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What's ahead for area college basketball teams heading down the stretch

Richard Skinner projects the final regular-season records for area college basketball teams and what it means for their postseason chances. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament is now less than six weeks away and here is a look at area college basketball teams and what lies ahead for them in their chances at enhancing their seed line or for their conference tournament seed:

XAVIER

  • Record: 19-3, 7-2 Big East.
  • Key Games Remaining: Feb. 6 at Butler (15-7, 5-4); Feb. 10 at Creighton (17-5, 7-3); Feb. 14 vs. Seton Hall (16-5, 5-3); Feb. 17 vs. Villanova (20-1, 7-1); Feb. 28 vs. Providence (14-7, 5-3).
  • Other Games Remaining: Jan. 30 at St. John's (10-12. 0-10); Feb. 3 vs. Georgetown (13-8, 3-7); Feb. 21 at Georgetown; March 3 at DePaul (9-12, 2-7).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): No. 2.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 26-5, 14-4/No. 2 seed.
  • The Skinny: The Musketeers have a pretty favorable schedule down the stretch - or at least as favorable as it can be in the Big East. They have three of their toughest five games left at home (Seton Hall, Villanova and Providence) and will be big favorites in their four games against the bottom three teams in the league (St. John's, Georgetown and DePaul). A 7-2 finish seems likely, but 8-1 isn't out of the question and neither is 5-4. A 7-2 finish will lead to a No. 2 seed, while a 5-4 finish could lead to a No. 3 seed.

CINCINNATI

  • Record: 19-2, 8-0 American Athletic Conference.
  • Key Games Remaining: Jan. 31 vs. Houston (16-4, 6-2); Feb. 11 at SMU (15-7, 5-4); Feb. 15 at Houston; Feb. 18 vs. Wichita State (17-4, 7-2); March 4 at Wichita State.
  • Other Games Remaining: Feb. 3 at UConn (11-10, 4-4); Feb. 6 vs. UCF (13-7, 4-4); Feb. 22 vs. UConn; Feb. 25 vs. Tulsa (11-10, 4-5); March 1 at Tulane (12-8, 3-5).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): No. 4 seed.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 26-5, 15-3/No. 4 seed.
  • The Skinny: The Bearcats have a very difficult schedule remaining. They have been outstanding at home so we will give them five wins in their final five home games (which includes Houston and Wichita State), but road games at Houston, Wichita State and SMU will be very tough to win and the Bearcats can't slip up at UConn or Tulane and probably won't. If UC goes 9-1 or even 10-0 over the final 10 games then it will definitely work its way up to a solid No. 3 seed and perhaps into the conversation for a No. 2 seed.

KENTUCKY

  • Record: 16-5, 5-3 SEC.
  • Key Games Remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Tennessee (15-5, 5-3); Feb. 14 at Auburn (19-2, 7-1); Feb. 17 vs. Alabama (14-7, 5-3); Feb. 20 at Arkansas (15-6, 4-4); March 3 at Florida (15-6, 6-2).
  • Other Games Remaining: Jan. 30 vs. Vanderbilt (8-13, 2-6); Feb. 3 at Missouri (13-8, 3-5); Feb. 10 at Texas A&M (13-8, 2-6); Feb. 24 vs. Missouri; Feb. 28 vs. Mississippi (11-10, 4-4).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): No. 5 seed.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 24-7, 13-5/No. 5 seed.
  • The Skinny: Saturday's win over West Virginia was huge, but the Wildcats still have a very tough road ahead with three road games against NCAA Tournament teams (Auburn, Arkansas and Florida), home games against two more (Tennessee and Alabama) and three other games against teams on the bubble (Texas A&M and Missouri twice). A 6-2 finish is projected, but 5-3 is more likely and 3-5 isn't out of the question. The Wildcats could play their way up to a No. 3 seed or slip to a No. 6.

