College basketball only features two games with Top 25 teams facing off against each other on Saturday. Somehow, the weekend games are shaping up to be one of the best slates this season.
One reason, the Kansas Jayhawks are making their return trip to the Oklahoma Sooners. In the first match up, Buddy Hield scored 46 points in a triple overtime loss. With both teams stuck in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12, the winner will have the inside track to the conference title. More importantly, a future one seed could be on the line. Currently, both teams are projected as a top seed by Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, but things have been changing rapidly throughout the field of 68 projections.
Meanwhile, it seems like the rest of the country is battling for conference supremacy as well. The Kentucky Wildcats have turned their season around, but they have their toughest test since the loss to Kansas a couple of weeks ago. They face the South Carolina Gamecocks in a tough SEC battle.
In the ACC, the Duke Blue Devils have a chance to reestablish dominance. Winners of three straight, the Blue Devils seem to have righted the ship in February. However, they face their toughest opponent since losing to Miami.
If you’re looking for teams on the bubble, there’s plenty of action. When the Texas A&M Aggies take on the LSU Tigers, the loser could be in serious trouble. The Aggies have lost three straight games since their Big 12-SEC challenge win over Iowa State. Still, the Aggies are in fourth place despite being one game back.
The Tigers are in a tie for first place, but they still need quality wins on their schedule. Since they are at home, it’s a must-win for Ben Simmons and company. Otherwise, they will have 10 losses on their schedule.
Here are the five college basketball games to watch this weekend.
No. 6 Kansas Jay hawks (20-4, 8-3) vs. No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (20-3, 8-3)
Right now, Buddy Hield is the Player of the Year in college basketball. Will it remain that way if the Sooners get swept by the Jayhawks? The Sooners are undefeated at home, and it’s their one chance win the Big 12 conference outright.
Fueled by Perry Ellis’ exploits, the Jayhawks have won four straight games. The only thing on the Jayhawks’ mind is earning a season sweep over the Sooners. Both teams score over 83 points per game, so the contest should be entertaining. However, it’s been the Jayhawks’ defense stepping up in the last three games. They held West Virginia to 65 points in the 10-point win.
According to CBS Sports, the Sooners 4.5 point favorites.
No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats (18-6, 8-3) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (21-3, 8-3)
Kentucky really answered the bell after back to back losses to Kansas and Tennessee. The SEC will know how far they have come on Saturday. It’s their first road game since the loss to the Volunteers. They are facing a South Carolina squad that hasn’t lost at home.
Although the Gamecocks aren’t ranked, they have one of the best records in college basketball. Defensively, they really pressure the guards well. Will the Gamecocks give Jamall Murray trouble? He’s been on fire lately, and has really spurred the Wildcats’ offense.
No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers (20-4, (9-3) vs. Duke Blue Devils (18-6, 7-4)
Virginia is on a seven game winning streak. They’ve had double digit road wins at Louisville and Pittsburgh during the run. Now they get to visit Duke in a huge game for the Blue Devils.
The Cavaliers can stay in the race for the ACC regular season title with a win. Meanwhile, Duke can get back into the race with a victory. After Saturday, the Blue Devils have to visit North Carolina and Louisville in back to back games. It’s their toughest stretch of the season.
No. 5 Xavier Musketeers (21-3, 9-3) vs. Butler Bulldogs (17-7, 6-6)
When Xavier loses a game, they really take it on the chin. They lost by 31 to Villanova, nine to Georgetown, and 14 to Creighton in their last outing. Now they have a road test at Butler. Currently, the Musketeers are two games back of the Big East lead, so another loss could be the end of their regular season quest.
The Bulldogs haven’t fared well during conference play, but they’ve won their last three games. A home win over the Musketeers will put the Bulldogs in great position. Butler leads the Big East in scoring at 81 points per game. Still, the game will come down to how well they defend the musketeers.
If Xavier gets the win, they’ll be in line for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament projections. It would be unlikely, if they lost this game.
No.15 Texas A&M Aggies (18-6, 7-4) vs. LSU Tigers (15-9,8-3)
For some, Ben Simmons hasn’t done enough in his first season with the LSU Tigers. Ever since stepping foot on a college campus, Simmons has been hailed as the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. However, Simmons hasn’t always had his best moments during crunch time. If the Tigers don’t make the NCAA Tournament, that will be one of the reasons why.