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Weekend Preview: Duke-Carolina Part Two, and which bubble teams have the most on the line?

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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.


  • 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.


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.


Weekend Preview: The first weekend of conference play is here

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GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 22 Baylor at No. 18 Oklahoma, Sat. 4:00 p.m.

There is only one game this weekend that features two teams that are both ranked, and that pits the Bears against the Sooners. We think we know what Oklahoma is this year, a top 20 team with the ceiling of being a Final Four-caliber program. The question mark is Baylor, who entered the season without much in the way of expectations thanks to the graduation of Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson.

But the Bears have been one of the nation’s surprises. They have just one loss on the season and look like they could end up being a tournament team, a fact that would (gasp!) get Scott Drew some coach of the year consideration. And here’s the scary part: Kenny Chery is just now getting back into the rotation.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: UNLV at No. 13 Kansas, Sun. 4:30 p.m.

Two weeks ago, this game would not have made this list as the Rebels were one of the more disappointing teams in the country. But they’ve bounced back with a win over Arizona in Vegas and a five point loss to Wyoming on the road. Christian Wood suddenly looks like he’ll be the best big man on the floor, and Kansas has been struggling enough that the Rebels just may be able to pull off the upset in Lawrence.


  • No. 21 Washington at Stanford, Sun. 10:00 p.m.: Washington has a tough road trip this week, but they match up better with Stanford than they do Cal. Chasson Randle vs. Nigel Williams-Goss will be fun.
  • No. 17 West Virginia at TCU, Sat. 4:00 p.m.: If there are two teams that are expected to come back to earth during Big 12 play, it’s these two. The Mountaineers, who have just one loss, look like they’re for real. TCU? Well, let’s just say this will be an interesting gauge game.
  • Minnesota at No. 12 Maryland, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: Maryland hosts their first game as a Big Ten member, and they get a Minnesota team that is coming off of a loss after looking like one of the hottest teams in the league.
  • Butler at No. 15 St. John’s, Sat. 4:00 p.m.: St. John’s lost their Big East opener at Seton Hall on Wednesday. Can they bounce back with a win on Saturday?
  • UCLA at No. 10 Utah, Sun. 4:00 p.m.: UCLA has not played like it yet this year, but the Bruins are one of the more talented teams in the conference.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 6 Villanova at Seton Hall, Sat. 12:00 p.m.

Seton Hall already has an upset win at home under their belt this week, as they knocked off No. 15 St. John’s at the Prudential Center on Wednesday afternoon. The most impressive part is that the Pirates were able to do it without Isaiah Whitehead healthy. Villanova is a much different team from Seton Hall: more talented, more disciplined, better defensively. The Pirates are going to need another terrific performance from Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina, but those two have been good this year.


  • No. 24 Colorado State at New Mexico, Sat. 8:00 p.m.: Colorado State has not lost yet this season, but playing at New Mexico is never an easy thing to do.
  • No. 21 Washington at Cal, Fri. 10:00 p.m.: Cal actually matches up with the Huskies pretty well. David Kravish can pull Robert Upshaw away from the rim and the Bears have plenty of guards.
  • Creighton at No. 25 Georgetown, Sat. 4:30 p.m.: Creighton is coming off of a loss in their Big East opener, but Georgetown is as well.
  • No. 3 Virginia at Miami, Sat. 5:30 p.m.: Miami has struggled a bit of late, but the Hurricanes do have some talent on their roster.
  • No. 19 North Carolina at Clemson, Sat. 8:00 p.m.: Clemson likes to take the air out of the ball offensively, and that could slow down North Carolina enough to get them into a half court game.


1. UConn at Florida, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: A rematch from last year’s Final Four features two teams in desperate need of quality wins for their NCAA tournament resume.

2. No. 5 Louisville at Wake Forest, Sun. 8:00 p.m.:

3. Illinois at No. 20 Ohio State, Sat. 3:30 p.m.: This is one of the games that I will be watching closely on Saturday, as the Buckeyes have not looked like a team that can compete at the top of the Big Ten.

4. There will be four games on NBCSN and streaming on the NBCSports Live Extra app this weekend:

– Duquesne at Dayton, Sat. 3:00 p.m.
– Rhode Island at Saint Louis, Sat. 5:00 p.m.
– Richmond at Davidson, Sat. 7:00 p.m.
– Saint Louis at George Mason (women), Sun. 2:00 p.m.

5. Kansas State at Oklahoma State, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: There haven’t been many more disappointing teams in the country than Kansas State this season.

Weekend Preview: A loaded Saturday slate highlights the weekend

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source: AP
Buddy Hield (AP)

GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 15 Oklahoma vs. No. 16 Washington, Sat. 9:00 p.m.

Oklahoma looks like they’re going to be one of the top four teams in the Big 12, a sleeper to win the league. And Washington? They look like they are the third-best team in the Pac-12 right now, sliding in right behind Utah as Arizona’s main challenger in the conference.

