By Chris Carlson
Last week belonged to LSU, North Carolina, and welcome back Texas Tech as the top conference races are neck and neck. This week the Big Ten takes center stage with several important games alongside ranked versus ranked marquee matchups in the ACC and SEC.
Marquee Matchup on Saturday
#4 Kentucky vs. #7 Tennessee: A quick turnaround rematch that holds much weight in the SEC. The Volunteers haven’t looked like same team that won 19 in a row, losing both key matchups versus Kentucky & LSU. The Wildcats put a bit of a stomping on Tennessee in their first meeting at home. Can the Vols protect their home court and hold on to the top spot in the SEC? One thing we know is the three-way tie at the top of the conference won’t exist after Saturday. The pace of this game will be an up-and-down high-energy one favoring Tennessee just a tad.
The Pick: Tennessee bounces back to earn a much needed victory in a high-scoring affair.
Marquee Matchup on Sunday
#9 Michigan vs. #17 Maryland: Maryland was caught looking ahead to this Big Ten tilt dropping a game to Penn State. Even more surprisingly is the fashion in which the Nittany Lions devoured Maryland. In their first meeting Michigan held the Terrapins to 36 percent shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers. The Wolverines lost to Michigan State last Sunday and desperately need to come up big on the road.
The Pick: Maryland puts the ugly Penn State loss in the rear view mirror by defeating Michigan.
Marquee Matchup on Tuesday
#18 Florida State vs. #20 Virginia Tech: After a sloppy start to the month of February, Virginia Tech has won 4 of the last 5 games highlighted by the Duke win. FSU has been on a tear winning 10 of 11 prior to N.C. State on Saturday. Outside shooting from the Hokies has been a hit or miss weapon that is deadly potent when clicking. The Seminoles feature 9 players that score around 6 points all the way to 13, so very much by committee.
The Pick: Florida State keeps cruising in the ACC going into March with a full head of steam.
Upset Special of the Week
TCU upsets #16 Kansas State because this is the Big-12 and Kansas still has a chance to win it all.
(Honorable Mention: Sheer desperation is the only reason why #14 Purdue gets beat by the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena.)
Under The Radar
#6 Michigan State at Indiana: On paper this looks like a sure victory for Sparty but the Hoosiers have played competitive basketball of late. Indiana’s improved play and being at home makes this a potential barnburner of a Big Ten game. Michigan State needs to keep their eye on the prize with another game against Michigan.
#14 Purdue vs. Ohio State: The Boilermakers are a feel good story as a prime example of overachieving.
That said the Buckeyes are on n up-tick coming off a win over Top-25 Iowa and could continue the recent theme of upsets by unranked across the league.
Quick Hits Recap
-LSU got caught looking ahead by Florida but still found a way to beat Tennessee forcing a 3-way tie at top of the SEC. The Tigers beat the Volunteers without Tremont Waters and own a victory over Kentucky as well.
-Zion Williamson’s injury weighed heavy on the Duke Blue Devils losing two of the last three outings without him.
-Virginia Tech defeated Duke on Tuesday making it the Hokies 5th win in the last 8 over a Top-5 team at Cassell Coliseum. Third straight versus Duke in the same scenario
-The Villanova Wildcats have fallen on hard times losers of 3 straight and 4 of last 5, tumbling out of the rankings this week.
-Marquette had a chance to wrap up the Big East crown on Wednesday but that struggling Villanova club finally won a game and a crucial one at that.
-The 24th rated Wofford Terriers for the very first time in school history were ranked in Associated Press Top-25.
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.comr/ ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio