By Chris Carlson – Last week the Arizona Wildcats & Kansas Jayhawks shined brightest in what was a fully-packed schedule. This week on the surface Saturday’s slate of games aren’t as strong as the last few however Tuesday night have been unbelievable with the Marquee Matchups and this week is no different. Buckle up for the rest of February as we are 4 weeks away from March Madness.
Marquee Matchup on Saturday
#12 UCLA vs. #21 USC: The leader of the Pac-12 race Arizona Wildcats defeated both of these teams last week. The Trojans only mustered up one double digit scorer in the loss to the Bruins and played like crap yet still were in the game. UCLA not only dropped one to Zona but then followed it up with a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss to a scrappy ASU club. Standing wise USC needs a win bad here with 4 conference losses, if the Trojans can win these teams will meet again in the last game of the regular season. In this equally matched game I will side with experience giving UCLA the edge just by a hair.
The Pick: The Bruins earn this quality road win in the last few minutes.
Marquee Matchups on Tuesday
#5 Kentucky vs. #19 Tennessee: The last time these two SEC squads met Kentucky demolished Tennessee 107-79. A deeper look under the surface shows the Volunteers didn’t play all that bad shooting 53% from the field and 48% from 3. However getting to the line 11 times and only making 6 compared to the Wildcats 20 of 21 adding in 20 turnovers gives Tennessee some hope. Winners of 9 out their last 10, Kentucky is likely due for a mediocre outing. The flip side is their crazy hot right now and would’ve won at Auburn if Ty Ty Washington finished the game instead of playing just 9 minutes.
The Pick: Something tells me Tennessee will find a way at home in OT.
#11 Providence vs. #15 Villanova: The Super Tuesday theme continues when the red-hot Friars come to town to face Nova. Heading into their game versus Depaul Providence has won 7 in a row one came over Marquette a team that smashed them in early January. Villanova would be in great position if weren’t for two losses to Marquette. This Big East matchup presents a chance to create separation for Providence having played 3 fewer games at this point. Only a ½ game back the Wildcats would love to win on the road while hosting the rematch in early March.
The Pick: Nova slows the roll of Providence in a very competitive game.
Marquee Matchup on Wednesday:
#9 Texas Tech vs. #10 Baylor: Ever since the Bears took an ‘L’ to Texas Tech the wheels have come off a bit. The next two games Baylor can turn the tide and get back on their good foot against #20 Texas and this one here. To be fair beyond the OKST loss the other two losses were on the road at Alabama and Kansas. The Red Raiders lost a nail-biter in double overtime to Kansas but were able to bounce back in beat a rising Texas team only to lose at Oklahoma by 15 points. If Texas Tech can get by TCU and Baylor the end of their schedule is favorable. The outcome could come down to if C.J. Cryer is back but I’m slightly leaning toward the home team
The Pick: Texas Tech protects their home floor in a game decide in the last 90 seconds.
Upset Special of the Week
St. Johns pulls off the upset over #24 UConn to make up for an overtime loss to the Huskies about a month ago.
College Ball Show: Recap, Debate, & Predictions! UCLA Back to Back Losses? 02/07 by RopeADopeRadio | Sports (blogtalkradio.com)
Under The Radar
#10 Baylor vs. #20 Texas: Texas beat Kansas and now looks to finish strong while Baylor tries to right the ship during a challenging stretch.
#2 Gonzaga vs. #22 Saint Mary’s: BYU got smoked last week so the question is can anyone stay with the Zags for at least a half of basketball in this conference?
Quick Hits Recap
-Arizona’s wins over UCLA and USC gives the Wildcats 15 straight wins at home good for the longest conference active streak since Zona won 21 in a row.
-When Kansas handily defeated Baylor is was the first loss by the Bears versus a Top-10 opponent after 9 consecutive victories prior to the bad ‘L’.
-Kansas now leads the nation with the most Quadrant 1 wins standing at 8.
-Coming off the bench for Providence was Jared Bynum scoring 32 points going 7 of 8 from the arc in a sound beating over the Hoyas.
-Georgetown has now lost a school record 12 games in a row.
-Gonzaga’s center Chet Holmgren is shooting 64% from the 3-point line over the last 7 games.
-Arkansas snapped Auburn’s 19-game winning streak while the Hogs have won 9 in a row.
-Auburn center Walker Kessler had 16 points, 19 boards, & 7 blocks in a losing effort.
*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 & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio