By Chris Carlson: Last week was highlighted by upsets and key wins from West Virginia, Indiana, and Oklahoma State. This week in the Big East and ACC we could get some clarity, also the Big-12 and Big Ten gives up several important matchups. It will be very interesting to see how Michigan looks as they comeback from their Covid-19 break.
Marquee Matchups on Saturday
#5 Villanova vs. #19 Creighton: Ever since the Wildcats had to take a Covid-19 break early in the season folks have been wondering how the Big East will shape up. Nova leads the Big East with a record of 13-2 overall but have five less games played then their opponent on Saturday. Creighton has yet to find their groove fully this year and dropping a game to Georgetown recently doesn’t help their case. Villanova’s last five games haven’t been anything special losing to only a solid St. Johns club. This is a close matchup on paper and this podcaster believes Creighton will finally put it all together at least on that day.
The Pick: Due a big win over a quality opponent Creighton wins in the closing minutes.
#12 Oklahoma vs. #14 West Virginia: Besides Baylor, these two teams are the hottest in the Big-12. The Sooners gauntlet for a schedule continues with this one on Saturday and still includes games against Texas, and back to back games with Oklahoma State to close the regular season. A win over Kansas, a close loss to rising Florida, and a sweep on Texas Tech has the Mountaineers sitting pretty in second place of the Big-12. The hotter team especially considering the teams played has been Oklahoma. That said it feels like West Virginia is heading in the right direction peaking as we hit the middle of February. In a back and forth affair look for West Virginia’s Miles McBride and company to knock down the key shots when it counts.
The Pick: It won’t be easy and quite possibly ugly but West Virginia comes thru in the clutch.
Marquee Matchup on Sunday
#3 Michigan vs. #21 Wisconsin: On the surface Michigan should be favored to win Sunday in a Big Ten matchup against the Badgers. Wolverines big man Hunter Dickinson is shooting 68% from the field and will be a handful for Wisconsin’s Micah Potter. The Badgers have been inconsistent this year dropping games to Penn State and Marquette. The last 3 times Wisconsin has faced a ranked team they were decisively beaten by Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois. The combination of the Badgers finally showing up to play versus a ranked AP-poll foe and Michigan coming off a Covid-19 stoppage lends itself to give Wisconsin the nod.
The Pick: Wisconsin stops the losing trend in high-profile games at the free throw line late.
Marquee Matchup on Monday
#9 Virginia vs. #17 Florida State: Let’s hope this ACC matchup is able to happen without a postponement. FSU had been on a 5 -game winning streak until they were caught slipping by Georgia Tech. Just as they began to heat up Florida State had two games postponed. Before Monday night the Seminoles will get a chance to get some rust off facing Wake Forest on Saturday. After a horrible 51-point offensive performance in a loss to the Orangemen of Syracuse Virginia has now bounce back with three wins in a row. Assuming the Cavilers get by North Carolina on Saturday Virginia will have a chance to gain leverage in the ACC standings. FSU averages 78 points a game and UV gives up less than 60 points a game setting the stage for a battle of strengths. If FSU can take advantage of second chance opportunities they will get the ‘W’.
The Pick: FSU out-rebounds Virginia and wins a razor-tight game down the stretch.
Upset Special for the Week
North Carolina knocks off #18 Virginia Tech is a game the Tarheels may be the favorite in by Tuesday night.
Under The Radar
#3 Michigan vs. #25 Rutgers: How will Michigan react to the break along with facing a quality Rutgers club makes for a hardcore barnburner that’s flying under the radar.
#12 Oklahoma vs. #13 Texas: The Sooners have been on their game while Texas tries to find theirs adding up to a great game all the way to the final buzzer.
Quick Hits Recap
-Illinois Guard Ayo Dosunmu recorded his 1st triple-double of his career and 3rd ever in school history with a dominate 75-60 victory over Wisconsin.
-In a loss to bitter-rival North Carolina, Duke gave up 29 points off turnovers the highest total in the last 15 years.
-At the 7:38 mark of the 2nd half, Missouri had 46 points in the paint compared to Alabama’s 44 total points.
-Let’s give Bama some credit for storming back with a 21-2 run albeit in a loss.
-Texas A&M missed their last 15 shots (0 for 9 from 3-pt) in the last 8 minutes and 50 seconds to LSU.
-A belated rest in peace to coaches John Chaney and John Thompson Jr.
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 & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio