Last week started and ended with some important games that will impact the tournament picture. We do expect to see most of the teams on both last week’s and this week’s schedule. But who will grab the No. 1 overall spot in the bracket?
After a big comeback against Louisville last Tuesday, we could see Duke get that honor, especially after the last couple of weeks they’ve had. But his week is another challenging one for Duke and all others in the top 25. Let’s get into the best games of the week and see how they could potential play out.
Monday, Feb. 18th
Virginia versus Virginia Tech
Virginia took care of business after losing their second game of the season to Duke. They’re still looking to be the best team in the nation. With the schedule they have remaining, they could very well do so. Last week we saw Virginia take care of North Carolina and Notre Dame in the pursuit to greatness.
Virginia Tech took care of a weak couple of games to help set them up for a revenge game against Virginia. This game could help Virginia Tech stay ranked and get a higher seed in the tournament.
Kansas State versus West Virginia
After a tough game with Iowa State this past Saturday, Kansas State looks to continue proving why they’re the best team in the Big XII. A game against a terrible conference opponent like West Virginia can only help Kansas State take control of the conference.
Tuesday, Feb. 19th
Purdue versus Indiana
These are two teams going in different directions. Both teams struggled throughout the season, but Purdue found a way to rebound from it, as they are currently one of the top three teams in the Big Ten conference behind Michigan State and Michigan. Indiana has continuously dropped games over and over. It’s looks like they’ll continue to fall. However, they still have a strong chance to have a spot in the tournament, at least they hope so. Can Indiana pick up a much-needed win and help their chances to stay alive, or will Purdue continue to stay atop the conference?
Maryland versus Iowa
This is another Big Ten conference game that is pivotal to the standings for both the conference tournament and March Madness. For each team, it’s about remaining in the top 25 and finishing the season strong as they head into tournament play. Maryland lost to Michigan on Saturday. Iowa barely edged out Rutgers. Who will have the edge in this game?
Florida State versus Clemson
Florida State has still managed to stick around in the top 25 and are showing more and more why we should believe in them. They are making a push for the top 15 and one of the top four spots in the ACC.
Clemson is fighting for their hopes of making the tournament. They lost a tight one to Louisville on Saturday. They will need to get a big win over a ranked conference opponent to have the selection committee even consider them in the list of 68 teams. Can Clemson prove they’re a tournament team?
Iowa State versus Baylor
Iowa State looks to use their win of Kansas State on Saturday as motivation to finish the season strong and try to capture a Big XII conference title. A big win over a struggling Baylor team will get them one step closer to the title. Of course, they still have to worry about both Kansas State and Kansas down the stretch, as they are not out of the conference title run. Can Iowa State pick up a big win in the conference and capture the conference title?
Wednesday, Feb. 20th
Villanova versus Georgetown
Villanova is looking to get themselves back into the top 15 after blowing a double-digit halftime lead in their loss to St. John’s Sunday night. Villanova wants to prove they are ready to repeat as champions. Of course, they will need to bounce back from this loss and look ahead to getting revenge in their rematch with Marquette next week. Georgetown will not make it easy, as they try to improve themselves to get a better chance at making the tournament, if there’s even still a possibility of that happening.
Louisville versus Syracuse
Both of these teams are looking to increase their chances as well. For Louisville, it’s about survival. They are the only team in the top 25 with more than seven losses, and this week is one of the toughest. Not only do they have a game against a hungry Syracuse team, but they have a date with Virginia on Saturday.
Syracuse also has a tough task this week, and this will help them if they want to get ranked. If Syracuse can take care of Louisville, they’ll be looking at taking down No. 1 Duke on Saturday. Can Syracuse get another big ACC win against two of the top five teams?
Marquette versus Butler
Marquette looks to continue to stay in the top 10 with high hopes of being in the top five. Of course, they would need a lot more help than just winning conference games they’re supposed to win. Yes, Butler is one of those games that Marquette should win, but this is still a sneaky game. It’s sneaky because we expect Butler to be a better team than they’ve shown this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if Butler sneaks up and got a big win heading into the conference tournament.
North Carolina versus Duke
The game we’ve all been waiting for! It has taken us all season long to see one of the biggest rivalries in College Basketball tip-off for the 2018-19 season. The two teams from North Carolina are set to battle for the No. 1 spot in the ACC, at least that’s what Duke is hoping for. Duke has been dominant against all the teams in the ACC with an 11-1 record, beating Florida State and Louisville in close games. They also got the season sweep against Virginia, and now look to do the same to the Tar Heels.
North Carolina has struggled to get wins against the best of the best in the top 10, as they only have one win against opponents ranked 10 or higher at the time of their matchup. That one win was against Gonzaga, but they lost to Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan. A win over the No. 1 Duke will help North Carolina prove they are still one of the best teams in the nation! They also want to get the upper hand in the first of two games against each other.
