It’s getting to be that time of the year in college basketball – most teams are figuring out who they are going to be this year, and a number are starting to test themselves with out of conference opponents. It’s a good time to start paying attention to the national scene, if you haven’t been already. Even moreso, it’s a great time to start watching those top teams, and rooting for them to fail miserably so the Cats can jump back in to the drivers seat for a one seed.
With that said, here are a few games to keep your eyes on this weekend, when you’re not busy telling friends how the Belmont singing guy couldn’t hold a candle to the AcoustiKats.
Michigan State (5) at Texas
The Spartans only loss on the season came against North Carolina, and Texas’s biggest win in a while came also against North Carolina. Both teams only have one loss on the season (Texas lost earlier this year to BYU) and have a little to prove. The Spartans can’t afford to drop another game before they enter a top heavy (but pretty heavy) Big Ten with Ohio State and Wisconsin looming, whereas Texas wants to prove that they can be legit this year – and their win over UNC wasn’t a fluke.
Kentucky rooting interest: Texas. The more losses to top teams the better.
Oklahoma State (7) vs Colorado (20)
Both teams are 10-1 headed in to this Big-12/Pac-12 match up, and this could be a fun one to watch. OK State has been just rolling teams (with a few exceptions), and Marcus Smart is arguably the most pro-ready player in college this year. Colorado’s only loss came in it’s first game against Baylor and they are just two games removed from an upset over Kansas. If Colorado pulls off the upset this weekend, there’s a good chance they don’t leave the top 25 the rest of the year with a weak Pac-12 the only thing really left on their plate.
Kentucky rooting interest: Actually going to go with Oklahoma State on this one. They have a lot of opportunities to pick up some losses in conference with two games against KU and two against Baylor left on their schedule, and if Colorado gets up there in the rankings, I don’t expect them to drop anytime soon.
Georgetown at Kansas (18)
Georgetown is 7-2 and takes on the limp noodle that is the Big East the rest of the season, but has an ugly loss against Northeastern on the record. Kansas is in a pretty similar position to Kentucky right now – are they legitimate and just learning to play together, or is there just too much youth on the team to gel this year? Kansas is starting to feel more like a rival these days, with every recruiting battle we fight, so while I fully expect Kansas to roll, I am holding out hope for the Hoyas.
Kentucky rooting interest: Georgetown. No offense Kansas, but I hope you lose every game forever.
Fresno State at Florida (16)
This is a big game only for the SEC implications. Florida had some early struggles, losing to Wisconsin and struggling against Florida State – but they won two of their last three games in a row, all against top 15 teams (and their loss was only by a point.) Still, Fresno is only one game over .500 and doesn’t look to pose too much of a threat to the Gators. Florida needs to win, because every out of conference win is important when you play in the SEC.
Kentucky rooting interest: Florida, for the aforementioned reasons. If Kentucky wants a chance at a one seed, they have to beat teams who have high numbers by their names, and dropping a game to Fresno State here would really hurt Florida.
Illinois vs Missouri (23)
Missouri hasn’t really played anyone of significance so far this season (unless you want to count UCLA, which I don’t), but they are 10-0 right now and that counts for something. Illinois, on the other hand, is 9-2 and while both losses have come to major teams (Georgia Tech and Oregon) they’ve been fairly unimpressive this year – save for a big win against Auburn. But then again, who doesn’t have a big win against Auburn? Similar to the Florida game, Missouri needs this game to keep momentum going in to a down SEC.
Kentucky rooting interest: Missouri. Same as Florida – if we gotta play ’em, I want ’em to be good.