Conference play is heating up in the second weekend of the New Year. Here’s what we’ll be watching this weekend.
Can't-Miss College Basketball Games
*All times CST
Saturday, January 13
Not only is this a rivalry game, but it’s clear at this point these are two of the top four, five teams in the Big Ten Conference. Coaches come and go, but Tom Izzo (23 seasons at Michigan State) and John Beilein (11 years at Michigan) are standing the test of time and are consistently in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan’s had a treacherous schedule. They lost at home to Purdue on Tuesday by just one point.
It’s strange to have a conference game rematch between two teams that played just two weeks ago. Very little time has passed since Oklahoma went into Fort Worth and beat TCU 90-89. Sooners star Trae Young erupted for 39 points and 14 assists and sealed the game at the end by knocking down a pair of crucial free throws. Who’s up for Round 2??
Texas Tech is coming off a 10-point loss to Trae Young’s Oklahoma Sooners this past Tuesday. The 15-1 and No. 2 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Lubbock after narrowly beating the 11-5 Baylor Bears earlier in the week. Jevon Carter is hands down one of the top guards in the country. He averages 16 points, seven assists and just over five rebounds per game. He’s one of the top defenders in the Big 12 and the anchor of this version of Bob Huggins’ ‘Press Virginia’.
No. 18 Miami Hurricanes at No. 19 Clemson Tigers @ 2 on ESPNU
Is there a more surprising team in the country than the Clemson Tigers? Clemson has just one loss on the season (to Temple in November) and is thus far 3-0 in ACC play. The Tigers do their damage with a balanced attack. They have five players averaging double figures in scoring. The Miami Hurricanes are are coming off of a significant win against Florida State last weekend. Yes, the Tigers are home in this ACC matchup, but the advantage has to go to the Hurricanes. Miami will have a full six days to rest up and prepare for Clemson. The Tigers will have just three days in between the Miami game and their road game at N.C. State Thursday night.
Sunday, January 14
N.C. State Wolfpack at No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers @ 5 on ESPNU
What a week it was for first-year coach Kevin Keatts. Keatts earned his first ACC win against that blue-blooded team 23 miles away, the Duke Blue Devils last weekend. N.C. State can really score the basketball — and they go up against a Virginia Cavaliers team that ranks No. 1 in the country in scoring defense. Virginia held then No. 12 ranked North Carolina to just 49 points a week ago. Basketball purists will knock Virginia’s style of play, how it’s not exciting and dreadfully boring to watch. Right now it’s working to the tune of a 15-1 record and first place in the ACC.