College Basketball weekly preview: Week 15
After another week of college basketball that saw four of the top 10 take another loss, things in the rankings will likely change again. You can see more on that later today! For now, here’s a look back at last week’s rankings. Let’s also take a look at the schedule that made several teams in the top 25 get moved down.
Teams like Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Marquette, Kansas, Virginia and Buffalo all suffered losses last week that has moved them down in the rankings. For Buffalo, they might be out of the top 25 altogether. But let’s see what this week has in store for us, with all the action taking place starting today!
Monday, Feb. 11th
Virginia versus North Carolina
Last week went very differently for these two teams. For Virginia, it was taking the whole week to prepare themselves for a revenge game against the Duke Blue Devils, who were the first team to beat them all season. This game was no different from the first one, as the Cavaliers once again fell short of a victory and lost their second game on the season against Duke. They’ll likely be out of the top five.
North Carolina saw themselves in two games this week against conference opponents we thought would be a tough, but NC State just hasn’t been the same lately, as they have fallen from the rankings and continued to lose. UNC looks to get back into the top five before the season ends. This game is the first of four games against both Virginia and Duke to help their chances.
Kansas versus TCU
Kansas lost another conference game to in-state rival, Kansas State, last week. They are slowly losing their ranking. The once ranked No. 1 team has seemingly fallen every other week. That means this week should be a good one for them, as they take on two conference opponents who are not ranked. TCU could have been ranked if they hadn’t have had a terrible week, but they did get an impressive win over the ranked Iowa State Cyclones. TCU will continue to prove they are very much capable of beating the top teams in their conference.
Tuesday, Feb. 12th
Purdue versus Maryland
This is one of four top 25 games that will be played on Tuesday. At least, we hope Maryland can stay in the rankings. I have already replaced them with Washington. With not much of a drop in the bottom part of the rankings, it’ll be hard for them to find a way to get back in there. At the same time, Purdue is proving why they deserve to be in the top 15 or higher after rebounding from a tough few weeks. They’ve won eight straight games heading into this game.
LSU versus Kentucky
Both LSU and Kentucky took care of business on Saturday against conferences opponents who were previously ranked. LSU beat Auburn 83-78, and they are also out to prove they are one of the top teams. The best way to do so is by beating one of the top teams in their conference and the nation. Kentucky held off Mississippi State to win their game 71-6,7 as the Wildcats won their 10th straight. Now they look to take advantage of LSU in their matchup. They will also be looking ahead to their top-five showdown with Tennessee on Saturday.
Michigan State versus Wisconsin
Michigan State has continued to struggle, as they lost their third straight game before their last win against Minnesota last Saturday. Despite that win, they will likely stay in the top 15 with the possibility of getting back into the top 10. They will need a big win against another top 25 opponent like Wisconsin to hopefully turn themselves around before the tournament starts. Wisconsin looks to continue to take advantage of the vulnerability of the Spartans and to also rebound from a tough defeat against Michigan, who they had already beaten once this season.
Marquette versus DePaul
Marquette’s position in the top 25 all depends on how they played against Villanova despite their loss to St. John’s for the second time this season. After a tough one-point win against Villanova, Marquette will likely hold onto the top 10 spot they earned last week and will be looking to have a chance to have one of the top spots in the tournament. This game will help them continue to turn their season in the right direction as we get closer to the end.
Duke versus Louisville
With both of these teams coming out of tough games this past weekend, they could use the few days off to get some rest before their conference game that could be more important for Duke than it is Louisville. It’s more important because Duke is aiming for one of the top four No. 1 seeds in the tournament. Every game from here on out will be critical to their success, especially with two victories over top-five ranked Virginia. Louisville is still proving that despite the record, they are still one of the best teams in the ACC. What better way to do it than against the biggest ACC team this season? Although they did have a tough couple of games against other ACC teams like North Carolina and Florida State, Louisville will always be fighting, and they might be able to give Duke another loss.
Wednesday, Feb. 13th
This Wednesday isn’t as exciting as we might have wanted. We have a couple of crucial games that will play a massive part in the tournament picture rather than in the top 25. One of those games is Mississippi-Auburn. Both of these teams use to be ranked and are still fighting for a chance to be back into the top 25, but it might be a bit too late. Instead, they should turn their attention to making a good run in their conference tournament and the more prominent role in the madness. Another game is the Minnesota-Nebraska game. They are in the same situation in wanting to make a push in their conference tournament to better their chances in the bracket.
Thursday, Feb. 14th
There’s not much to look at here, besides the eyes of your beautiful date on Valentine’s day! That’s what all the collegiate athletes will be doing, so why not you? I mean, it is the day of love, and all the players and teams in top 25 should love where they are in the rankings as we get to the last month of the season. Both Houston and Connecticut will have to wait a day before they can celebrate their love for the game of basketball with their teams.
