(14) West Virginia at (7) Texas Tech
This game will be another Big 12 battle after the two teams had an epic game with Miles McBride’s game-winning layup. For West Virginia McBride will be massive again with his ability to get to the basket and mid-range game. Additionally, the growth and development of Taz Sherman have been very good with his ability to score the basketball being their perimeter go-to player. Derek Culver will need to dominate the paint with his rebounding ability and finishing around the basket. Also, Sean McNeil will be a key factor with his 3-point shooting that can swing the momentum of this game.
As for Texas Tech, their ability to force McBride in help defense throughout the game will be key for them to win. Kevin McCullar will be important for Texas Tech to be a factor on the boards and his interior defense on Culver. Also, the scoring ability of Kyler Edwards will be important to be an outlet for Mac McClung. Furthermore, they will need Terrence Shannon to add his best if they will win on both ends of the floor. Most importantly, McClung will need to continue to be very efficient offensively and lead Texas Tech throughout. This game will be tight, but Texas Tech will come away with the win.
Matchup to Watch: Mac McClung vs Deuce McBride
Prediction: Texas Tech 77 West Virginia 75
(25) Rutgers at (15) Iowa
This is a game that Iowa must have to get right in the Big Ten. Now, if they can have CJ Frederick back that will help them have better consistency on offense. If they do not have Frederick they will need Jordan Bohannon to be elite with his shot-making and playmaking ability. Luka Garza must set the tone for this offense in a good matchup against Myles Johnson. Furthermore, Joe Wieskamp must be a major factor on both ends against Rutgers, as they don’t have a true answer for him. Iowa being consistent on defense and getting production from the bench will be important.
For Rutgers, this is a massive opportunity to move towards a potential NCAA Tournament berth. Therefore, in this game, the most important player will be Johnson with his interior defense against Garza. Additionally, they need Ron Harper Jr. to be very good with his ability to make shots but get to the rim on a consistent basis. Next, Geo Baker will be crucial for Rutgers to win this game as they need him to be their dependable scorer. Additionally, the secondary guards in Caleb McConnell and Jacob Young will be imperative in this game. Iowa will bounce back and get a big win over Rutgers.
Prediction: 80 Iowa Rutgers 73
Matchup to Watch: Luka Garza vs Myles Johnson
(24) Purdue at Minnesota
This is a massive Big Ten game with both Purdue and Minnesota looking to secure spots in the NCAA Tournament. Now, for Minnesota, they will need Marcus Carr to be at his very best and attacking the Purdue backcourt. Furthermore, Liam Robbins against Trevion Williams will be the matchup to watch and Robbins will need to use his mobility against Williams throughout. Additionally, Brandon Johnson must be a factor on both ends to deal with the Purdue frontcourt with their size and physicality. Next, the wing play of Minnesota has not delivered all season and will need the emergence of Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Both Gach to win this game. Overall, the ability for Minnesota to have a dynamic performance from Carr and Robbins will be the key.
As for Purdue, they need the interior play of Trevion Williams and Zach Edey to dominate throughout. Furthermore, Jaden Ivey will be a star in the Big Ten and is starting to emerge with his ability to get to the basket consistently and scoring at will. Also, Mason Gillis has been a steady force and will need to be for Purdue to continue to have success. Next, the shot-making of Sasha Stefanovic will be important for Purdue to open the lanes for others. The ability for Purdue to guard Carr will be imperative to win this game. Minnesota will come away with a solid home win with Carr having a big game.
Matchup to Watch: Marcus Carr vs Jaden Ivey
Prediction: 75 Minnesota Purdue 70
Colorado at Stanford
If Colorado is going to make the NCAA Tournament this is a type of game they must come away with. Continued, for Colorado, the play of McKinley Wright is terrific with his steadiness and ability to make big time shots. Furthermore, the toughness from Evan Battey inside is key and his ability to score around the basket is effective. Now, for Colorado, they must get more from D’Shawn Schwartz being a dependable shot maker for Colorado. Having the production from Jeriah Horne will be important for Colorado’s frontcourt. Colorado will have to slow down the production of Oscar Da Silva throughout this game.
As for Stanford, their success starts with Oscar Da Silva and his scoring ability inside. Also, the consistency of Jaiden Delaire will be important on both ends for Stanford. The emergence of Michael O’Connell has been impressive with providing key scoring and rebounding very well for a guard. Additionally, a key for this game will be the health of Ziaire Williams and Bryce Wills entering this game. Overall, the play of McKinley Wright will lead the way for Colorado to win this game.
Matchup to Watch: Evan Battey vs Oscar Da Silva
Prediction: 77 Colorado Stanford 69
Saint Mary’s at BYU
If any of these two teams are going to build an NCAA Tournament resume it starts with winning this game. As for BYU, their offensive production is really good and is spread out within the starting lineup. Furthermore, Matt Haarms will be key with his ability to score inside and be a consistent threat for BYU. The emergence of Gideon George has been really good with his ability to score and be a factor on the boards. Additionally, the guard play of Brandon Averette and Alex Barcello will be vital in setting the tone for BYU on both ends.
As for Saint Mary’s, Tommy Kuhse will be very important with his playmaking ability for others and scoring. Continued, Matthias Tass will be imperative against Haarms and must handle his size throughout. Also, Dan Fotu will be key with his ability to face up and score as well as the defense on Gideon George. The defense of Saint Mary’s will be crucial against a high powered BYU offense.
Matchup to Watch: Dan Fotu vs Gideon George
Prediction: 80 BYU Saint Mary’s 73
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