Kansas and Baylor are among the teams that need to be on upset alert this week.
There may not be fans in the stands but winning on the road is still as tricky as ever in college basketball. Perhaps it is a result of the extensive coronavirus protocols that make a road trip more strenuous than usual, but simply taking care of business is a big deal for a team’s March Madness resume.
That job is easier said than done, as Oregon learned last week when they got upset at Colorado. Let’s take a look at five more teams on upset alert this week, beginning with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas needs to be on upset alert at Oklahoma State
The Jayhawks responded nicely to a beatdown by Texas by winning a pair of games last week, but they need to be careful with Tuesday’s road trip to Oklahoma State. Cade Cunningham has proven to be a game-wrecker for the Cowboys, averaging 17.8 points per game and making plays all over the floor as Oklahoma State has proven to be quite a handful in conference play.
The Cowboys aren’t eligible to go to the postseason this year so they could look at a game like this as their March Madness moment. Kansas needs to be prepared to match Oklahoma State’s intensity level to avoid getting tripped up on the road.
Florida State could be vulnerable against NC State
This does violate the rule a bit since Florida State is home but the matchup is a tricky one against NC State. The Wolfpack have dropped two straight games and need to pick up as many quality wins in ACC play as possible after assembling yet another pitiful non-conference schedule.
The game is also tough for Florida State since it will be the program’s first since Dec. 29 due to a COVID pause. There could be some rust for the Seminoles to shake off and that could put an upset into play.
Missouri could be in trouble at Texas A&M
The Missouri Tigers have been one of the big surprises in the early going but SEC play hasn’t been as kind to them. Both of Missouri’s losses have come in SEC play, including a 15-point defeat at Mississippi State on Jan. 5.
The Tigers have to stew in that loss for 11 days before they hit the road again to take on Texas A&M, which has a dynamic forward to contend with in Emanuel Miller, who is averaging 17.3 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per night. A big night from Miller could spark the Aggies to a win over a Missouri squad that has had its issues in league play.
Baylor needs to be on upset alert at Texas Tech
Getting through the rough-and-tumble Big 12 isn’t easy so Baylor deserves a ton of credit for entering the week unbeaten in conference play. The Bears haven’t really been tested against the league’s elites yet but that will change this week when Baylor takes on West Virginia and Texas Tech.
The Mountaineers game is at home and will be a physical one, which could beat up the Bears a bit for a potential upset over the weekend at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders’ two losses in conference play have come by a combined six points and they could make a major statement by knocking off Baylor in Lubbock.
Gonzaga needs to be careful with Saint Mary’s
It feels almost sacrilegious to put Gonzaga in this space since they are head-and-shoulders above everyone else in the country. The Bulldogs have an excellent chance to go unbeaten but a true road game in conference play is always difficult, making Saturday’s matchup against Saint Mary’s one worth keeping an eye on.
The Gaels racked up a ton of non-conference wins that weren’t really impressive and fell in their WCC opener, making this game a must-win if they have any real NCAA Tournament aspirations. Gonzaga has had its issues with Saint Mary’s in the past so Mark Few will need to be sure his charges don’t take the Gaels lightly in this matchup.
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