The Spartans got smoked by the now-league champion Wolverines 69-50. The second game will take place Sunday in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State does not necessarily need to beat Michigan to get into the NCAA Tournament but a victory over the Spartans would go a long way toward safety.
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It figures to be a very busy day in bubble land. The six lowest-rated potential at-large teams in the bracket are in play Friday, mostly in two conference tournaments. For those teams, it is too early for their season to end.
The games start early and go deep into the night, so buckle up for a long day of action.
Here are the bubble teams in action Friday. All times Eastern
|vs. Duquesne in Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals, 11 a.m. (NBC Sports Network) -- The Bonnies enter the Atlantic 10 Tournament as the top seed and because of that, they are in my bracket as the automatic qualifier. A loss to the Dukes would deal a significant blow to their NCAA Tournament hopes though. St. Bonaventure needs to get deep enough into this tournament to face the other NCAA contenders in the A-10.|
|vs. Southern Illinois in Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals, 12 p.m. (ESPN+) -- Loyola is also the top seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The Ramblers have some gaudy metrics, but do not have the resume to back it up. The Salukis took Loyola to overtime last weekend. The Ramblers should not play with fire again.|
|vs. UMass in Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals, 1:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network) -- The Billikens played a COVID-ravaged schedule and need to pick up some wins against better teams, especially away from home. The Minutemen are not quite in that category. SLU pummeled UMass to end the regular season.|
|vs. Dayton in Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals, 3:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network) -- VCU is the only potential NCAA team in the A-10 that has failed to lose to Dayton so far. The Rams picked up a season sweep of the Flyers in the regular season. They cannot afford to lose to them now, especially since this game is being played at home.|
|vs. Northern Iowa in Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals, 6 p.m. (ESPN+) -- Drake got some bad news Thursday when it learned that its best player, ShanQuan Hemphill, will not be available for Arch Madness. Point guard Roman Penn is already out for the season, so the Bulldogs are playing without their two best players and a very short bench. They may have to win the MVC to get into the NCAAs.|
|vs. Old Dominion, 8 p.m. (CBS Sports Network on Facebook) -- Conference USA leader Western Kentucky finishes with a two-game home series with Old Dominion. The Hilltoppers' at-large hopes are sketchy at best and would not survive a loss to the Monarchs.|
|at Wake Forest, 8 p.m. (ACC Network) -- The Yellow Jackets have made a late-season run to the bracket, but still have work to do if they wish to stay there. Wake Forest has not been very good this season as demonstrated by the fact that the Demon Deacons have yet to pick up a Quad 1 or 2 win in the ACC. Georgia Tech cannot be the first if it wants to make the Big Dance.|
|at Nevada, 9 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) -- Colorado State had its regular-season series with Nevada postponed due to COVID issues, but the Rams will get to make up one of those games Friday. They split the season series with the other three NCAA contenders in the Mountain West, but are 3-4 in Quads 1 and 2. This would be another Quad 2 loss if it happened and would likely move CSU down the bracket some.|