Weekend Preview: Trae Young vs. Mo Bamba

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SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS

*(NOTE: Lines are not posted for Saturday or Sunday games as of publication. Spreads referenced are via Kenpom.com)

No. 12 OKLAHOMA at TEXAS (-2), Sat. 6:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The most entertaining game of the weekend features the two-best NBA prospects in the Big 12. Trae Young will be going up against Mo Bamba, although the two play vastly different positions. This is a big game for Texas, who currently sits right about the 8-9 game in most bracket projections. The key here is going to be how Oklahoma opts to attack this Texas defense. The Longhorns are one of college basketball’s best on that end of the floor, and they’ve been aided offensively by the fact that Bamba is starting to turn into the dominating prospect that we thought he would be all season long. One of the strengths for Bamba as a prospect is that he is able to move his feet well enough to play pick-and-roll defense at a high level. This will be a great chance to prove that.

  • PREDICTION: I think Oklahoma gets the job done. Young snapped out of the funk that he was in for a week or two with a 44-point, nine-assist outburst against Baylor, and I think we see something similarly impressive on Saturday. Oklahoma (+2)

No. 9 ARIZONA (-4) at WASHINGTON, Sat. 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12)

Washington is quietly the best story in the Pac-12. After Lorenzo Romar was fired for a 9-22 season that included No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, Mike Hopkins has come in and turned the Huskies into a tournament team. After a win over Arizona State on Thursday night, they are now 6-3 in league play. This will be their biggest test yet.

  • PREDICTION: I think Arizona is finding their rhythm. Allonzo Trier is playing smart, efficient basketball, Rawle Alkins was back against Washington State and it looks like they are starting to find ways to be effective offensively with Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic on the floor together. Arizona (-4)

KANSAS STATE at No. 15 WEST VIRGINIA (-6), Sat. 4:00 p.m. (ESPN2)

Is this the game where West Virginia rights the ship? We spent a long time talking about West Virginia on the podcast here, so I’ll let you listen, but it is worth noting: Kansas State is pretty good.

  • PREDICTION: I think this is the game where the Mountaineers get it going again. I would not want to be around Bob Huggins after losing by 16 points to Iowa State. West Virginia (-6)

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO WATCH?

You mean other than the Super Bowl? Plenty:

  • No. 10 TEXAS TECH at TCU (-2), Sat. 2:00 p.m. (ESPN): Texas Tech has had some road woes this season, and TCU has been snakebit in close games. TCU(-2)
  • No. 21 KENTUCKY at MISSOURI (-2), Sat. 2:00 p.m. (CBS): Kentucky won at West Virginia after trailing by 17 and beat Vanderbilt at home after trailing by 14. So they’re going to be Missouri after trailing big in the second half. Book it. Kentucky (+2)
  • No. 2 VIRGINIA (-6) at SYRACUSE, Sat. 4:00 p.m. (ACC Net): Virginia is the slowest team in the country. Syracuse is the eighth-slowest team in the country. Virginia has an historically good defense. Syracuse is simply very, very good. Bet the under
  • USC at UCLA (-3), Sat. 6:00 p.m. (ESPN2): USC has suddenly turned into one of the hottest teams in college hoops, but they haven’t really beaten anyone in their run. That will chance Saturday. USC (+3)
  • BYU at No. 14 GONZAGA (-11), Sat. 10:00 p.m. (ESPN2): BYU has won three straight at Gonzaga. That streak will end. By a lot. Gonzaga (-11)
  • SETON HALL at No. 1 VILLANOVA (-14), Sun. 12:00 p.m. (FOX): In theory, Seton Hall is the kind of team that can give Villanova a fight, and 14 points is a lot of points. The Pirates cover. Seton Hall (+14)