I hope you’ve all had a chance to check out some college basketball this past week. Maybe it was the Jimmy V Classic or one of the few top five teams who actually had a good game, like Nevada and Gonzaga. Hopefully in the mist of all the NFL games, you found a way to watch the top ranked Gonzaga team face Tennessee, who is also ranked in the top 10. That was until Tennessee beat Gonzaga and knocked them out of the top spot. You can check out my newest rankings here.
This week will be much more like the last. I have given you my power rankings a bit earlier, but now is the weekly preview of some good games to watch this week. To recap the important games from last week, you can look at the article. But let me also give you a preview of week six in the college basketball schedule. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many games of importance scheduled this week until Saturday and Sunday, so expect another Power Ranking and weekly preview on Monday, Dec. 17th.
Until then, let’s jump right into this week’s schedule. Will we see an unranked team beat a ranked team and earn their way into the top 25? How about the undefeated teams? Will they remain that way? Let’s see what games we have in store for us this week! Like last week, Duke does not have games of importance based on their opponents. Michigan and Virginia join that list this week, so we may not see much change among the top five teams.
Monday, Dec. 10th through Friday, Dec. 14th
Unfortunately, there are no games of importance taking place between these days. It is a lot of smaller teams playing against each other or bigger schools playing small schools. It is also finals time for the collegiate athletes, and regardless of those players just wanting to do one-and-done, education is still important to the student athlete.
But after finals, we have plenty of great games and invitationals who will help us get further along in our quest to the tourney.
Saturday, Dec. 15th
Tennessee (7-1) versus Memphis (5-4)
This game is for the rights of the state of Tennessee. Also the right to keep moving up in the ranking after beating Gonzaga on Sunday. Tennessee is ranked in the top five, but they want more. What better way to do that than to beat a struggling Memphis team? Let’s see if Tennessee can keep the momentum in their favor.
Villanova (8-2) versus Kansas (8-0)
This is one of the two biggest games of the week, featuring two top 20 teams who could very well win it all this year. For Villanova, it would be back-to-back and the third in four years. For Kansas, it would be their first time since 2008. Kansas is more interested in getting revenge for their loss in the final four against Villanova last year. So let’s get the popcorn ready for this one!
Notre Dame (7-2) versus Purdue (6-4)
Both of these teams will likely be in the tourney, but Notre Dame wants to be in the top 25. After losing to Oklahoma on Jimmy V night, Notre Dame will still be looking on the outside. Purdue has already tasted the top 25 this season, but their losses have knocked them out and they need a win over a top ACC team to hopefully lead them back in.
Indiana (8-2) versus Butler (7-2)
Both of these teams are worthy of a top 25 spot, but this game will keep one of them out. It’s more important for Indiana to win this game before they start playing conference games that could likely knock them out. For Butler, it’s all about proving they are still one of the teams to be taken seriously in the Big East.
Virginia Tech (8-1) versus Washington (6-3)
Virginia Tech continues to have a strong start, but I wonder when they’ll start to collapse. The football team did it this season too, so why not do it in basketball? I do think they’ll be able to get by Washington, but it won’t be easy. Washington took the then No. 1 Gonzaga to their limits this past week. That alone should worry a lot of teams on the Huskies schedule.
Gonzaga (9-1) versus North Carolina (7-2)
Speaking of Gonzaga, they have taken their first loss on the season, but are still in the top three for now. A win over North Carolina would really help them stay in the top five. It’ll look great on their resume to have beaten two of the top teams in the ACC. For North Carolina, it’s about battling back from tough losses against Michigan and Texas, proving they are the best team in the world. Now that’s a game I’m looking forward to watching.
Kentucky (7-2) versus Utah (4-4)
Kentucky lost late to a struggling, but average, Seton Hall team last week, which has dropped them down in the rankings. They need a game like this one against Utah to help them get back on track before they get the tough opponents again.
North Carolina State (8-1) versus Penn State (5-4)
The ACC is so competitive this early in the season that all the teams are fighting for a top 25 spot before they get into conference play. North Carolina State is one of those teams on the outside looking in. They need a big win over a power five conference opponent to have a chance. If this was football, I would say better luck next time, but it’s not. North Carolina State should be able to win games and prove their game against Wisconsin was just the better team winning.
Arizona (7-2) versus Baylor (5-3)
I expect to see both of these teams in the tourney as well, but for both it’s about winning a non-conference game and helping their chances at getting ranked higher. For Arizona, it’s a possible top 25 ranking, which is where we are use to seeing them anyway. But Baylor wants to recover from the early season struggles.
Kent State (8-1) versus Louisville (6-3)
Neither one of these teams will be ranked in the top 25 no matter who wins, but Kent State is out to prove they can play with the big boys in college basketball. Regardless of Louisville’s three losses, they are still one of the top teams in college basketball and we will see them in the tourney. Kent State just hopes they will get their chance to be there too!
Mississippi State (8-1) versus Cincinnati (9-1)
Mississippi State has managed to stay in the top 25, and rightfully so. They only lost one game to 20th ranked Arizona State. This game against Cincinnati will determine if they stay ranked or not, and it’s not going to be easy! Cincinnati has always been one of the best teams in the American Atlantic Conference. They don’t have any impressive wins outside of Xavier, so this game will be a huge motivator for them as they look to get into the top 25 picture. Cincinnati’s only loss has come to the Ohio State Buckeyes in their first game of the season. They have used that as motivation thus far.
Sunday, Dec. 16th
Nebraska (8-2) versus Oklahoma State (4-5)
Nebraska needs a big win to stay in the top 25 after losing to Minnesota. Their win over Creighton last week is what gave them one more week in the top 25. A loss against a not so good Oklahoma State team will definitely knock them out of the rankings. Can Oklahoma State pull off the upset, or will Nebraska remain in the top 25?
Will we have a new No. 1 next week, or will it be the same familiar face? Comment on which games you think are important and who might be on upset alert this week!