Friday, Feb. 15th
Buffalo and Toledo will have an early night Thursday, as they have to wake up early on Friday to prepare for their game. Buffalo looks to remain atop of the Mid-American conference despite their loss to Bowling a few weeks ago. Toledo is another one of those Mid-American teams who could beat Buffalo. Or maybe not, but they are one of the top teams in the conference. A big win over a barely ranked Buffalo team will be impressive on their resume, as they hope to get an invite to the Big Dance.
Saturday, Feb. 16th
Maryland versus Michigan
There is a lot on the line in this game for Maryland, as they continue to prove why they belong in the top 25. A win over the best team in the Big Ten will most certainly give Maryland a big confidence boost going into the final couple of weeks of the regular season. This will also provide them with the edge against Michigan, as they will have one more game against each other in the final week of the season. For Michigan, it’s all about getting back in the top five and claiming one of the four top seeds in the tournament. With the recent loss by Virginia to Duke, it might have opened up the chances for Michigan again. Michigan will also have a tough task with in-state rival, Michigan State.
Louisville versus Clemson
Louisville will hopefully look to sneak by with a big win over Duke earlier in the week. This game could be one or two things for Louisville. It could be the game that keeps them in the top 25, or the game that knocks them out altogether. For the sake of all the Louisville fans, I hope they could beat both Duke and Clemson this week. Clemson wants to add another impressive win to their resume in hopes for them to get a chance to dance in the madness. We could expect to see them there, but why not have a higher seed with more great wins against ranked opponents?
TCU versus Oklahoma
This is the same thing for both of these teams. TCU took care of Iowa State last week and hopes to take care of both Kansas and Oklahoma and maybe earn a spot in the top 25. Oklahoma will be hoping to snap their four-game skid on Monday against Baylor and use this game against TCU as a boost to their season, as they look to turn things around as well. Oklahoma wants to have a chance to be in the hunt for cutting down the net. This would be the perfect week for them to turn things around, as they have games against Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State left that could help change things.
Texas Tech versus Baylor
Texas Tech has a much easier schedule this week, and we do expect to see them take care of both their opponents, Oklahoma State and Baylor, as they look ahead to their top 25 matchup against Kansas next week. Baylor hopes they can make the tourney, but they will need to capitalize on this week’s matchups if they even want a chance.
Kansas versus West Virginia
Kansas will continue to try to remain in contention for a top seed in the tournament. All the games left are important conference games. These games are games that will help Kansas not only have a top seed in the tournament, but also their conference. As you might have seen by now, the Big XII conference is still very wide open in terms of what team will win and take the conference championship. Kansas is still a heavy favorite to do so.
Iowa State versus Kansas State
Kansas State and Iowa State are also favorites to win the Big XII. They have both picked up wins against Kansas that has put them ahead in the conference standings. What makes it more interesting is the strength of schedule. Kansas has been able to beat more ranked opponents than these two teams. Whoever can win this game could get the momentum to carry them into the rest of the season.
Duke versus North Carolina State
Duke looks to continue dominating the ACC as the season is coming to a close. They head into the two games with their biggest rival, North Carolina. Duke is hoping to be the top seed in the Nation when it’s all done. Their two games this week will make or break their chances of getting that top seed. All the UNC fans hope NC State can knock them down before their next game.
Tennessee versus Kentucky
This is the biggest game of the week, as it’s not only the top two teams in the SEC, but two of the top five teams in the nation. This is the first of two games these two teams will play in the next few weeks. This is the one that will set the two apart from one another.
Kentucky will be looking to have a great week as they take down two of the top conference opponents. This will be the highlight of their season, as they are in the hunt of one of the top four No. 1 seeds in the tournament. Kentucky has lost to Alabama and Seton Hall, who have both been unranked all season long, but they have managed to rebound their way into the top five.
Tennessee is looking stronger than ever and will be easy to beat. The last time this team lost was Nov. 23 against Kansas, and it was their only loss of the season. That was their only loss, and they don’t plan on losing again!
Sunday, Feb. 17th
Villanova versus St. John’s
Villanova was on their way into the top 10 after playing very well all season despite an early struggle to start the season. The defending National Champions were so close to making their way back into the top 10 until their loss to Marquette. However, it is still not too late for that to happen! They still have their rematch against Marquette later in the season, but this game against St. John’s is one they must focus on. St. John’s has beaten Marquette both times this season. St. John’s is more than capable of pulling this upset off.
Michigan State versus Ohio State
Michigan State broke their losing streak against Minnesota in a huge way. That big 24-point victory has kept the Spartans in the top 10, as they look to stay there and keep themselves in the hunt for a top seed. Don’t forget about the game against Wisconsin earlier in the week that will also play a huge factor in the Spartans season.
Also, keep an eye on how teams do this week as we start to wrap up another month of basketball and look ahead for the madness. Will we see a new No. 1 team in the rankings, or will Duke and Tennessee continue to prove themselves worthy? How about the top ten? Will it be the same? Comment on which games you think are important and who might be on upset alert!