Can’t Miss College Basketball Games
The first college basketball weekend in February features some critical rivalry games. Here are five games we’ll be watching this Super Bowl weekend.
Saturday, February 3
This game is always emotional for Kansas coach Bill Self as he goes up against his Alma Mater in Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks are tough to beat because they have five players averaging at least 12 points-per-game, and two of those (Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk) average over 17 points-per-game. Kansas is turning a corner in the toughest conference in the country. Oklahoma State is having a rough season so far. They enter this game on a 3-game losing streak and losers of seven of their last 10.
Ahh, the battle for Los Angeles! There is a lot of basketball left to play, but if the regular season were to end this weekend, both UCLA and USC would be in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA has had a whole week to rest and prepare for the Trojans following a Northern California (Stanford and Cal) sweep last weekend. USC is 8-2 in conference play and are winners of their last six games in a row. This is an important and challenging stretch for Andy Enfield’s squad. After this road game at UCLA, the Trojans pack their bags and play their next two on the road against the Arizona schools: at No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils and at No. 9 Arizona Wildcats.
Coach Shaka Smart and his Texas Longhorns are squarely on the bubble. Texas struggles to score, but their defense and rebounding is good enough to keep them in games. Trae Young, by Trae Young standards and a pretty average week last week and he’ll be going up against Texas guard Andrew Jones. Jones was spectacular in last year’s contest, scoring the go ahead basket to give the Longhorns the win in Austin.
Sunday, February 4
Can we recreate a small IlliBuck Trophy for this game? To raise the stakes a little bit? The Ohio State Buckeyes were flying high before falling back to down to earth a little bit last week at home to Penn State. On Tuesday night both Ohio State and Illinois earned big home wins against Indiana and Rutgers respectively. Illinois starting forward Leron Black has played great during this 2-game win streak. He’ll have a hard time guarding one of the best big men in the conference when he goes up against Keita Bates-Diop, a player that averages just under 20 points and nine rebounds per game.
This is the first of two meetings between Seton Hall and Villanova; two campuses with just 97 miles separating them. Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson is the total package and is a strong candidate for Player of the Year honors. Seton Hall is loaded with intimidating front court players in Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado, but their back court has really played well these last few weeks. Guards Myles Powell and Khadeen Carrington are strong and physical, and they’ll try to limit Brunson’s ability to drive and kick.