GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 3 Duke at No. 19 North Carolina, Sat. 9:00 p.m.
The first time these two teams got together this season, it was an instant classic. The Blue Devils jumped out to a huge lead in Cameron, only to see the Tar Heels not only erase that lead, but take a ten point lead of their own in the final six minutes. Duke responded, forcing overtime and eventually winning the best game of the season, 92-90. Carolina on the road will be a good test for Duke, as the Tar Heels are monsters on the offensive glass. That’s one of Duke’s weaknesses this season. One thing that will be interesting to watch is how Duke defends Marcus Paige. Will they face-guard him again?
THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 6 Wisconsin at No. 23 Ohio State, Sat. 4:30 p.m.
This will be Wisconsin’s final test before the regular season comes to an end, and it should be a good one. For starters, D’Angelo Russell is one of the few players that is good enough to take over a game against anyone, even one of the best teams in the country. The Badgers aren’t great defensively and can, at times, struggle with dynamic lead guards. Ohio State is also much smaller than Wisconsin, and while that should give them an advantage in the paint, it will make it tough to guard the Buckeyes.
FIVE MORE GAMES TO WATCH
- No. 21 Butler at No. 24 Providence, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: The battle for second-best in the Big East. Butler is back to full strength with Andrew Chrabacsz back. If you haven’t seen Kris Dunn play, tune in.
- Tulsa at No. 22 SMU, Sun. 3:00 p.m.: Not only is the title in the American on the line in this game, Tulsa’s at-large bid could end up going up in smoke if they lose this game.
- Yale at Harvard, Fri. 8:00 p.m.: While this is the second-to-last game of the Ivy League season, this may as well be the title game. Yale and Harvard are tied for first place, with the winner of the regular season earning the Ivy’s automatic bid.
- No. 9 Kansas at No. 15 Oklahoma, Sat. 4:00 p.m.: This game would have had a lot more intrigue if Kansas had lost to West Virginia. As it stands, the outright league title has been clinched and Kansas will be without Perry Ellis and Cliff Alexander.
- No. 2 Virginia at No. 16 Louisville, Sat. 6:30 p.m.: This is Louisville’s last chance in the regular season to prove that they can still beat one of the nation’s best teams.
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Stanford at No. 5 Arizona, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
This is a similar situation to what we saw at Gonzaga last week. Stanford is playing for their tournament lives. Arizona? They clinched the outright Pac-12 title on Thursday, their only motivation on Saturday being to better their profile for a No. 1 seed. Throw in the fact that it’s Senior Night, and the setting couldn’t be better for the Cardinal to pull off an upset.
- LSU at No. 18 Arkansas, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: LSU really needs to add another win to their profile. As it stands, they’re showing up as Last Four In in many bracket projections.
- Florida at No. 1 Kentucky, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: I don’t know if Florida can actually pull off this upset. I really only listed them here because there aren’t many better options this weekend. But hey, it’s Billy Donovan. Maybe I’ll look smart.
- No. 10 Maryland at Nebraska, Sun. 7:30 p.m.: Nebraska’s Senior Night during a lost season. Will that be enough for the Huskers to finally wake up?
- St. John’s at No. 4 Villanova, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: The Johnnies have been on a roll of late, and they actually matchup pretty well with the Wildcats.
FIVE STORY LINES TO FOLLOW
1. There are two games on NBCSN and the NBC Sports Live Extra app this weekend:
- UMass at George Washington, Sat. 3:30 p.m.
- George Mason at VCU, Sat. 5:30 p.m.
2. In addition to the Ivy League, four other tickets to the Big Dance will be punched this weekend:
- Ohio Valley (Saturday)
- Atlantic Sun (Sunday)
- Big South (Sunday)
- Missouri Valley (Sunday)
3. There are two more de-facto regular season title games this weekend:
- Georgia Southern at Georgia State, Sat. 2:00 p.m. (Sun Belt)
- Sam Houston State at Stephen F. Austin, Sat. 7:30 p.m. (Southland)
4. Kansas State at Texas, Sat. 4:00 p.m.: Easily the weekend’s most interesting bubble game, as these are the nation’s two most surprising bubble teams. Texas because they fell from the top ten, and Kansas State because they were left for dead weeks ago.
5. And lastly, here are the rest of the weekend’s games with bubble implications:
- Syracuse at N.C. State, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
- Miami at Virginia Tech, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
- Northwestern at Iowa, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
- Michigan State at Indiana, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
- Oklahoma State at No. 20 West Virginia, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
- UConn at Temple, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
- Alabama at Texas A&M, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
- LSU at No. 18 Arkansas, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
- Xavier at Creighton, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
- Stanford at No. 5 Arizona, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
- Georgia at Auburn, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
- Illinois at Purdue, Sat. 4:30 p.m.
- Davidson at Duquesne, Sat. 7:00 p.m.
- Fresno State at Boise State, Sat. 8:00 p.m.
- Colorado State at Utah State, Sat. 9:00 p.m.
- Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, Sat. 9:00 p.m.
- Memphis at Cincinnati, Sat. 12:00 p.m.