The regular season is winding down. Most teams have just a few games remaining on the schedule before conference tournaments begin. Know this: Regular season victories count more than a victory or two in the conference tournaments, especially for teams on the bubble. Here’s what we’re watching this weekend.
Can’t Miss College Basketball Games
*All Times CST
FRIDAY, February 16
No. 16 Rhode Island Rams @ St. Bonaventure Bonnies at 6 on ESPN2
NCAA basketball fans will remember Rhode Island’s run last season to the second round of the tournament. This late-season game features the two top teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference. Here is what you have to know about St. Bonaventure: They beat Maryland at a neutral site. They beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. They have one of the best scorers in the country in Jaylen Adams, a player who dropped 44 points against St. Louis and 40 points Duquesne last week. Will the Rams stay undefeated after their trip to Allegany, New York?
SATURDAY, February 17
The Big East regular season title likely comes down to this rematch game. A month ago, Xavier marched into Philadelphia and was blown out by Villanova 89-65. What’s happened since? The Musketeers have run the table and have looked like the best team in the country, and certainly the best team in the Big East Conference. College basketball was made for atmospheres like the one we’ll see at the Cintas Center on Saturday. Come one, come all to The X in Cincinnati.
The Kansas Jayhawks have won at least a share of the Big 12 Title every single year since 2004. That’s 13 straight years of dominance and championship mettle. KU is in real danger of having the streak come to an end, which is why this game is so important. In un-KU-like fashion, Bill Self’s squad has dropped three home games already this season (Arizona State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State). Yes, Kansas will still make the NCAA Tournament, but this revered streak is what’s stake. Kansas already beat West Virginia earlier this year in Morgantown, 71-66.
SUNDAY, February 18
It’s a shame one of the country’s best rivalry games only takes place just one time this season. Ohio State controls its own destiny and could win its first outright Big Ten Title since 2012. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines will be in the NCAA Tournament, so this game is all about bragging rights and earning a better seed come March Madness. Keita Bates-Diop is having a tremendous season. How will Michigan look to attack him?
The quality of basketball in this game will be top notch as Penn State looks to build its NCAA Tournament resume before the selection committee ultimately decides their fate. A win at Purdue might seem impossible, but Ohio State went in there and got the job done a couple of weeks ago. The Nittany Lions have the outside shooting and enough strength in the low post to cause Matt Painter’s Purdue team fits. Penn State has a whole lot to gain depending on how this game goes.