College basketball weekly preview: Week seven
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this week’s top 25 rankings, you can do so here! Last week, we got to see a bit more interesting matchups that played a huge role in where teams were ranked.
We saw the reigning National Champions lose both their games and get bumped out the top 25. We also saw previous No. 1 Gonzaga lose their second straight game to a top-ranked opponent. I hope you were able to find some time to watch the few top 25 matchups that took place. That is, if you weren’t watching the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns continue to fight their way into the playoffs. Yes, that’s right! The Browns are in the hunt. Read about that here.
This week features several games with ranked opponents against each other or teams who might not be ranked, but have similar records to this point. First, let’s recap the important games from last week and see where Villanova and Gonzaga lost.
With that, we will 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! This week we will not see undefeated teams like Michigan and Nevada have a tough matchup.
But we do have the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic this weekend. Though there aren’t any teams who are very impressive in it, it is still something worth watching.
Tuesday, Dec. 18th
Buffalo (10-0) versus Syracuse (7-3)
This is the first of two tough matchups for the undefeated Buffalo team. If they can manage to win this one over the Syracuse Orange, it will help solidify their ranking in the top 25. With a 10-0 record, Buffalo has a lot of eyes on them this season. It’s going to be interesting to see where this season takes them.
For Syracuse, it’s about getting back into the top 25 after the brief moment they were in there! They want to prove they are one of the best in the ACC this year. Knocking out one of the undefeated teams will help prove their point. So who will win?
Oklahoma (8-1) versus Creighton (7-3)
I had Oklahoma in my top 25 ranking last week because they have played very well with a 9-1 record, having their one loss to a ranked Wisconsin team. This game against Creighton is important to them if they want to be put in the top rankings again.
I only removed them because they didn’t play anyone of interest, but this game is about getting recognized. This is the first of two important games this week for Oklahoma.
Wednesday, Dec. 19th
Auburn (9-1) versus N.C. State (9-1)
This is a top 25 matchup according to my rankings. Auburn hasn’t done much of anything to really impress us, besides not let their loss to Duke earlier in the season make them fall out. Can they manage to beat a red hot North Carolina State team who’s also only lost one game? I think the committee will have a lot to think about if North Carolina State does come up big this week.
Cincinnati (9-2) versus UCLA (7-3)
Both of these teams are expected to be in the tourney when it’s time to decided that, but right now they want to earn their way into the top 25. Cincinnati had a chance of doing that last week, but they lost to a ranked Mississippi State team.
For UCLA, it’s been a rough start to the season, but this week could be a good one for them. Cincinnati is just the first victim of the Bruins this week, as they look to join Arizona State as the only other Pac-12 team in the top 25. Can UCLA do it?
Thursday, Dec. 20th
Duke (9-1) versus Texas Tech (10-0)
Duke beat Kentucky and Auburn early in the season before losing to Gonzaga and since haven’t played any major opponents until now. The committee has Duke as the No. 2 team in the nation. I have them at No. 6 because of their recent schedule. With a win over an undefeated Texas Tech team, I’ll give them a top five spot, but with a loss I might have to consider dropping them out of the top 10 if everything else doesn’t go their way.
For Texas Tech, it’s about remaining undefeated and continuing to earn the respect of the better teams in the nation, like Duke and their division rival Kansas. At 10-0, Texas Tech is the underdog. Let’s see if that fuels them to a win over Duke.
Houston (10-0) versus Utah State (9-2)
Houston is another surprising team at 10-0. The real question is, when will their luck run out? Can a 9-2 Utah State team be the first to beat them? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but this is what makes college basketball so much more interesting. It’s been a good year for both of these schools on the athletic side of things. Both have a bowl game in football and both could be in the tourney at the end of the season. This is a bigger game for Utah State if they want to be part of the tourney.
Friday, Dec. 21st
Buffalo (10-0) versus Marquette (8-2)
This is the second game of interest for Buffalo, and it’s probably their biggest yet. It’s against a Marquette team who has been hot. This is a game that worries me for Buffalo. Although they are undefeated, this week can go one of three ways. Those three ways: 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2. If they lose both, I don’t see them in the top 25 anymore.
Furman (12-0) versus LSU (8-3)
Furman just keeps on winning and are taking advantage of their early win over previously ranked Villanova. This week they have a decent LSU team who got embarrassed by Houston, which might not be a good thing for Furman. LSU will be looking to rebound from that loss. Let’s see if Furman can hold the Tigers off and stay undefeated.
Oklahoma (9-1) versus Northwestern (7-3)
This is a game Oklahoma might be able to win, but their week could go just like Buffalo’s. Oklahoma will need both wins if they want to be ranked in the top 25. Northwestern wants to spoil the Sooners’ hopes, so let’s watch this one happen.
Saturday, Dec. 22nd
Kansas (9-0) versus Arizona State (8-1)
The No. 1 team will be in another battle tested game this week that will have a lot of impact on the final decisions in not just the rankings, but the tourney standings as well. For Arizona State, it’s about proving they can hang with the top teams in the nations. Let’s see if they will knock off Kansas.
North Carolina (8-2) versus Kentucky (8-2)
Both of these teams are looking to find their way back into the top 10. For me, I think the UNC win over Gonzaga has gotten them there, but they will need to win over Kentucky to stay there. Unfortunately for Kentucky, it might push them further back in the standings. That is, unless they can prove they can beat a top ACC team. Their opening game loss against Duke does not look good for them.
Ohio State (9-1) versus UCLA (7-3)
Ohio State looks to continue rising up in the standings after their one loss to Syracuse. UCLA will be looking to win their second game of the week and have a possible chance to make it into the rankings. Can we see UCLA knock off Ohio State? Or will UCLA have to wait before being able to make some noise in the top 25?
Maryland (9-2) versus Seton Hall (7-3)
Maryland was knocked out of the top 25 because they just haven’t been playing as well lately. A big win over Seton Hall might give us all something to look forward too. For Seton Hall, it’s all about playing the role of the pirates as they are and earning themselves big wins for the committee to consider them in the top 25. Regardless, both of these teams should be in the tourney at the end of the season.
Villanova (8-4) versus Connecticut (8-3)
Two conference foes going in two different directions. Villanova has lost two games in a row and have been replaced in the top 25. A win in this game will not get them back in the top 25 just yet, but it’s a nice way to bounce back from a tough week. That is if UConn allows that to happen. We have seen UConn in the past beat a Villanova team that was better than them. I’m just not so sure Villanova is that great this year. Over the last three years they have lost several players to graduation or the NBA and haven’t been able to rebound from it yet this season. That could mean UConn might be able to take advantage of a Villanova team with a lot of questions.
Saturday – Monday (22nd-24th)
Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
Colorado (8-1) versus Indiana State (6-3)
Hawaii (6-4) versus UNLV (5-4)
Rhode Island (5-3) versus Bucknell (4-4)
TCU (8-2) versus Charlotte (2-5)
Now I know none of these games are that impressive, but it is an annual tradition in Hawaii that has different teams and matchups. The game I’m more interested in is the Rhode Island-Bucknell game. Both teams could use a big win. I’m not going to pay too much attention to the TCU-Charlotte game, because that is an obvious result, but maybe Charlotte can upset TCU. Let’s give this small tournament a chance to wow us. I mean, it does feature an 8-1 Colorado team. Of course there’s the home team, Hawaii!
So let’s see where we end up this week. 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!