GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 7 Arizona at USC, 7:00 p.m.
From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview.
I’m really not quite sure what to make of USC at this point. If it wasn’t for a massive collapse last Sunday — a collapse, mind you, that happened to coincide with an ankle injury to Julian Jacobs — the Trojans would currently be sitting at 3-0 in the Pac-12. That would put them all alone in first place in the conference, and while they have yet to really beat anyone that matters, when was the last time we needed that qualifier when it comes to USC basketball?
I say all that to say this: USC is going to get their best shot at making a statement on Saturday night when No. 7 Arizona comes to down. Unlike year’s past, the Trojans actually have a shot at playing their way into the NCAA tournament this season, but in order for them to do that they’re going to need to win games like this. That won’t be easy this weekend, not after they lost at UCLA on a blown defensive assignment.
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 1 Kansas at Texas Tech, 9:00 p.m.
From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:
Yeah, I’m going out on a limb here, but I think I’m on to something. Kansas is coming off of that massive win over Oklahoma, a game that probably won’t be topped at any point this season. After Saturday, they’re heading to Morgantown to take on a West Virginia team that plays a physical, pressing style of basketball and has proven to be a tough place for the Jayhawks to win. And Texas Tech is actually pretty good this year. They’re 11-2 on the season and gave Iowa State all they could handle in Hilton on Tuesday. The Jayhawks better show up ready to play.
MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Wichita State at Southern Illinois, 4:00 p.m.
One of the season’s bigger mid-major surprises has been Southern Illinois, who is 14-2 and 3-0 in the Valley entering Saturday’s home game against Wichita State. The record looks nice for the Salukis, but they haven’t earned a marquee victory yet. Their non-conference strength of schedule is at 344 and they’re only No. 104 on Kenpom. A win over the Shockers would help the computer numbers. On the Wichita State side of the things, this would also be a nice win for the Shockers, as they’re also 3-0 in league play. They’ve won four straight games since getting more pieces back from injury.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. Baylor is the forgotten member of the top of the Big 12, which is the kind of thing that tends to happen when you lose by 30 to Kansas. that said, the Bears matchup far better with No. 13 Iowa State, who doesn’t have nearly enough size inside to deal with Baylor’s front court. Taurean Waller-Prince vs. Georges Niang will be fun. That game tips at 3:00 p.m.
2. Ben Simmons and LSU will get another test when they head to Florida to take on the Gators at 1:30 p.m. I’m not sure if this is the kind of game where LSU is truly in danger of losing — remember, this Florida team no longer is coached by Billy Donovan and got mollywhopped by Tennessee in Knoxville this week — but it will be interesting to see how the Tigers respond to Tuesday’s win over Kentucky. This is a program that’s proven to be inconsistent, and nothing would make more sense for them that beating UK and losing to UF.
3. Jim Boeheim’s back! The Syracuse Hall of Famer missed the last nine games as he was suspended for academic fraud and NCAA violations committed during his tenure. The Orange went 4-5 without, including 0-3 in the ACC, which is why Saturday’s visit from No. 6 North Carolina is so important.
4. Vanderbilt has been one of the most disappointing teams in college basketball this season, going from a team that looked like an SEC contender to one that has lost essentially every meaningful game they’ve played. On Saturday, they play at No. 22 South Carolina, one of just two undefeated teams left in college basketball.
5. There’s an intriguing matchup in the Sunshine State at 4 p.m. as Florida State pays a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game between the two preseason picks for ACC sleepers. If you like quality guard play, this is a game for you.
OTHER TOP 25 GAMES
- Kansas State at No. 2 Oklahoma, 4:30 p.m.
- No. 3 Maryland at Wisconsin, 1:00 p.m.
- No. 4 Virginia at Georgia Tech, 2:00 p.m.
- No. 9 Kentucky at Alabama, 6:00 p.m.
- Virginia Tech at No. 14 Duke, 12:00 p.m.
- Oklahoma State at No. 17 West Virginia, 1:00 p.m.
- No. 21 Texas A&M at Tennessee, 1:00 p.m.
- Memphis at No. 23 Connecticut, 7:00 p.m.
- No. 24 Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, 4:00 p.m.
- No. 25 Dayton at La Salle, 2:00 p.m.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- DePaul at Georgetown, 12:00 p.m.
- Creighton at Seton Hall, 2:00 p.m.
- St. John’s at Marquette, 2:00 p.m.
- Northwestern at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.
- Washington at Washington State, 3:00 p.m.
- Mississippi State at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.
- Nebraska at Rutgers, 5:00 p.m.
- Arizona State at UCLA, 5:00 p.m.
- UNLV at Wyoming, 6:00 p.m.
- Fresno State at Boise State, 6:00 p.m.
- Texas at TCU, 7:00 p.m.
- Portland at Gonzaga, 8:00 p.m.
- Georgia at Ole Miss, 8:30 p.m.
- Auburn at Missouri, 9:00 p.m.
- East Carolina at Temple, 9:00 p.m.
- Cal at Oregon State, 9:30 p.m.