Duke hosting Florida State in a big ACC showdown, Michigan State traveling to Illinois and a pair of big games for West Virginia headline the top games of the week in college basketball.
There are some marquee matchups on the docket this week that could influence conference title races, beginning Monday with a huge showdown in the ACC.
Florida State (20-3) at Duke (20-3) – Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
The selection committee’s bracket reveal wasn’t kind to Florida State, which landed as a three despite possessing as strong a team as both of the ACC’s other top teams, Duke and Louisville. The Seminoles need a marquee victory at Cameron Indoor to get onto the two-line and that won’t be easy against Duke, which is coming off a massive comeback victory at North Carolina on Saturday. Whoever wins this game should present the biggest threat to Louisville to claim the ACC’s regular-season crown.
Michigan State (16-8) at Illinois (16-7) – Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
This game should be a lot of fun as it features two desperate teams looking to snap losing skids. Michigan State, which was the last four seed in the selection committee’s mock bracket, enters the contest on a three-game losing streak after getting beaten up at home by Penn State last Tuesday before falling at Michigan on Saturday. Illinois has lost two consecutive games entering this matchup and will be looking for revenge after losing by 20 to the Spartans in East Lansing on Jan. 2.
Kansas (20-3) at West Virginia (18-5) – Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+
This is going to be a big week for the Mountaineers who have to deal with the Big 12’s two top dogs in consecutive games. First up is a home date with the Kansas Jayhawks, which enters this matchup winners of eight straight games, including a 60-46 triumph at TCU last Saturday. The Mountaineers gave Kansas everything they could handle in their first matchup, losing by seven at Allen Fieldhouse in a game where Udoka Azubuike dominated the interior, putting up 17 and 11 for the Jayhawks.
Mid-Major Game of the Week: Murray State (18-6) at Austin Peay (16-9) – Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU
This week’s mid-major spotlight takes us to the Ohio Valley Conference where the league’s top two teams square off. The Racers feature an explosive offense headlined by guard Tevin Brown who averages 18.5 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from beyond the arc. Austin Peay should be game for a shootout as they score over 77 points per game. The Governors also feature OVC Player of the Year front-runner Terry Taylor who averages 22 and 10 as the focal point of the Austin Peay attack.
Colorado (19-5) at Oregon (18-6) – Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Pac-12 rejoins the must-watch action of the league as the conference’s top two teams face off. The Buffaloes and their stingy defense have won five of their last six games and have a head-to-head win over the Ducks already this season. Oregon was the only Pac-12 squad to crack the mock bracket’s top 16 seeds with guard Payton Pritchard (who leads the team in scoring and assists) poised to try and get the Ducks back to the Final Four for the second time in his collegiate career.
West Virginia (18-5) at Baylor (21-1) – Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+
Things won’t get any easier for West Virginia, which already will have dealt with Kansas ahead of this big matchup with the Bears. Baylor has been atop the polls for the last few weeks and was given the top overall seed in the NCAA’s mock bracket exercise, entering the week on a 20-game winning streak. This is the first meeting of the year between the two schools with the return game coming in Morgantown to end the regular season on March 7.
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