In our Bright House and yours, we’re excited to see a change at the top of the national rankings. Bright House Networks hometown favorite Florida now finds itself atop both the AP and the USA Today Coaches Polls after Syracuse lost two games in the last seven days. With this change in the rankings it’s a good opportunity to look back and see how our predictions have been this season and look ahead to the exciting action in the coming week.
So far in my predictions on the basketball season I have a combined record of 13 – 20, which means that my March Madness brackets should be about as awful as usual this year. Maybe one of our readers will be lucky enough to win Warren Buffet’s Perfect Bracket Challenge this year. 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.
Thursday, February 27:
7:00pm Arkansas at #17 Kentucky on ESPN and WatchESPN #22 Ohio State at Penn State on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
8:00pm Duquesne at #10 Saint Louis on NBC Sports Network
9:00pm Temple at #7 Louisville on ESPN2 and WatchESPN #20 Iowa at Indiana on ESPN and WatchESPN #21 Memphis at Houston on CBS Sports Network
Saturday, March 1:
Noon #11 Cincinnati at Connecticut on ESPN and WatchESPN
2:00pm Missouri State at #2 Wichita State on ESPN2 and WatchESPN #7 Louisville at #21 Memphis on CBS
As teams head into the final week of the season, Louisville is on a hot streak, figuring to win seven games in a row headed into the matchup with the Tigers. The defending national champions are getting on a hot streak at the right time, and they are ranked in the top 50 D1 teams in the nation in scoring, rebounds, assists, and shooting percentage. Meanwhile, Memphis is struggling down the stretch, having two of their last three games go into overtime and splitting the results of those extended contests. Statistically, Memphis is a good match for Louisville, but this game will come down to who wants it more.
Prediction: Louisville wins easily, 92 – 72.
2:30pm #19 North Carolina at Virginia Tech on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
4:00pm LSU at #1 Florida on CBS #4 Syracuse at #12 Virginia on ESPN and WatchESPN After winning 25 games in a row to start the season, the Orange lost both contests last week before getting back on the winning side of the ledger against Maryland on Monday night. Syracuse has won this year with great defense, because they struggle on offense (scoring under 70 points per game) and shooting (under 45% from the floor). Meanwhile, Virginia is riding a 12-game win streak coming into Saturday’s contest with the Orange. Defense has been the key to the Cavaliers season as well, so this one should be an interesting matchup.
Prediction: Syracuse squeaks out the win 70 – 68.
Illinois at #18 Michigan State on ESPN and WatchESPN UCF at #23 SMU on ESPNews #24 Texas at #25 Oklahoma on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court
The Longhorns come into this game having won 3 of their last 5 games, but losing to both ranked opponents they played in that stretch. They are ranked 4th in the nation in rebounds, with nearly 42 per contest, but they are outside the Top 50 in scoring, assists, and shooting accuracy. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has also lost to both ranked teams they played in February, and they’ll be looking to make a statement in this traditional rivalry game. It should be a fun one.
Prediction: Oklahoma wins 82 – 80.
5:00pm #9 Creighton at Xavier on FOX Sports 1
6:00pm #10 Saint Louis at Virginia Commonwealth on ESPN2 and WatchESPN Minnesota at #16 Michigan on Big Ten Network #17 Kentucky at South Carolina on ESPN and WatchESPN
7:00pm #15 Iowa State at Kansas State on ESPNU and WatchESPN
8:15pm Purdue at #20 Iowa on Big Ten Network
9:00pm #5 Kansas at Oklahoma State on ESPN and WatchESPN
10:00pm #13 San Diego State at Fresno State on CBS Sports Network
Sunday, March 2:
Noon #14 Wisconsin at Penn State on Big Ten Network
2:00pm Marquette at #8 Villanova on CBS
4:00pm #22 Ohio State at Indiana on CBS
6:00pm #25 New Mexico at Nevada on ESPN3
8:00pm Stanford at #3 Arizona on ESPNU and WatchESPN
Monday, February 24:
7:00pm Notre Dame at #19 North Carolina on ESPN and WatchESPN
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