Nevada versus San Diego State
Nevada is still trying to prove why they deserve to be in the top 10 despite their conference and schedule. Nevada will most likely win their conference, but will they get one of the top seeds in the tournament? Have they proven enough to get that spot? Maybe another dominant win against San Diego State will help them.
San Diego State is looking to get themselves into the picture of a bid in the tourney. What better way to do that than by winning against the best team in the conference? Will San Diego State pull off the ultimate upset?
Thursday, Feb. 21st
Michigan versus Minnesota
There isn’t really much of anything to be excited about here, besides watching Michigan continue to take control over the weaker teams in the Big Ten. One of those weak teams is Minnesota, who has continuously found a way to struggle after putting together a few good wins. Unfortunately, Minnesota is on their way out of any chance at the tournament. But they may be able to make more noise in the Big Ten with a win against the top Michigan team.
Cincinnati versus Central Florida
Cincinnati is still playing for a chance to get into the tournament, and I think they will most likely make it. This matchup against Central Florida is more than just an important key win for Cincinnati. Central Florida is looking to improve their record and give themselves a chance at making the tournament too.
Friday, Feb. 22nd
It’s another Friday full of nothing besides other things to watch, as the College Basketball world takes the day to prepare for the number of showdowns taking place on Saturday. The only game that might be watched is Iowa versus Indiana, as Iowa looks like they’re ready to climb up the rankings again.
Saturday, Feb. 23rd
Nevada versus Fresno State
Nevada wants to be in the top five again and have repeatedly worked hard and gained back to back wins against easier opponents. This is the toughest remaining week for Nevada, as they face two teams with winning conference records. Let’s see how this one goes for them.
Tennessee versus LSU
Both these teams played Kentucky last week, and both had different results. Tennessee came up short against Kentucky. They need to get back on track if they want any chance of landing in the top five. LSU joined the ranked party late, but they are also looking to move up in the rankings. Both teams have suffered one conference loss so far, but something has to give here.
Duke versus Syracuse
Speaking of conference losses, Duke only has one. That one was thanks to Syracuse. You know that Duke is out for revenge, but they can’t jump ahead to that game just yet, with North Carolina coming before. Syracuse looks to get the season sweep on Duke and earn themselves a spot in the top 25 while doing so. Something has to give, will it be Zion Williamson and Duke? Or can Syracuse really do it again?
Virginia versus Louisville
Virginia got swept by Duke this season. That seems to be the only team that’s stopping them from being great. If they were to play a third time this season, I think Virginia would be able to get one. But that’s only going to happen in the conference tournament, maybe. Until then, Virginia will try to knock Louisville out of the top 25 all together. Louisville is trying to stay alive in the top 25. They have two games this week that could help them do that. Can Louisville save their season with a big win over Virginia and knock them out of the top five?
Kentucky versus Auburn
North Carolina versus Florida State
It’s coming down to the last couple of weeks of the season, and both UNC and FSU are looking to improve their record. It’s a much harder task for North Carolina to do with Duke being their first game of the week. It could either help them carry the motivation over to this game, or they’ll fight to rebound. Florida State also has a game prior to this one, but it’s not against a ranked opponent. Who will come out on top?
Kansas versus Texas Tech
The battle for the Big XII continues with these two teams playing their best basketball. However, the best has yet to come. Both teams are looking to take the conference away from one another, while they try to pass up Kansas State as well. Who will get the upper hand in this one?
Iowa State versus TCU
Iowa State did the Big XII a favor by beating Kansas State Saturday, but they didn’t help their chances of making a run at the regular season title. That’s what makes the Big XII different from the rest of the conferences. There is no clear front runner in the conference. Even teams like TCU has a chance to win it, but they are going to need to win this game and help get them in talks with the bigger teams.
St John’s versus Seton Hall
St John’s has beaten both Marquette and Villanova this season, including a season sweep against Marquette. Those wins alone are reasons for why I want to believe in them and why I have ranked them 25th this week, but they always seem to let us down.
Seton Hall is one of those teams who has been able to surprise us with wins against opponents you wouldn’t think they’d beat, like Kentucky earlier this season. So we know they are more than capable of beating St. John’s and knocking them out again.
Sunday, Feb. 24th
Michigan State versus Michigan
This day doesn’t have much interested in anything besides the biggest game of the season for the Big Ten. This is the first of two meetings between these two teams. This could set the tone for the rest of the season into conference play. It’s going to be the best game to watch on Sunday. This is also a battle for a top spot in the tournament. Who ya got?
Also, keep an eye on how teams do this week as we start to wrap up another month of basketball and look ahead for the madness. Will we see a new No. 1 team in the rankings, or will Duke continue to prove themselves worthy? How about the top ten? Will it be the same? Comment on which games you think are important and who might be on upset alert!
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