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.
Who's the second best team in the Big Ten? The SEC? The ACC? We'll get at least some temporary answers to those questions tonight.
In the Big Ten, Purdue visits the Kohl Center to play a Wisconsin team looking to bounce back from their loss at Penn State on Saturday. The Boilermakers have a game and a half lead over the Badgers for second place in conference, and if they have designs on catching Ohio State, they probably need this game. That won't be an easy task against a Wisconsin team that is undefeated at home, a mark that includes wins over Minnesota and Illinois. In the SEC, Vanderbilt plays at Florida in a game that features two teams looking to regroup after bad losses over the weekend. The Gators are slightly ahead of Vandy on our S-curve this week, and if they can win this game and they beat Kentucky at home this weekend, an argument could be made for Florida to be the lowest-seeded SEC team.
Finally, in the ACC, North Carolina plays at BC in what is a key game for both teams. The Tar Heels have won eight of nine, are alone in second place in conference, and are up to a 6 seed in our latest bracket. They can put a little more room between themselves and Florida State in the ACC pecking order if than can win this one. The Eagles, meanwhile, have been trending the other way. They've lost three of four (all on the road), and they'll need at least a split this week (they host Virginia Tech on Saturday) to avoid slipping onto the bubble.
The biggest bubble game of the night is Penn State at Illinois. The Nittany Lions jumped into the field this week after their big win over Wisconsin, but their spot is by no means safe. Their road schedule is very difficult from here on out, and they are going to have to win at least one road game to impress the committee and to get to 10-8 in conference. They have to like their chances tonight against an Illini team that has lost four of five, which includes a road loss to Penn State back on Jan. 11.
Also keep an eye on: Kansas at Texas Tech, Kentucky at Mississippi, Wake Forest at Florida State, Wichita State at Indiana State, New Mexico at Air Force