Nasty Top 25 Matchups:
1. #11 Missouri (24-4) @ #15 Kansas (23-5)-2pm-CBS-Sunday
This is a showdown for first place in the Big 12 between two of the hottest teams in the country. On Monday, Kansas went into Oklahoma and beat the Sooners who were without star Blake Griffin. Kansas has now won 12 out of their last 13 with their only loss at Missouri on February 9th. The Tigers meanwhile have won 7 straight and 11 of their last 12. The Jayhawks' Sharon Collins has scored 20 or more points in their last 3 games and his hot shooting could be the key to another Jayhawk win. If Mizzou can slow him down they have a chance to go into Lawrence and get another big win and sweep the Jayhawks this year.
2. #8 Marquette (23-5) @ #6 Louisville (22-5)-Noon-CBS-Sunday
What better way to start your Sunday (for those of us who wake up at noon on the weekends, don't judge me) than to see a battle of two top ten teams in the nation's toughest conference, the Big East. Marquette lost PG Dominic James for the rest of the season after he broke a bone in his foot against UConn on Wednesday. Marquette is really going to miss him especially with their tough schedule to end the season (this game, @ PITT-3/4, and Syracuse-3/7). However Marquette still has guards Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews who both average around 20ppg. Louisville has won 4 straight since getting embarrassed at Notre Dame by 33. Louisville's star power comes from the forward spots and their ability to rebound and defend. The winner will have at least a tie for second place in the Big East and could possibly move up into the top 5 if UNC or Oklahoma were to lose this weekend.
3. #12 Clemson (22-5) @ #23 FSU (21-7)-2pm-ESPN360/Local Fox Affiliates-Saturday
In the best game that Saturday has to offer, these two ranked ACC school will battle to try to get to 9-5 in the conference. FSU needs one more win to guarantee an at-large in the big dance while Clemson is trying to secure a 2 or 3 seed in the tourney. In an earlier meeting FSU went into Clemson and upset them by four points. Clemson is a very athletic team who likes to play at a fast pace and can defend pretty well. They will have to stop FSU star guard Tony Douglas who might be the best player in the ACC. No player in ACC means more to their team than Douglas and with his lights out shooting, the Seminoles should be back in the dance this year
4. #9 Michigan St. (22-5) @ #20 Illinois (23-6)-4pm-CBS-Sunday
I know Big Ten basketball may not be as exciting as the other conferences but this game pits two very talented teams against each other. Michigan St. won their earlier meeting by six, but Illinois is getting better and has been very tough to beat at home just ask Purdue or Ohio St. (Illinois beat both of them at home by 18). What this game lacks in star power it more than makes up for in coaching, toughness and good fundamental basketball. A Michigan St. win clinches the Big Ten title for them.
Other Great Matchups:
5. #22 UCLA (21-7) @ Califorinia (21-7)-9pm-ESPN-Saturday
Both teams are 10-5 in the PAC-10 and are coming off of wins earlier in the week. Another win for CAL here will clinch them a spot in the tournament. If you like great guard play then this is a great game to watch. The key matchup will be between the PG's. UCLA has senior Darren Collison who has been a star for years. While CAL is led by 5-10 junior Jerome Randle who reminds me a lot of former Oregon star Aaron Brooks who is now in the Houston Rockets. California is the place to be on Saturday night with this great PAC-10 showdown.
6. Ohio St (18-8) @ #16 Purdue (21-7)-4pm-ESPN-Saturday
This game is big for both teams as Purdue tries to rebound from a tough loss at Michigan while Ohio St. tries to get off of the bubble and into the safe zone to get into the big dance. Ohio St. had a big win against fellow bubble team Penn St. earlier in the week. That win broke a 3 game losing streak for the Buckeyes. Ohio St. really needs to get to 20 wins to feel absolutely confident about being in, but a win on the road here at Purdue might just be enough.
7. #25 Texas (19-8) @ OK St. (18-9)-6pm-ESPN-Saturday
What a big weekend in the Big 12, Blake Griffin might return on Saturday, you've got Kansas-Mizzou and this huge game as well. The Texas Longhorns will try to lock up a tournament bid with a win at OK St. It will not be easy as the Cowboys are on a roll, winning 4 straight to put themselves in the best position of any other Big 12 bubble team. In the end both of these teams will likely be dancing in March but this game will go a long way in determining momentum and seeding for both the Big 12 Tourney and the big dance.
Big Bubble Games:
8. Tennessee (17-10) @ Florida (21-7)-2pm-CBS-Sunday
Both of these teams are 8-5 in the SEC and are on the bubble. Florida has a very good record, while Tennessee has a very good RPI at 25. Both teams are very athletic and love to press and trap so whoever wins the turnover battle should have a big edge. The other key will be which team can shoot the basketball better. Tennessee beat Florida pretty bad earlier in the season at Tennessee so the Gators will be looking for some revenge at home.
9. Cincinnati (18-10) @ Syracuse (20-8)-2pm-ESPN360-SundaySyracuse needs just one more win and they are off the bubble and easily into the dance. Cincinnati is a clearly on the bubble with a RPI of 51 and their record (18-10, 8-7). The Bearcats had a key win against WVU on Thursday. Cincinnati has some key wins on their resume but they really don't have any big road wins. If they go into the Carrier Dome and pull off the upset it would be a huge step in making the big dance. This will be another great guard matchup in the Big East this year between The Cuse's Jonny Flynn and Cincinnati's Deonta Vaughn.
10. Temple (17-10) @ Dayton (23-5)-4pm-No TV-Saturday
Both teams were feeling good coming into the week. However both teams appeared to be looking ahead to this game as they both lost earlier in the week. That makes this game even more crucial. Dayton has gone from ranked shoe in for the dance to a slumping bubble team. However with a win here and certainly if they beat Xavier next week then they will be back to locked status. Temple had won 5 in a row before they lost at home against LaSalle on Thursday. Temple will go as far as star guard Dionte Christmas takes them. Another loss for Temple and their bubble could be popped so this game might be bigger to the Owls than the Flyers. But make no mistake, Dayton needs this win as well.
Games between Bubble teams trying to upset a ranked team in their conference:
Georgetown (14-12) @ #10 Villanova (23-5)-Noon-ESPN-Saturday
Notre Dame (16-11) @ #2 UConn (26-2)-2pm-CBS-Saturday
Arizona (18-10) @ #21 Washington (21-7)-3pm-No TV-Saturday
#7 Duke (23-5) @ Virginia Tech (17-10)-3:30pm-ABC-Saturday
#18 LSU (24-4) @ Kentucky (19-9)-4pm-CBS-Saturday
Bubble Elimination Games-Basically the loser has a little to no shot of getting in as an at-large, the only exception might be Wisconsin with their high RPI-30.
Illinois St. (22-7) @ Creighton (24-6)-2pm-ESPN2-Saturday
Nebraska (16-10) @ Kansas St. (19-9)-8pm-ESPN360-Saturday
Michigan (18-11) @ Wisconsin (17-10)-2pm-No TV-Sunday
Other games that are remotely interesting if you are addicted to college basketball:
Utah (20-7) @ BYU (21-6)-5pm-No TV-Saturday
S. Carolina (20-6) @ Vandy (16-11)-9pm-ESPNU-Saturday
Utah St. (26-3) @ Nevada (16-11)-10:05pm-No TV-Saturday
Rhode Island (21-8) @ Duquesne (17-9)-3:30pm-No TV-Sunday