1-4-20 College Basketball Games to Watch
If you don't watch college basketball today, you "hate fun." (Jon Rothstein-ism)
#18 FSU at #7 Louisville (-6 ½) (ACC) at 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
#23 Iowa vs. #21 Penn St. (-2 ½) (Big Ten) (The Palestra; Philadelphia, PA) at 2 p.m. (BTN)
#16 W. Virginia at #3 Kansas (-10) (Big 12) at 4 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
We get three ranked vs. ranked game today. (It stinks that two of the games coincide at 2 p.m.) ESPN has to be thrilled that “the Plus” gets a big boost today with the WV-Kansas matchup on its subscription service. West Virginia is playing really good basketball and coming off a big win against Ohio State. Kansas is still one of the favorites to win it all this year. Kansas has one of the best inside-outside combos in the country with Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. However, the Jayhawks aren’t a very deep team in my opinion. West Virginia is deeper and has five players averaging between 8.8 and 11.8 points. Winning in Allen Fieldhouse is difficult, so I will go with Kansas in a game that I think is closer than the Vegas line.
Louisville hosts FSU in a game that feels like a big Jordan Nwora game waiting to happen. As a Nole alum and fan, we always seem to get highly-ranked teams on the road at a bad time. FSU hasn’t played particularly well lately, but has found a way to win. I expect the Cards to win handily today (but I hope I am wrong). Penn State plays in Philly today against Iowa in a game between two teams that have been surprisingly good this year. Who goes off today for a big game: Lamar Stevens (PSU) or Luka Garza (Iowa)? Chances are the winner will get a big day from one of these two. I think this game could be one of the best of the day.
The Undefeated Watch
#8 Auburn (-1) at Mississippi St. (SEC) at 4:30 p.m. (SECN)
#13 San Diego St. at Utah St. (-3) (MWC) at 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
Only two undefeated teams remain and they both play today. San Diego State is an underdog at a Utah State team that has been disappointing this year, and the Aggies are coming off taking a whipping from a not very good UNLV team. That could be due to Neemias Queta being out a lot so far this season. He’s a game changer in the middle for Utah State. It doesn’t look like he will play, but Utah State may still have enough to knock off the balanced Aztecs.
Auburn is a tiny favorite at Miss. State. It is entirely possible that we have zero undefeated teams after today. I actually think they both win.
The Next Wave (Best Games involving one ranked team)
Creighton at #11 Butler (-4 ½) (Big East) at noon (FS1)
Indiana at #15 Maryland (-7) (Big Ten) at noon (FOX)
Oklahoma St. at #22 Texas Tech (-5 ½) (Big 12) at noon (ESPN2)
#10 Villanova at Marquette (-1) (Big East) at 2 p.m. (FOX)
Va. Tech at #19 Virginia (-6 ½) (ACC) at 2 p.m. (FSN/ACCN Extra)
*Ole Miss at #24 Wichita St. (-8) (AAC-SEC scheduling alliance game) at 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
#4 Oregon (-4 ½) at Utah (Pac-12) at 5 p.m. (Pac-12N)
Texas at #6 Baylor (-9) (Big 12) at 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
#2 Duke (-10) at Miami, FL (ACC) at 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Arizona St. at #25 Arizona (-11) (Pac-12) at 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12N)
These games could be really good and there’s a little something for everyone here.
Upset Watch Games
Missouri at #17 Kentucky (-8) (SEC) at 2 p.m. (SECN)
Alabama at Florida (-7) (SEC) at 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Ga. Tech at N. Carolina (-7 ½) (ACC) at 6 p.m. (ACCN)
Pepperdine at #1 Gonzaga (-21) (WCC) at 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
St. Mary’s at Pacific (-8 ½) (WCC) at 10 p.m. (Stadium)
These five games could provide an upset. I am starting to buy into the narrative that the ACC and SEC are down compared to expectations, so I have three games that could provide more ammo for that thought. I don’t actually think Gonzaga will lose at home, especially after a sluggish first half at Portland, but it’s been a wild season so far. St. Mary’s is more vulnerable against a Pacific team that has been surprising so far.
E. Tenn. St. at Furman (-2 ½) (Southern) at 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
UNC Greensboro at Wofford (-1) (Southern) at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
If you want to scope out a bracket buster before March, then watch this duo of games that features the four teams most likely to win the auto bid. These teams are better than you want to give them credit for, so tune in to see for yourself.
Other Games to Watch
LSU at Tennessee (-1) (SEC) at noon (ESPNU)
*Georgia at #9 Memphis (-7 ½) (AAC-SEC scheduling alliance game) at 1 p.m. (CBS)
Providence at DePaul (-2 ½) (Big East) at 2 p.m. (FS1)
Notre Dame at Syracuse (-3) (ACC) at 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Boise St. at Nevada (-3 ½) (MWC) at 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Valparaiso at Evansville (-1 ½) (MVC) at 7 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
Bradley at N. Iowa (-7 ½) (MVC) at 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
*SMU (-1) at Vanderbilt (AAC-SEC scheduling alliance game) at 9 p.m. (SECN)
New Mexico St. (-5) at Cal Baptist (WAC) at 10 p.m. (ESPN+) $$
These 9 games have the potential to be very entertaining! These look like the kind that could wind up in overtime (or multiple OTs). Enjoy!