven games by double figures.
The Gaels held Marist to 57 points on January 6 and they have not let an opponent get over 70 points in the last eight games.
Iona averages 13 points per game more than Marist, and if the defense shows up again, the Gaels could win by 20 or more at home.
Loyola (MD) at Colgate (-16) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Patriot League First Round
Colgate is the team to beat in the Patriot League.
The Raiders should cruise at home against No. 8 Loyola (MD), a team that they beat 101-67 and 76-63 in two regular-season meetings.
Colgate scored at least 75 points in each of its last four home games, while Loyola has been held under 70 points in six of its last seven road games.
Eastern Kentucky at Liberty (-12.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Atlantic Sun Semifinal
Liberty at home is a near automatic bet for me.
The Flames won all 10 of their Atlantic Sun home games by double figures. They beat Eastern Kentucky by 10 a few weeks ago in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Eastern Kentucky scores two points more per game than Liberty, but is has been well under its average of 77.5 PPG in its road losses. EKU did not score more than 75 points in its five A-Sun road losses.
If EKU's offense is neutralized, Liberty could open up yet another double-digit advantage inside Liberty Arena.
Florida Atlantic (-8.5) at Rice (8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
Florida Atlantic just beat Rice by nine points a few weeks ago.
Rice lost seven of its last nine games, and four of those defeats came against the top three teams in Conference USA.
Rice had an average margin of defeat of 16.25 in those contests.
Purdue (-4) at Wisconsin (9 p.m. ET, FS1)
This is simply a motivational spot for Purdue.
The Boilermakers can quell some of the criticism surrounding them by going into Madison and beating Wisconsin.
Purdue has not won a road game since January 26, and this will be its last chance to prove it can beat a worse team away from home. The rest of Purdue's games will be at home or a neutral site.
Wisconsin is not like other Big Ten teams that are fantastic at home. The Badgers are 5-4 inside the Kohl Center with losses to Rutgers, Northwestern and Illinois since January 28.
The Badgers can still get into the NCAA tournament with some wins in Chicago at the Big Ten tournament, but the big win they need will not come on Thursday night.
Memphis at SMU (Over 154) (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Memphis is one of the fastest-paced teams in college basketball.
The Tigers could give a higher seed some trouble in the NCAA tournament with its scoring pace and guard play from Alex Lomax and Kendric Davis.
Memphis put up 99 points on SMU in their first meeting, and both teams give up over 74 points per game. The game should be played at a breakneck pace and Memphis should eventually pull away.
Arizona at USC (Over 155) (11 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Arizona averages 83.3 points per game.
USC averages 72.7 points per game.
I'm staying up late to watch this Pac-12 battle and want to see points.
If not, I'm turning the game off at halftime and forgetting it existed.