By Chris Carlson
This season College Basketball fans have become accustomed to expect the unexpected. Hate to sound like a broken record but considering the Top-3 teams in the country loss last week there’s simply no choice. This 2017-18 college hoops season is so unpredictable even the new #1 team took a loss.
Marquee Matchup on Saturday
#3 Villanova vs. #4 Xavier: A Big East afternoon showdown with a league title on the line. Not just meaningful in the Big East, the winner can go a long way in securing a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The last time these two locked-horns it was one-sided beat down by the hands of Villanova. Xavier took that loss in stride rattling-off 9 in a row against solid opponents.
Villanova has lost two of their last three games, going 17-71 from the 3-point arc and it appears Phil Booth’s injury has mattered some. The rematch will be much closer and Xavier is 8-0 in games decided by 6 points or less. Look for this to be a well played ball game with plenty of ebbs and flows.
The Pick: Back against the wall mode will ignite Nova to a close victory.
#13 Kansas vs. #20 West Virginia: West Virginia took a nose dive a few weeks back losing 3 games in a row via ugly fashion. The Mountaineers have since gained some confidence and ground in the Big-12. Per usual, Kansas is in the hunt for their 14th consecutive conference crown. Toss up outcome but this is usually when the Jayhawks turn on the switch. Look for this game to be a game of offensive spurts and lapses, not pretty but really hard fought.
The Pick: Kansas won’t lose a fourth game at home and win in overtime.
Marquee Matchups on Sunday
#12 Duke vs. #11 Clemson: Clemson is the surprise team in the ACC and remain quietly in contention. The Blue Devils need to recoup after back to back losses last week. Duke’s definitely the more talented man-for-man but lack unity on the court. The Blue Devils have come up short lately when facing ranked teams. Look for a high-scoring affair that becomes a wider margin down the stretch.
The Pick: Duke is due for a win versus a ranked team, get exactly that here.
Upset Special of the Week
Alabama upsets #10 Auburn adding yet another ranked team to their impressive resume.
Under The Radar
#8 Ohio State vs. #22 Michigan: The Buckeyes were in control of their own Big Ten Title hopes until they slipped up on the road against Penn State Thursday night. The Wolverines could benefit greatly come March with a win on Sunday. Honestly this was the matchup I had my eye on for upset of the week. Since Ohio State loss prior to this game they will be extra motivated.
The Pick: Buckeyes get the win on the free throw line late.
Quick Hits Recap
-Feed the Big Guy: #2 Michigan State is 10-0 when forward Miles Bridges scores 20+ points this season. Bridges came through in the clutch hitting a 3-point shot with 2.7 seconds left, sealing a victory over Purdue.
-Though inconsistent all year long, The Alabama Crimson Tide own 5 victorious over Top-25 ranked teams.
-#1 Virginia topped the Associated Press Poll for the first time since 1982. The Cavaliers legend Ralph Sampson was a senior at the time.
-For the first time under Coach John Calipari, The Kentucky Wildcats have lost 4 games in a row.
-The #6 Purdue Boilermakers went from 1st to 3rd in the Big Ten after dropping three straight games.
*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.Net Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio