Big East, SEC and Texas Highlight Big Week for College Basketball
10. Cincinnati (18-4, 5-4) at No. 4 Pittsburgh (20-2, 8-1), Saturday, 6 p.m.
After breezing through an embarrassingly simple non-conference schedule, Cincinnati has been, well, OK in the Big East. Not horrible, at least. They beat St. John's, though it's hard to say exactly what that means. Pitt, of course, fell last week at home to Notre Dame before narrowly beating Rutgers on the road. The Panthers are still tops in the Big East, but, surprisingly, Louisville is coming on strong.
9. No. 2 Kansas (20-1, 5-1) at Nebraska (15-5, 3-3), Saturday, 4 p.m.
Is it completely insane to think Nebraska has a shot against Kansas this weekend? On the surface, yes. Remember, though, the 'Huskers gave the Jayhawks all they could handle in Lawrence, and they will be playing with a lot of confidence after a win at home over Texas A&M.
8. UNLV (16-5, 4-3) at No. 8 BYU (20-2, 6-1), Saturday, 4 p.m.
After Jimmer's outburst in dethroning San Diego State, he and his mates had a less thrilling encore, losing to New Mexico. Though BYU handled the Rebels with relative ease the first time they met, the Cougars have proven that they are upset prone -- even with Jimmer going for 30+.
7. No. 11 Purdue (18-4, 7-2) at No. 19 Wisconsin (15-5, 5-3), Tuesday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Purdue has reached the end of four straight games against ranked opponents, and it can't do worse than a split. Given that Ohio State was one of those four, that's not too bad. Wisconsin is off a loss to Penn State, which has made a habit of surprising teams at home.
6. No. 5 Duke (19-2, 6-1) at Maryland (14-7, 4-3), Wednesday, 9 p.m., ESPN
The records of the two teams would suggest that this should be no contest for the Blue Devils -- and that will more than likely be the case. Still, it will be interesting to see how Duke bounces back from a humbling loss Sunday to St. John's in a rowdy College Park atmosphere. Plus, the Terps are winners of three straight.
5. No. 15 Louisville (17-4, 6-2) at No. 13 Georgetown (16-5, 5-4), Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Cards have been impressive in their last two after falling on the road to Providence. Peyton Siva has been Mr. Clutch in both, scoring twice at the wire to pull Louisville even at Connecticut after scoring the game winner against West Virginia a few days prior. The Hoyas are also on the rebound. After dropping three straight, Georgetown has won four in a row including Saturday's win on the road against Villanova.
4. No. 10 Kentucky (16-4, 4-2) at Florida (16-5, 5-2), Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN
If Florida is truly ready to make a statement, ready to show that the media was right in picking them to win the SEC, there is no better time than Saturday night in prime time against UK. Vandy will visit the Gators earlier in the week, making these next six days crucial in terms of how the SEC East will shake out.
3. No. 1 Ohio State (22-0, 9-0) at No. 18 Minnesota (16-5, 5-4), Sunday, 2 p.m., ESPN
As the last unbeaten, everyone is now just waiting for the Buckeyes to fall. What's interesting about Ohio State, though, is that they've slipped several times but still come out winners. They seem impervious to complete meltdowns. Tubby Smith can draw up a game plan that can nab the Buckeyes; it's just a matter of the Gophers following it.
2. No. 17 Syracuse (18-4, 5-4) at No. 6 Connecticut (17-3, 5-3), Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN
With both teams fighting to stay alive in the Big East race, it's safe to assume that the Orange need this one a bit more. Losers of four straight, Syracuse needs to find a way to get back on track before this thing spirals completely out of control.
1. No. 3 Texas (18-3, 6-0) at No. 16 Texas A&M (17-3, 4-2), Monday, 9 p.m., ESPN
The Longhorns have been the hottest team in the country for most of January, and they will have yet another road test Monday night in College Station. The Aggies, on the other hand, have hit a bit of a rough stretch. They only managed an ugly 48 points in their last outing, a loss at Nebraska.