Last week featured a common theme of unranked teams upsetting the likes of Villanova, Creighton, Virginia Tech, and that’s just from the weekday not even mentioning all the way back to the weekend. This week several marquee matchups have a chance to give a big boost to some teams come mid-March for in the SEC, Big Ten, and Big-12. Luckily College Basketball has held up under Covid-19 to an extent anyway but winning percentages will be the final outcome in many conference regular-season races.
#10 Alabama vs. #18 Missouri: If anyone’s going to catch up to Alabama in the SEC race (not going to happen) this is a must-win for the Tigers. Forget about chasing a league title, if Missouri can win at home it would add another important win to a resume that already includes Illinois, Tennessee, and Oregon. For Alabama, a victory would further the separation from a bad non-conference run and help their case for a higher seed in the Big Dance. Let’s not forget Bama has only 1 victory over ranked opponents whereas the Tigers have 3. The Crimson Tide have been scorching from 3-point land, even forward Herbert Jones is shooting from behind that arc at an almost 47% mark. This game will come down Missouri being able to contain Alabama offensively enough to keep them around 70.
#12 Illinois vs. #19 Wisconsin: Talk about a crucial game for both teams with the Illini sitting at 8-3 and the Badgers at 8-4 in the Big Ten standings. Randomly both have losses to Ohio State but Wisconsin somehow lost to Penn State, however did follow it up with a convincing win to the Nittany Lions the very next outing. As we know from top to bottom the Big Ten conference is the hardest so maybe we shouldn’t judge them too deeply. Badger big man Micah Potter will have to hit some outside shots to keep Illini’s Kofi Cockburn out of the lane as much as possible. Which guard will make more plays down the stretch D,mitrik Trice or Ayo Dosunmu? At home and playing great of late lends itself to favoring Illinois.
#13 Texas Tech vs. #17 West Virginia: The last time these Big-12 foes met it came all the way down to the wire and with 6 seconds remaining Miles McBride scored the go-ahead bucket to secure the win for the Mountaineers. Considering how good West Virginia played in that game it shouldn’t have come down to the last shot. WV shot nearly 58% from the field and 12-19 from the 3-point line, also getting to the free-throw line 27 times but only converting 16 of those trips to points. The Red Raiders will need more from their starting lineup then just Mac McClung and this podcaster believes he will get exactly that this time around. Even if the Mountaineers shoot better from the line it’s highly unlikely they shoot that well from the field in the rematch.
LSU upsets a hot and now 22nd ranked Florida club. The Tigers finally won’t fall short facing a quality team as they have of late.
#6 Texas vs. Oklahoma State: Don’t let the Cowboys losing 3 out of 4 games earlier in the year or a recent TCU slip up fool you. Texas is still trying to find their groove after a Covid-19 spread that has limited practice time and available players. That said the scrappy Oklahoma State squad will be in this one until the end.
-The unbeaten Baylor Bears have the most victories at 17 by 8 or more points tying the UNLV Runnin Rebels from the 1990-91.
-Iowa stud Matt Garza moved to 2nd all-time points in school history totaling 2009. He also has 41-straight games of scoring 10+ points.
-Michigan State has now lost 4 games in a row for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
-Heading into a normally hyped North Carolina vs. Duke the Blue Devils have the advantage 51-49 and 7,818 points to 7,804 in the last 100 meetings.
-Adding another layer to the UNC/Duke rivalry, this will be the first time since 1960 these two will face off without either being ranked in the AP Poll.
-Texas A&M missed their final 15 shots from the field in the last 8 minutes and 50 seconds in a loss to LSU.
Note: The rankings used in this prediction article will not reflect Monday’s 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 Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio