By Chris Carlson: Last Saturday should be called upset day because it featured 10 ranked teams falling to the waste side 7 via unranked. Add that to the overtime thrillers involving Purdue/Illinois & FSU/Duke along with a variety of close ones on Wednesday night made for a pretty damn good week of College Basketball. Over the next few days the Marquee Matchups mostly reside in the Big Ten, SEC, and Big-12.
Marquee Matchup on Saturday
#2 Auburn vs. 12 Kentucky: Kentucky looked like gangbusters last Saturday destroying Tennessee. That outing was the first time this season the Wildcats defeated a ranked program. The Tigers have strung together 14 wins in a row two coming against ranked opposition. If you heard coach Pearl after Auburn’s victory over Georgia it’s clear that his team is not settling because there so highly ranked. According to Vivid Seats the lowest priced ticket available is 430 dollars which should give you an idea of the buzz surrounding this game and this year’s deeper than normal SEC.
The Pick: Auburn finds a way to win a close game on the defensive end late.
Marquee Matchup on Monday
#7 Kansas vs. #18 Texas Tech: Earlier this season Texas Tech wasn’t able to get over the hump when facing top-flight programs. That all changed with wins over Kansas, Iowa State, & Tennessee. Having won 4 of their last 5 the Red Raiders are shaping into form at the right time. For over a decade the Jayhawks ruled the Big-12 but in the last few years the competition has been tough making for a more balanced league. In a conference that produced a national champion in Baylor it appears we might be in for another photo finish in league play. Texas Tech has more grit but playing at Allen Fieldhouse is enough for this sports podcaster to side with Kansas.
The Pick: In a guard heavy game Kansas comes out on top
Marquee Matchup on Tuesday
#14 Michigan State vs. #17 Illinois: The Fighting Illini started the Big Ten with a 6-0 record but finally lost to a very dangerous Purdue team early in the week. The Spartans look the part of a coach Izzo squad to an extent but got caught slipping losing a game at home to Northwestern. Michigan State plays #8 Wisconsin on Friday night if they lose that one Sparty will be desperate for a “W”. The experience level with Kofi Cockburn, Alfonso Plummer, and Trent Frazier will be too much for Illinois to lose back to back at home.
The Pick: A rough and tumble game is won by the Illini down the stretch.
Upset Special of the Week
#9 UCLA gets their groove back by beating #3 Arizona.
Under The Radar
#13 LSU vs. #24 Tennessee: Although both squads come into this matchup ranked in the Top-25 the SEC is so deep this year Tennessee and LSU stand tied at 3-3 in the conference. That along with the talent on both benches should make for a barnburner. Will LSU lose 3 games in a row? Can the Tigers beat the Volunteers again? This hack-of-a-scribe is siding with Tennessee having a poor shooting night in their first meeting so they will bounce back in the rematch.
The Pick: Tennessee improves on offense in the rematch just enough to win.
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Quick Hits Recap
-Texas Tech’s upset of then #1 Baylor snapped the Bears 21-game winning streak.
-A few days’ later Oklahoma State beat Baylor giving the Cowboys their first road victory versus a #1 AP ranked team in school history.
-Those two losses marked the first time a #1 ranked team has lost back to back home games.
-Seton Hall center Ike Obiagu recorded 7 blocks in a losing effort to Marquette.
-#2 Auburn extended their 2nd longest winning streak in the country with a quality win on the road at Alabama and in the process put the brakes on the Crimson Tide’s 17-game home wins in a row.
-In the latest Joe Lunardi Bracketology the Big-12 lead the way with 8 teams in a on his board. The Big Ten, SEC, and Big East our all tied with 7 teams and long way to go until March Madness.
*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