The best college basketball games of the week, including the latest rivalry game between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels.
Football season is over and now it’s time to study up before March Madness with the best college basketball games of the week.
With a parity-filled season, anyone could end up cutting down the nets in March, so this is the perfect time to start familiarizing yourself with the nation’s best teams. The six best games this week will give you a chance to do just that, starting with an interesting showdown in the Big Ten.
Penn State (16-5) at Michigan State (16-6) – Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network
That is not a misprint, Penn State is a must-watch college basketball power this season. The Nittany Lions are 16-5 and right in the thick of things in the nation’s deepest conference, the Big Ten, and will look to pick up their fifth straight win against Michigan State. This is also a bounce-back opportunity for the Spartans, who lost a nail-biter at Wisconsin over the weekend by a point.
Maryland (17-4) at Illinois (16-6) – Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1
Our second trip to the Big Ten this week takes a look at two teams that had wildly different expectations entering the season. Maryland was supposed to be a contender for the league’s regular-season title, which has happened, but no one believed Illinois would be jockeying for that spot as well. The Fighting Illini, led by sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu, will look to keep bolstering their tournament resume with a home win over the Terps.
LSU (17-4) at Auburn (19-2) – Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2
The SEC hasn’t gotten a ton of national attention so far this year, but two of its top dogs will square off on Saturday. LSU enters the week on a 10-game winning streak and will look to take down an Auburn team that scored a huge nine-point win over Kentucky last Saturday.
Seton Hall (16-5) at Villanova (17-4) – Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX
The beasts of the Big East are set to match up in Philly with the conference’s regular-season lead on the line. The Pirates have a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate in Myles Powell while Villanova can counter with a well-balanced attack featuring five players who average double-digit points per game.
Duke (18-3) at North Carolina (10-11) – Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
College basketball’s fiercest rivalry will resume in Chapel Hill, and even though North Carolina is having a down year you can throw the records out when they face Duke. The Blue Devils are true Final Four contenders while the Tar Heels finally got back freshman point guard Cole Anthony from a knee injury, making them a dangerous out in their own building.
Mid-Major Game of the Week: Gonzaga (23-1) at Saint Mary’s (19-5) – Saturday at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
It feels like cheating to list Gonzaga in the mid-major game, but their conference is actually fairly competitive this season. The West Coast Conference could send as many as three teams to the NCAA Tournament, with one of those bids potentially going to Saint Mary’s. The Gaels are trying to fend off BYU and Santa Clara for second place in the WCC, and a home win over the Zags would significantly increase their tournament hopes.
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