Last week College Basketball fans got a quality product with Auburn’s win over Kentucky standing out but also Marquette and Providence made noise in the Big East. The next several days is chock-full of great Marquee Matchups headlined by the Big-12 versus SEC Challenge.
#5 Kansas vs. #12 Kentucky: Since losing to Texas Tech early this month Kansas has strung together 5 wins, one being payback to the Red Raiders. And once again Jayhawks guard Ochai Agbaji led the way for Kansas on Big Monday in double overtime with 37 points. The Wildcats dropped a highly competitive game to the #1 team in Auburn. The silver lining to that loss was Kentucky staying right in the contest pretty much to the end without one of their two best players in TyTy Washington. Washington was on the court for less than ten minutes at Auburn and didn’t play at all in their overtime victory over Mississippi State. Heading into this game I would be very tempted to pick Kentucky but without knowing for sure if TyTy will play I stay on the safe side.
The Pick: Kansas wins as they close out this game down the stretch.
#6 Purdue vs. #16 Ohio State: All the focus this Sunday will be centered on the NFL conference finals. However, before the ball kicks off this Big Ten matchup will be interesting, to say the least. Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell leads his team in scoring but there is quite a bit of drop off after that. The combination of 7’4” almost 300-pound center Zach Edey and 6’10” 255-pound power forward Trevion Williams should be more than enough to contain Ohio State’s leading scorer. The question is who will step up for the Buckeyes? It will likely need to be more than just one player and that alone along with a hyper-active home court makes it difficult to pick against Purdue.
The Pick: The Boilermakers win cleanly in a game that gets out of hand sometime in the 2nd half.
#3 Arizona vs. #7 UCLA: On Tuesday night the UCLA Bruins basically waxed Arizona even though the Wildcats did make it a tad closer near the end. 4 out of the 5 Bruins starters hit double figures as UCLA made exactly 50% of their FG’s and 40% from 3-point land. On the other side of the desert Arizona was dreadful from the field as a team just 30% with Kerr Kriisa and Christian Koloko shooting a combined 5 of 34. This quick turnaround rematch will be played in Tucson and this college basketball junkie is willing to bet the game is much closer.
The Pick: UCLA wins again but this time finishing it in the last few minutes.
Mississippi State almost won on the road at Kentucky this time they get the job done by upsetting #13 Texas Tech.
# 17 Providence vs. #22 Marquette: We know the Big-12/SEC Challenge will clog up the Saturday schedule but don’t sleep on this Big East contest flying under the radar. Marquette had a helluva last week while Providence is out to their best start under Coach Cooley. The Golden Eagles got off to a great start back in November with a big win over Illinois but weren’t able to capitalize with another win or two against tough opposition. That all changed of course when they met Providence a few weeks back. Marquette smacked the Friars 88-56 and hasn’t looked back winning 7 in a row, 4 over ranked teams at the time. The only category Providence did better was offensive rebounds a product of shooting poorly.
The Pick: Providence makes it 14 wins in their last 15 outings
-Auburn defeated Kentucky thus earning the #1 spot in the AP Poll for the first time in school history.
-Also, it marks the Tigers beating Kentucky 3 times in a row for the first time since 1976.
-Providence moves to 17-2 their best start under Coach Cooley and lead the Big East at this point.
-Maryland scored a solid home victory over Illinois, prior to that the Fighting Illini had won 11 of their last 12 road games inside the Big Ten.
-Minnesota point guard Peyton Willis put up a career high 32 points and tied a school record knocking down 8 three-pointers in a big win over Rutgers.
-UCLA managed to hold Arizona 30 points below their season average.
-It has to be mentioned that woman’s basketball player from Kansas State Ayoka Lee went for 61 points.
*Note: The rankings used in this prediction article will not reflect the new Associated Press Top-25 rankings.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio or TheGruelingTruth.Com
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