Bracket Banter is our daily open thread to discuss all things bracket. Readers can post comments and questions during the night's games, and we will answer those questions as the night goes on.
It's a big night for several teams jockeying for position in their respective leagues, and it's an even bigger night for a handful of teams who have taken up residence on the bubble. The headline game of the night is Texas A&M at Texas, the winner of which can claim (for now, at least) the title of second best team in the Big XII. The Aggies are coming off a big home win over Missouri, while the Longhorns are beginning their toughest two-game stretch of the year - they make a trip to Lawrence to face the second-ranked Jayhawks on Saturday.
There are two huge games in the Big East tonight as well, as St John's plays at Louisville and Cincinnati plays at Notre Dame. The Bearcats have lost by double digits in both of their Big East road games so far (Villanova and Syracuse), and if they have an 0-2 week this week (they play at St. John's on Saturday), the Big East will likely be back to a 10-bid league on Monday.
Elsewhere in the power conferences, newly minted No. 1 Ohio State hosts Iowa, and the old No. 1, Duke, plays another tricky road game at North Carolina State. Also in the ACC, Florida State plays at Miami in what will likely be a big result for both down the road, and Virginia plays at Boston College. In the Big Ten, Penn State looks to continue its solid play of late as they travel to Purdue. The Nittany Lions have played really well of late and nearly upset Ohio State on the road their last time out. If they were to get a victory in Mackey Arena, a case could be made for them to get a bid in next week's bracket.
There are several important games involving mid-majors tonight as well. The biggest of those games is the C-USA battle between Memphis and Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss replaced Memphis as the league's automatic bid in our latest bracket thanks to a home win over UCF on Saturday. If the Golden Eagles can beat the Tigers tonight, they will have a big leg up in the race for the C-USA regular season title. In the MVC, Missouri State faces a tough road test at surprising Indiana State, and our last team in, Wichita State, hosts Northern Iowa. In the A-10, bracket newcomer Xavier plays at St. Bonaventure and bracket dropout Richmond hosts George Washington.
Also keep an eye on: Air Force at San Diego State, Iowa State at Oklahoma State, Colorado State at UNLV, Marshall at West Virginia, Mississippi at Vanderbilt, Penn at Temple, San Diego at St. Mary's, James Madison at Old Dominion, Arkansas at South Carolina, New Mexico at Utah