It’s Holiday season here at TCR and all over the world. As you light up your fireplace and settle in for some family time, take a look at some of the good games taking place this Friday and Saturday.
*Note: All times listed are CT. There are no Division I Basketball games on December 24, Christmas Eve.
Can’t Miss College Basketball Games
Friday, December 22
Heading towards the final stretch of non-conference play, we still don’t really know what these two teams are made of. Come March, will both of these teams be dancing? This is one of those bubble-type games in December to keep an eye on.
Credit to Northwestern for playing a true road game against one of the best teams in the nation. Scheduling takes place years ahead of time true, but Oklahoma led by former Illinois head coach Lon Kruger has a special team on his hands. OU’s Trae Young is the best player in the country — and it’s not even close.
This game takes place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday evening. After struggling through a four-game losing streak (@VT, vsPSU, @IU, @ISU), the Hawkeyes demolished cupcakes Southern and Drake the last week. Colorado’s had the far easier schedule of the two and stands at 8-3. The Buffaloes have only played one ranked opponent; No. 13 Xavier which resulted in a 96-69 loss to the Musketeers in Cincinnati.
Now if only this were a football matchup! In all seriousness, Mohamed Bamba of the Texas Longhorns and Collin Sexton of the Alabama Crimson Tide are two of the top freshmen in the country. Bamba is a rim protector with some offensive skills that stretch out to the perimeter. Sexton is a high scoring combo-guard averaging just under 22 points per game. Expect both to be in the NBA next season.
Saturday, December 23
The Tennessee Vols have just two losses; to No. 1 Villanova and to No. 7 North Carolina. Not too shabby. Wake Forest will be a tough test; a true road game against an ACC team that will only get better as the season goes along.
The 10-3 Ohio State Buckeyes head to New Orleans, Louisiana to take on the 10-2 North Carolina Tar Heels. The defending Final Four champs will have a strong, home-crowd like atmosphere in the Big Easy just days after falling to Wofford in Chapel Hill. This is another tough test for new Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and his squad. The last time Ohio State played against a ranked opponent was a 86-59 loss to No. 17 Gonzaga earlier this season.
Certain college basketball games invoke ghosts of players and coaches from the past. This is one of those games. Kentucky has the better team in 2017 and should cruise to victory over a weak, lost UCLA opponent. Somewhere up in the basketball heavens, Adolph Rupp and John Wooden are smiling, enjoying this game together.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs Missouri Tigers @ 7 on ESPN2
Can the Illinois Fighting Illini win their fifth Braggin Rights game in a row against the Missouri Tigers in St. Louis?
The story-lines in this game go like this: New head coaches in Brad Underwood and Cuonzo Martin. The big-man recruit from East St. Louis that flipped from Illinois to Mizzou. Mizzou’s top player and NBA future lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. injured and likely out for the rest of the season. Illinois trying to find its way playing with a ton of young players (Te’Jon Lucas, Trent Frazier, Mark Smith, etc). Who comes out on top??