By Chris Carlson
Last week in College Basketball was a mild one to say the least with only two ranked teams losing on Saturday and few more as a whole. It’s fitting the first Saturday post Super Bowl is absolutely jammed-packed with ranked versus ranked foes vying for conference position. It’s moving day (week) in the ACC and Big Ten with several top tier teams squaring off. It’s also hell week for Virginia tasked with a near impossible feat facing Duke and North Carolina in consecutive games two days apart.
Marquee Matchups on Saturday
#2 Duke vs. #3 Virginia: The first meeting between these two ACC foes was a closely-matched contest. Per usual it seems Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett led the Blue Devils to a 72-70 victory. Both shot a horrible percentage behind the arc but still managed to end up above 50% on field goals overall. The rematch will be played at John Paul Jones Arena and the Cavaliers fan base will definitely be ripped-roaring to go for a night game to boot. It’s very likely this one will once again come down to the wire.
The Pick: Virginia protects their home court by stealing one late taking the lead in the ACC standings.
#7 Michigan vs. #19 Wisconsin: Another rematch from an upset by Wisconsin which at the time handed the Wolverines their first defeat of the year. Michigan lost last Friday to a somewhat desperate Iowa team that had dropped back to back games. The Badgers have been on quite run winning 6 in a row since dropping two early losses in the Big Ten. The second time around will play out very similar and both teams will have a chance in the last 3-5 minutes.
The Pick: Michigan gets revenge and back on track after a minor stumble.
Marquee Matchup on Monday
#3 Virginia vs. #8 North Carolina: This crucial ACC matchup will match offense versus defense. The winner of this game will have improved their positioning in the league race. If Virginia somehow beats Duke and North Carolina in as many games we might as well hand the ACC title over. UNC still has Duke (twice) and FSU on the docket making this win all the more needed to stay in the ACC hunt.
The Pick: North Carolina extends their winning streak of 7 with a key victory over Virginia.
Marquee Matchup on Tuesday
#9 Michigan State vs. #19 Wisconsin: Every since the news came out about the Spartans losing Joshua Langford for the rest of the season, Michigan State’s lost 3 straight to Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana. Langford’s outside shooting and defense will surely be missed on the court, as well as leadership off the court. The Badgers may have lost to Michigan prior, but stepped up their intensity after getting off to a poor start in conference play. This game will be played in the 60’s and will likely come down to the last few possessions.
The Pick: Wisconsin bounces back from Saturday’s loss to beat Michigan State.
Upset of the Week
TCU upsets Kansas as the road struggles continue for the Jayhawks.
Under The Radar
#10 Marquette vs. #14 Villanova: Lack of depth in the Big East is the main reason why this highly important tilt is flying under the radar for the most part on the national scene. Not to mention Marquette dropped a game on Tuesday to St. John’s, the Golden Eagles had rattled off 8 wins in a row. Nova’s rough start to the season is in their rearview mirror as they found a way to jell together the new piece this year.
#15 Purdue vs. #24 Maryland: The Boilermakers turned around a season that started horribly and are currently on an 8-game win streak. Loser’s of 3 out of 4 games the Terrapins badly need to find their Mojo that had them sitting pretty at 6-1 in the Big Ten play.
Quick Hits Recap
-Virginia Tech held North Carolina State to an embarrassing 24 points, which makes it the fewest points produce by a ranked team in the shot-clock era.
-No matter how Virginia does the next several days they continue to play excellent defense. The Cavaliers have now held 9 opponents under 50-points to lead the nation.
-Marquette got caught looking ahead to the Villanova game on Saturday by the hands of a Chris Mullen coached St. John’s team losing 70-69 at home.
-The fast-rising Kentucky Wildcats moved to 70-0 when holding the opposition to 55 points or less under the guidance of Coach John Calipari.
-The Baylor Bears are 7-1 in the last 8 despite losing their 2nd best scorer and rebounder. In that stretch Baylor’s only loss is to Kansas.
-Purdue leading guard Carsen Edwards scored 38 points including 8 three-pointers in an overtime victory over Penn State.
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