But here’s the thing: I’m not anyone really knows just how good these two teams are. The Huskies are the bigger question mark at this point. Nigel Williams-Goss is the real deal, and the nation’s best shot-blocker Robert Upshaw is one of the five most valuable players in the country, but if the Huskies are a borderline NIT team without a guy that plays 18 minutes a game and struggles to hit free throws, just how good are they? And Oklahoma? Their starting five can matchup with anyone, particularly with the way that TaShawn Thomas has played of late and how well Ryan Spangler is shooting. But they don’t have much depth at all.

By 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, we should have a much better idea about both of these teams.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE WEEKEND: No. 12 Ohio State vs. No. 24 North Carolina, Sat. 1:00 p.m.

So what’s going on with North Carolina this season? What about Marcus Paige? Why is he struggling so much, and what is going to happen when he is forced to deal with a defender as good as Shannon Scott is? That should be a major concern for Tar Heels fans heading into Saturday. The good news? North Carolina should be downright abusive to the Buckeye front line.


  • UCLA vs. No. 1 Kentucky, Sat. 3:30 p.m.: I’m not convinced that UCLA is all that good this season. In fact, I think there’s a chance that they’re an NIT team. They do have some athletes on the wing, but we’ll see how Bryce Alford is able to deal with the Kentucky pressure.
  • Syracuse at No. 7 Villanova, Sat. 1:00 p.m.: A good old-fashioned Big East rivalry game! Syracuse has had some major struggles this season as Jim Boeheim tries to find the right lineups and rotations. Villanova hasn’t had that problem at all.
  • Harvard at No. 6 Virginia, Sun. 12:00 p.m.: This game may end up being played in the 50s, but that doesn’t mean these teams are bad. And as good as Virginia has been this season, Harvard is legit. There’s a reason they’ve won a game is two straight tournaments.
  • Indiana vs. No. 23 Butler, Sat. 2:30 p.m.: Talk about a difference in styles. Indiana wants run and gun and fire threes and play as fast as possible. Butler wants to muck things up as much as they can. This is a very, very important game for the Hoosiers, who haven’t done much in the non-conference.
  • St. Mary’s at No. 24 St. John’s, Fri. 7:00 p.m.: The Gaels looked really good going into Creighton and knocking off the Bluejays. They didn’t when they lost to Northern Arizona at home. I’m not convinced the Johnnies are all that good yet, but if they are, this is the kind of game that they win.
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WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 3 Arizona at UTEP, Fri. 11:00 p.m.

UTEP is good. I’m not saying this just to hype them up or to make this game sound more intriguing than it is. The Miners are good enough that they will compete with Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion for the Conference USA title this season. Vince Hunter is a legitimate NBA prospect, and when combined with Julian Washburn and Cedrick Lang, it gives Tim Floyd a front line with the size to hang with Arizona, at least on paper. And that’s before you consider the Tim Floyd effect.

Arizona is very, very good, but they’re playing on the road late on a Friday night against a team that’s sneaky-talented. These are the kinds of games when good teams can get picked off.


  • No. 4 Louisville at Western Kentucky, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: Louisville did not look all that impressive against UNC-Wilmington. Western Kentucky just won at Ole Miss. Montrezl Harrell yelled in the press conference about his teammates being selfish.
  • N.C. State vs. No. 22 West Virginia, Sat. 9:30 p.m.: The Wolfpack are better than West Virginia this season, but the Mountaineers are pressing all-out this season. How will Cat Barber handle it?
  • Eastern Washington at Cal, Fri. 10:00 p.m.: Ty Wallace is one of the nation’s most underrated players, but Eastern Washington is a talented mid-major team that could win a game in the NCAA tournament.
  • No. 14 Utah at UNLV, Sat. 11:30 p.m.: UNLV has the talent to be a top 25 team. Will they put it all together at any point this season?
  • No. 17 Maryland at Oklahoma State, Sun. 2:00 p.m.: Going on the road in non-conference play is never an easy thing to do, particularly when you’re missing your best player (Dez Wells).


1. Iona at George Mason, Sat. 7:00 p.m.: A terrific matchup of mid-major programs that will be shown on NBCSN.

2a. VCU at Cincinnati, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: Both VCU and Cincinnati really, really need to start amassing non-conference wins thanks to the how poorly their leagues have done this year. The only two teams that may need wins more this weekend than these two teams are …

2b. SMU at Michigan, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: … SMU has struggled this season in the absence of Markus Kennedy. And Michigan? They lost to NJIT and Eastern Michigan before getting blown out by Arizona.

3. Purdue vs. No. 21 Notre Dame, Sat. 5:15 p.m.: Notre Dame is putting up ridiculous numbers offensively, but they’re doing it against an atrocious, embarrassing schedule. Purdue is a borderline tournament team at best, but they’ll guard and they have a ton of size. How real are the Irish? We’ll find out.

4. No. 13 Iowa State at Drake, Sat. 5:00 p.m. and Iowa at Northern Iowa, Sat. 7:30 p.m.: The four in-state teams play on Saturday, although I wish they would let us see Northern Iowa play Iowa State. Is it too late to change that?

5. Missouri at Illinois, Sat. 2:00 p.m.: The Braggin’ Rights Game.