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Weekend games that could affect Maryland’s NCAA Tournament seeding

Here are the contests you should be watching as Selection Sunday creeps closer.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs Gonzaga Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After its loss at Rutgers Tuesday night, No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball has been sliding in the latest NCAA Tournament bracket projections.

While the most crucial aspect in the Terps moving back up is a win against No. 25 Michigan Sunday, here are some weekend games that could have an effect as well. These aren’t all the games programs competing for seeding with Maryland are playing, but the ones that have the biggest chance to go in the team’s favor.

No. 24 Wisconsin at Indiana: Saturday, 12 p.m. (ESPN)

While neither of these teams could steal a NCAA Tournament seeding spot from the Terps, the result here decides the Big Ten regular season championship as No. 24 Wisconsin is currently tied with No. 9 Maryland and No. 16 Michigan State for first place.

Regardless of the results for the Terps and Spartans Sunday, a win here for the Badgers secures them at least a share of the title. Wisconsin losing is clearly the more ideal outcome for Maryland.

At first glance, the Badgers appear to have the upper hand. They have won seven straight games and beat the Hoosiers by 20 points earlier this season. But that matchup was the first conference game of the season on Dec. 7, plus it was at Wisconsin. Assembly Hall is one of the toughest venues to travel to in college basketball, and the Hoosiers are 15-3 there this season — including five wins over ranked opponents.

ESPN BPI: Indiana has a 56 percent chance to win
KenPom: Indiana has a 56 percent chance to win
Odds: Indiana -2, O/U 130 (as of Friday night)

No. 6 Kentucky at Florida: Saturday, 1 p.m. (CBS)

While ESPN’s Joe Lunardi knocked the Terps down from a 2-seed to a 4-seed in his latest projections, No. 6 Kentucky barely budged after losing to Tennessee on its home floor, staying at a 3-seed.

The Wildcats have only lost two consecutive games once this season — against Utah and Ohio State back in early December — but Florida has the potential to cause some trouble here. The Gators haven’t lost at home since Jan. 28 against Mississippi State, and they’re 11-3 at Exactech Arena this season.

Kentucky came away with a 65-59 victory in the pair’s last matchup at Rupp Center on Feb. 22, but it was certainly a close one. There were 11 lead changes and 10 ties throughout the contest, and Florida was only down two points with 19 seconds remaining.

Currently in a three-way tie for second place in the SEC with No. 17 Auburn and LSU, the Gators have much more at stake here too. And this is the type of win that could vastly boost their tournament resume.

ESPN BPI: Florida has a 67.4 percent chance to win
KenPom: Florida has a 62 percent chance to win
Odds: Florida -3, O/U 136.5 (as of Friday night)

No. 8 Seton Hall at No. 11 Creighton: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. (FOX)

At this point, it looks like No. 8 Seton Hall will be seeded ahead of the Terps, as Lunardi has the team at No. 7 overall compared to Maryland at No. 13 overall. If the Pirates drop this one and then lose their first game of the Big East tournament, maybe that changes, but for now, No. 11 Creighton is a bigger threat at No. 14 overall in Lunardi’s projections.

So while this game doesn’t have as big as an effect on the Terps’ seeding as the rest, a win for the Pirates is slightly more preferable.

Each team should come into this one motivated, as the Blue Jays are just one game back in the Big East standings and could end the season with a share of the regular season title with a win. And of course, the Pirates will look to keep it to themselves. Seton Hall will also be looking to avenge the last matchup between these two teams, as it suffered an 87-82 loss at home.

ESPN BPI: Creighton has a 64.9 percent chance to win
KenPom: Creighton has a 62 percent chance to win
Odds: Creighton -3.5, O/U 151.5 (as of Friday night)

No. 10 Louisville at No. 22 Virginia: Saturday, 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Louisville is currently projected five spots above Maryland by Lunardi as the No. 8 overall seed, so a loss for the Cardinals to No. 22 Virginia combined with a win for the Terps could be big — especially given that Maryland is in a much stronger conference.

These two teams are on opposite trajectories right now, with one streaking and the other looking shaky. The Cavaliers have won seven consecutive games, including a win over then-No. 7 Duke on Feb. 29, while Louisville has lost three of its last five.

With their recent defeats, the Cardinals are in tight spot for the ACC regular season title, currently tied in first place with No. 7 Florida State, and the Cavaliers sit just on game back.

The two programs last met on Feb. 8, a home matchup for the then-No. 5 Cardinals that resulted in a 80-73 victory. Virginia will look to use its home court to its advantage this time around and clinch a share of the championship.

ESPN BPI: Louisville has a 56.9 percent chance to win
KenPom: Louisville has a 54 percent chance to win
Odds: Virginia -1, O/U 114.5 (as of Friday night)

No. 19 Ohio State at No. 16 Michigan State: Sunday 4:30 p.m. (CBS)

As mentioned above, No. 16 Michigan State is currently tied with No. 9 Maryland and No. 24 Wisconsin for first place in the Big Ten, so this is another game that directly affects the conference championship. And with Lunardi bumping the Spartans to a 3-seed over the Terps, this could have big implications on NCAA Tournament seeding as well.

This is an especially unpredictable matchup because both of these teams are surging right now. Plus, it will be the first time they’ve faced each other this season.

The Buckeyes have won six of their last seven, including their last five contests. The two biggest wins of that stretch both came at home though, with Ohio State taking down then-No. 7 Maryland on Feb. 23 and No. 23 Illinois on March 5. With the only loss in that span coming at then-No. 20 Iowa on Feb. 20, the question is whether the Buckeyes can come through away from their home court.

The Spartans have won five of their last six, and interestingly enough, their only loss during that stretch came in East Lansing, Michigan, against none other than the Terps. Tom Izzo’s squad has been through the ringer to end the season, but has hit its stride with wins over then-No. 22 Illinois, No. 9 Maryland and No. 20 Penn State on the road, as well as No. 18 Iowa at home.

So needless to say, this should be a really exciting matchup.

ESPN BPI: Michigan State has a 72.4 percent chance to win
KenPom: Michigan State has a 65 percent chance to win
Odds: N/A (as of Friday night)