NKU

  • Record:15-7, 8-2 Horizon League.
  • Key Games Remaining: Feb. 16 at Wright State (17-6, 9-1); Feb. 23 at Illinois-Chicago (12-11, 7-3).
  • Other Games Remaining: Feb. 1 at Youngstown State (6-17); Feb. 3 at Cleveland State (5-18, 2-8); Feb. 8 vs. Milwaukee (12-13, 5-7); Feb. 10 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (10-15, 5-7); Feb. 19 vs. Youngstown State; Feb. 25 at IUPUI (7-14, 4-6).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): Not in NCAA Tournament.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 22-8, 15-3/Not in NCAA Tournament.
  • The Skinny: The Norse will have to win the Horizon League Tournament in order to earn a second straight NCAA Tournament berth, but if they can win the regular-season title it will secure a berth in the NIT. The Norse have two tough games left: at Wright State and at Illinois-Chicago. They must beat Wright State to avoid the season sweep and even things in the race for the regular-season title. They will be a significant favorite in their other six games, and can't afford to slip up in any of those. It's hard to see the Norse going any worse than 6-2 in their final eight games and an 8-0 finish isn't out of the question.

OHIO STATE

  • Record: 18-5, 9-1 Big Ten.
  • Key Games Remaining: Jan. 30 vs. Indiana (12-10, 5-5); Feb. 7 at Purdue (21-2, 10-0); Feb. 14 at Penn State (15-8, 5-5); Feb. 18 at Michigan (18-6, 7-4); Feb. 23 at Indiana.
  • Other Games Remaining: Feb. 4 vs. Illinois (11-11, 1-8); Feb. 10 vs. Iowa (11-12, 2-8); Feb. 20 vs. Rutgers (12-11, 2-8).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): No. 5 seed.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 23-8, 14-4/No. 6 seed.
  • The Skinny: The Buckeyes are playing the rest of the regular season to try to improve their NCAA Tournament seed and attain a good seed for Big Ten Conference Tournament. A 5-3 finish is projected and that would be enough to get at least a No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and earn the double bye into the quarterfinal round. They should easily win over Illinois, Iowa and Rutgers and are favored to beat Indiana at home. That means they would have to win one of the other four games - all of which are on the road - to go 5-3, and that might be a tall task.

INDIANA

  • Record: 12-10, 5-5 Big Ten.
  • Key Games Remaining: Jan. 30 at Ohio State (18-5, 9-1); Feb. 3 vs. Michigan State (20-3, 8-2); Feb. 20 at Nebraska (17-8, 8-4); Feb. 23 vs. Ohio State.
  • Other Games Remaining: Feb. 5 at Rutgers (12-11, 2-8); Feb. 9 vs. Minnesota (14-9, 3-7); Feb. 14 vs. Illinois (11-11, 1-8); Feb. 17 at Iowa (11-12, 2-8).
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): Not in tournament.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 18-12, 11-7/Not in tournament.
  • The Skinny: The Hoosiers are going to need to win the Big Ten Tournament to earn an NCAA Tournament berth and in order to do that they need to strive for as high a seed as possible for the conference tournament. They are currently tied for the No. 6 seed and could get as high as No. 4 with a 6-2 finish. That would earn them the coveted double bye into the quarterfinal round. A 6-2 finish hinges on them going 2-2 in the key games left (3-1 is possible, but so too is 1-3) and then sweeping the other four games, which is very likely.

MIAMI

  • Record: 11-10, 4-4 MAC.
  • Key Games Remaining: Jan. 30 vs. Akron (10-10, 3-5); Feb. 10 vs. Toledo (15-6, 7-1); Feb. 20 vs. Buffalo (16-5, 8-0); Feb. 24 at Akron; Feb. 27 at Kent State (11-10, 5-3).
  • Other Games Remaining: Feb. 3 at Northern Illinois (10-11, 3-5); Feb. 6 at Western Michigan (12-9, 4-4); Feb. 13 at Eastern Michigan (12-9, 3-5); Feb. 17 at Ohio (9-11, 2-6); March 2 vs. Ohio .
  • Current NCAA Tournament Seed (per BracketMatrix.com): Not in tournament.
  • Final Projected Regular-Season Record/NCAA seed heading into conference tournament: 16-15, 9-9/Not in tournament.
  • The Skinny: The RedHawks will have to win the Mid-American Conference Tournament in order to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. Even if they fall short of doing that first-year head coach Jack Owens has a chance to lead Miami to its first winning record since the 2008-09 season with a .500 finish the rest of the regular season and then one win in the MAC Tournament. A sweep of Ohio is probably essential to doing that and a win over either Toledo or Buffalo will probably be needed, as will at least a split with Akron.
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