In our Bright House and yours, we’re seeing the cream rise to the top as the college basketball season enters the last few weeks. Syracuse remains atop the rankings as the only undefeated team from either the ACC or the Big East, two of the best college basketball conferences in the country. Arizona, Duke, Cincinnati, Kansas, and Villanova are all in the Top 10, and that would be no surprise near the end of any college basketball season. The excitement is building and fans are starting to sharpen their pencils to begin dreaming about dominating office pools with their March Madness brackets. This week we’ll take a look at matchups involving Top 25 teams, and give you some predictions for the biggest games of the week. Teams in bold are Bright House Networks hometown teams.
Tuesday, February 18:
#9 Villanova at Providence on Fox Sports 1
South Florida at #11 Louisville on CBS Sports Network
#19 Texas at #17 Iowa State on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Texas comes into this game as the fifth-best rebounding team in the country, pulling down 42 boards per contest. Iowa State is the best team in the country in assists at nearly 19 per game, and is fifth in points per game, scoring over 84 each time out, and they’ll have home court advantage.
Prediction: Iowa State wins this one 86 – 78.
#18 Kentucky at Ole Miss on ESPN and WatchESPN
#8 Kansas at Texas Tech on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
#5 Duke at Georgia Tech on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
#14 Virginia at Virginia Tech on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
#15 Iowa at Indiana on ESPN and WatchESPN
Utah State at #6 San Diego State on ESPNU and WatchESPN
Wednesday, February 19:
Boston College at #1 Syracuse on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Auburn at #2 Florida on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
#7 Cincinnati at UCF on ESPNU and WatchESPN
#10 Saint Louis at George Mason on NBC Sports Network
Northwestern at #24 Ohio State on Big Ten Network
#11 Creighton at Marquette on Fox Sports 1
#4 Arizona at Utah on Fox Sports 1
#23 UCLA at California on Pac-12 Network
Thursday, February 20:
#13 Michigan State at Purdue on ESPN and WatchESPN
#22 Memphis at Rutgers on CBS Sports Network
#5 Duke at North Carolina on ESPN and WatchESPN
#21 Connecticut at Temple on ESPN and WatchESPN
#25 Gonzaga at Brigham Young on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Saturday, February 22:
#2 Florida at Ole Miss on CBS
#11 Louisville at #7 Cincinnati on CBS
Until they miss the March Madness tournament or lose a game in the Big Dance, Louisville are still defending national champions, and they’ll be primed to defend their crown against traditional rival Cincinnati. The Cardinals are among the top 25 teams in the nation in scoring and shooting percentage, and they are in the top 50 in assists and rebounds. The Bearcats will be trying to defend home court and stay ahead of the Cardinals atop the American Conference in this battle for the league lead.
Prediction: Louisville wins convincingly 87 – 69.
#16 Wisconsin at #15 Iowa on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
The Badgers and Hawkeyes sit right next to each other in the polls and in the Big 10 standings. The visiting Badger squad comes in riding a four-game win streak and looks to make it five in a row and leap over Iowa in conference play. But Iowa will be defending home court with top 10 rankings in scoring and rebounds per game, and a top 25 ranking in assists, with over 16 per game.
Prediction: Iowa dominates this contest 97 – 63.
St. John’s at #9 Villanova on Fox Sports 1
Notre Dame at #14 Virginia on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
#17 Iowa State at TCU on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
LSU at #18 Kentucky on ESPN and WatchESPN
#23 UCLA at Stanford on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Minnesota at #24 Ohio State on Big Ten Network
#1 Syracuse at #5 Duke on ESPN and WatchESPN
Syracuse figures to remain undefeated going into Saturday’s big contest—their only other game this week is against the struggling Eagles of BC. From the stat sheets, Syracuse is not dominating in any particular category, but they are simply finding ways to grind out and wear down opponents. Back on February 1 Duke took Syracuse to OT on the road, and now they’ll be looking to hand the Orangemen their first loss at home in front of the Cameron Crazies. It’s a prime-time Saturday night showdown in the tarheel state, and this one figures to be a must see game.
Prediction: Coach K’s Blue Devils knock off the Orangemen 84 – 71.
#19 Texas at #8 Kansas on ESPNU and WatchESPN
Texas will play its second game against a ranked opponent on Saturday on the road. Their 42 rebounds per game is good for fifth among all Division 1 teams, and keeping the ball out of the hands of the Jayhawks will certainly help the cause. Meanwhile, Kansas comes in best in the nation in shooting percentage, hitting over 50% of their shots from the floor, and they are in the top 35 in assists, rebounds, and scoring. Plus, they’ll have the hometown crowd behind them.
Prediction: Kansas wins this one 87 – 74.
#4 Arizona at Colorado on ESPN and WatchESPN
Temple at #22 Memphis on ESPNU and WatchESPN
#6 San Diego State at New Mexico on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
#25 Gonzaga at San Diego on ESPN2 at WatchESPN
Sunday, February 23:
#13 Michigan State at #20 Michigan on CBS
Sparty lost to the Wolverines back on January 25 at home, and now they look to return the favor as the road team. This game is about more than the in-state rivalry—it will be for the outright lead in the Big 10 conference race. Michigan State is seventh in the nation in assists at over 17 per game, and they will want to keep spreading the floor in this game. Michigan enters the contest shooting nearly 48% from the floor, good for 24th nationally among Division 1 teams. They’ll need to shoot well to send Sparty back home with a loss and take the lead in the conference.
Prediction: State wins 85 – 71.
SMU at #21 Connecticut on CBS Sports Network
Seton Hall at #11 Creighton on Fox Sports Net
Monday, February 24:
#1 Syracuse at Maryland on ESPN and WatchESPN
Oklahoma at #8 Kansas on ESPN and WatchESPN
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