(12) Texas at (9) Oklahoma
Oklahoma will look to keep the momentum going up against Texas and continue to add to their strong resume. First off, their success is built around the scoring and playmaking ability of Austin Reaves. Additionally, the toughness of the guards in De’Vion Harmon and Elijah Harkless is really valuable defensively and their ability to attack offensively. Next, the shot-making ability of Ujo Gibson is big time and will need to be great in this game yet again. The play of Brady Manek will be vital with him going against a versatile and athletic frontcourt of Texas. Therefore, the defense of the Oklahoma frontcourt with Kur Kuath will be imperative.
As for Texas, this is a huge opportunity to get back on track against Oklahoma. Next, the backcourt must set the tone for Texas with Matt Coleman’s consistency and the scoring of Andrew Jones. As well as, the ability of Courtney Ramey to make plays on both ends. Furthermore, the frontcourt of Texas must play great with Greg Brown and Jericho Sims factoring in the interior. The ability for Texas to guard Reaves will be the biggest factor for them to win this game. Oklahoma has it rolling right now and will come away with another big win over Texas.
Matchup to Watch: Austin Reaves vs Andrew Jones
Prediction: Oklahoma 80 Texas 73
Minnesota at Indiana
This is a massive game for both teams as they need to continue to add their resumes to win this game. For Indiana, Trayce Jackson-Davis will need to be exceptional against the Minnesota frontcourt. Continued, the shot-making ability of Al Durham will be needed to lead Indiana from the perimeter. Next, they will need the quickness of Armaan Franklin to get in the lane and past defenders to consistently make plays happen. Additionally, the toughness of Race Thompson will be needed against Liam Robbins. The consistency of the Indiana offense will be important against Minnesota.
For Minnesota, Marcus Carr must set the tone with his scoring ability and being efficient. Liam Robbins needs to play up to his potential on the offensive end after his poor performance against Maryland. The growth of Jamal Mashburn Jr. off the bench will need to continue providing that spark for Minnesota. Further, the wings of Minnesota in Gabe Kalschuer and Both Gach must be consistent for Minnesota to play to their potential. Overall, Indiana has more consistency from its best players and will get a good win against Minnesota.
Matchup to Watch: Armaan Franklin vs Marcus Carr
Prediction: Indiana 73 Minnesota 67
Utah State at Boise State
The battle over the top of the Mountain West Conference will continue with a vital game between Utah State and Boise State. With Boise State, Derrick Alston Jr. must set the tone with his scoring ability. Abu Kigab is a major factor inside for Boise State giving them a consistent threat in the interior. Additionally, having Emmanuel Akot off the bench gives Boise State the additional scoring needed. Along with, having Devonaire Doutrive off the bench is key as well.
Utah State’s focus centers around the play of Neemias Queta with his interior scoring ability. Also, Justin Bean must be a major factor on the wing providing scoring and defending the multiple wings of Boise State. Furthermore, Brock Miller must attack Boise State throughout as he has the advantage at the point guard position. Marco Anthony must produce with his ability to score with the basketball and rebounding effectively. This is a game where Boise State will show up and come away with a very good win.
Matchup to Watch: Justin Bean vs Derrick Alston Jr.
Prediction: Boise State 77 Utah State 72
(11) Iowa at (21) Wisconsin
Wisconsin is coming into this game with a sense of desperation after blowing a major opportunity against Michigan. Furthermore, their defense must play at a high level to win this game against the potent Iowa offense. Next, the consistency from the backcourt of Wisconsin will be needed with D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison. Additionally, the defense on Luka Garza must be superior with Micah Potter playing very well. The ability for Potter to attack Garza offensively will be important for Wisconsin to win this game. Also, Aleem Ford must be productive on both ends and defend Joe Wieskamp at a high level.
As for Iowa, they must continue with their momentum on both ends of the floor. Jordan Bohannon must set the tone with his shot-making and when he plays well Iowa is difficult to defeat. The versatility of Keegan Murray is very underrated and he is a major part of the Iowa success on both ends. Iowa is playing at a high level and will come away with a big road win at Wisconsin.
Matchup to Watch: Aleem Ford vs Joe Wieskamp
Prediction: Iowa 83 Wisconsin 76
Rutgers at (3) Michigan
Michigan will look to continue to get their flow back with coming off a strong return against Wisconsin. Furthermore, the tone for the Michigan offense is set with the interior play of Hunter Dickinson and will be here again. Additionally, Isaiah Livers will have a good opportunity to have a breakout game against the Rutgers perimeter defense. Next, Franz Wagner must use his size against the smaller Rutgers perimeter to be effective offensively. The backcourt of Eli Brooks and Mike Smith play with great energy and defense which will be important against Geo Baker. Also, the defense of Michigan on Ron Harper Jr. will be really important to keep him out of the lane.
Now, with Rutgers, if they can win this game it would make them an NCAA tournament team for sure. Continued, the defense of Myles Johnson will be imperative against Hunter Dickinson. The offense for Rutgers must be lead by Geo Baker and Harper with their ability to make big-time shots and plays. Also, Paul Mulcahy and Caleb McConnell will need to step up for Rutgers to make plays on both ends. The key for Rutgers will be their consistency on the offensive end. Overall, Michigan is too elite on both ends and will get the win over Rutgers.
Matchup to Watch: Myles Johnson vs Hunter Dickinson
Prediction: Michigan 76 Rutgers 68
Images Courtesy of, Indiana University Athletics, Sooner Wire, The Daily Iowan
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