Northwestern's NCAA Tournament Bubble Rooting Interests: 2/19/2012

With Northwestern sitting squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble, it's time for a new daily feature, in which I take a look at every game relevant to Northwestern's NCAA chances and tell you whom you should be rooting for.

Michigan St. Spartans at Purdue Boilermakers, Noon central, CBS

Team to root for: Michigan State

This is a tough one due to Purdue's sweep of Northwestern, but NU fans should be rooting for Michigan State. For one, Michigan State now has the inside track to the Big Ten title and if MSU were to win the Big Ten, that would make Northwestern's win over them all the more impressive. More importantly though, Purdue is still a bubble team and hasn't locked up a bid yet. The Boilermakers have a number of decent wins (highlighted by a win over Temple) but the one thing their resume lacks is a marquee scalp like Michigan State. They'll probably get in, but a collapse isn't out of the question, especially after losing Kelsey Barlow for the season.

South Florida Bulls at Pittsburgh Panthers, 6 PM central, ESPN2

Team to root for: Pittsburgh

After an abysmal non-conference performance that featured losses to Penn State, Auburn and Old Dominion, South Florida is somehow 9-4 in the Big East and in the NCAA discussion. Granted, all nine of those wins have been against teams with losing Big East records, with a home win over Seton Hall the only thing close to a quality win on their resume, but if they keep winning they could sneak their way into the tournament. A loss to struggling Pittsburgh would come close to ending their tournament hopes, however.

Oregon Ducks at Stanford Cardinal, 6:30 PM central, some FSN affiliates

Team to root for: Stanford

Oregon would probably have to win out until the Pac-12 title game to have a realistic chance at an at-large bid. I wonder if the Pac-12 petitioned to get themselves into Bracket Busters; the league could have used the opportunity to get some quality wins.

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