(1) Kansas at Texas Tech
This is a great opportunity for Texas Tech to enhance its seed with a major win over Kansas. Furthermore, if Texas Tech will win this game they must contain the production of Udoka Azubuike offensively. In addition, they must slow down Devon Dotson as Davide Morretti will need to have a strong game defensively and play well offensively. Next, the scoring of Jahmi’us Ramsey must score effectively in this game to set the tone for Texas Tech. Also, the play of T.J. Holyfield will be very key in containing Azubuike and being effective on the boards. The most important factor for Texas Tech is Chris Clarke setting the tone offensively with his distribution. An x-factor for Texas Tech is Kyler Edwards who could provide impactful perimeter shooting.
As for Kansas, this is another game to seal their fate as potentially the number one overall seed for the NCAA tournament. The play of Devon Dotson has been huge with his scoring ability and taking the lead for Kansas. Next, Marcus Garrett is an unsung hero for Kansas with his tenacity on the defensive end disrupting the opponent’s guards. Further, Ochai Agbaji needs to be consistent if Kansas will reach their potential and come away with a win over Texas Tech. In addition, Isiah Moss and Christian Braun need to be shot makers for Kansas to stretch the Texas Tech defense. Ultimately this game will be huge for Texas Tech and they will come away with an impressive victory over Kansas.
Prediction: Texas Tech 66 Kansas 62
(8) Seton Hall at (11) Creighton
This will be a high-level game between two of the best teams in the country. For Creighton, they will need to prove that they can win consistently even when they are not making shots at a consistent rate. The defense for Creighton will be the key for them to beat Seton Hall and to advance in the NCAA tournament. Next, Marcus Zegarowski and Ty-Shon Alexander will need to outduel the guards of Myles Powell and Quincy McKnight. Mitch Ballock must be a consistent scorer in this game for Creighton to win. Damien Jefferson will play a crucial role in this game against Sandro Mamukelashvili and his versatility. The biggest factor for Creighton is Denzel Mahoney off the bench with his size and scoring ability. Creighton’s scoring ability makes them very dangerous and vulnerable in a game against Seton Hall.
Seton Hall must bring the defensive mindset in this game against Creighton. Mamukelashvili is the key for Seton Hall to reach his potential with his scoring ability. Also, McKnight must defend the Creighton perimeter at a high level containing Marcus Zegarowski especially. Continued, Jared Rhoden needs to emerge as the dependable wing for Seton Hall who can contribute on both ends. Now, Romaro Gill must use his size against Creighton to dominate against a Creighton team lacking great size. Creighton will come away with a very good win over Seton Hall.
Prediction: Creighton 80 Seton Hall 75
(10) Louisville at (22) Virginia
Tony Bennett has done a tremendous job with this Virginia team and they have an opportunity to add to it with a win over Louisville. Furthermore, they will need Kihei Clark to have a great game distributing the basketball as well as, pressuring the Louisville backcourt. Also, Jay Huff will need to continue to emerge as a versatile scorer and a very solid defender around the basket. In addition, Mamadi Diakite needs to play very well in a strong matchup against Steven Enoch. Virginia will also need to have shot makers step up in Tomas Woldentensae and Casey Morsell to stretch the Louisville defense. Further, they must have the consistency of Braxton Key against the Louisville wings especially Jordan Nwora. The tempo of this game should give Virginia a great opportunity to win this game.
Now, with Louisville, they must be able to prove they can win tough close games consistently. If they are going to do so they need Nwora to be the scorer and player he can be at all times. In addition, the point guard duties need David Johnson to take control and have Fresh Kimble as the very solid secondary option. Next, the play of Enoch will be vital against Mamadi Diakite in this game throughout. Furthermore, the shot-making of Ryan McMahon will be important against the Virginia defense. The x-factor for Louisville is Dwayne Sutton and it is important in all aspects of their success. Virginia will come away with another signature win to their recent success.
Prediction: Virginia 61 Louisville 55
(25) Michigan at (9) Maryland
Maryland must bounce back against Michigan after their losses to Michigan State and Rutgers. The offense for Maryland needs to be way more consistent and that starts with Anthony Cowan as he sets the tone for Maryland. Also, Jalen Smith needs to be consistently dominating with his size and skill set as he becomes a major matchup problem for Michigan. In addition, they will need consistent shot-making from Aaron Wiggins on the perimeter throughout the game. Next, Darryl Morsell needs to be their glue guy who can defend the opponent’s best player and score in transition. Likewise, Eric Ayala needs to be a consistent driver for Maryland on the perimeter next to Cowan. Consistency is the key for Maryland if they are going to get back on track and defeat Michigan.
For Michigan, this will be key to create momentum for them heading into the Big Ten tournament. To start, Zavier Simpson must set the tone with his pressure defense against Cowan and creating offensively for others. Also, the key to Michigan’s success is Isaiah Livers being the go-to perimeter option scoring at a high level. In addition, Jon Teske needs to be effective around the basket offensively and defend Smith effectively. Now, Franz Wagner has the potential to be an x-factor for Michigan as a scorer with terrific size and skill. In addition, the guard play of Eli Brooks and David DeJulius is vital for the overall success of Michigan. Michigan will get a momentum riding win over Maryland on the road.
Prediction: Michigan 72 Maryland 65
(19) Ohio State at (16) Michigan State
These are two of the hottest teams in the country and have the ability to win the Big Ten tournament next week. Michigan State are playing their best basketball of the season and Cassius Winston is leading the way. In addition, Rocket Watts has taken the next step in his game and is becoming a very good offensive threat for Michigan State. Also, the versatility of Aaron Henry is very key for Michigan State’s overall success and will be key in defending the Ohio State perimeter. The biggest matchup in this game will be Xavier Tillman against Kaleb Wesson as it could decide the game. Also, Malik Hall must continue to emerge as an interior presence for Michigan State. Michigan State’s ability to maximize their possessions will be key to beating Ohio State.
Ohio State can ride this win for momentum into the Big Ten tournament as well. The guard play of Ohio State has been exceptional and will need to be in containing Winston throughout. Also, CJ Walker has been very effective leading the way offensively for Ohio State. In addition, the shot-making of Duane Washington will be very important against Michigan State. Furthermore, the versatility of Andre Wesson will be key in defending Aaron Henry and making important plays offensively. Now, the X factor for Ohio State is Kyle Young with his toughness and ability to contribute on the boards and the little things. Likewise, Luther Muhammad must step up as an additional shot maker and perimeter defender. Lastly, Kaleb Wesson will be the biggest factor in beating Michigan State going up against Tillman in a battle of great big men. Michigan State will defeat Ohio State and enter the Big Ten tournament as favorites.
Prediction: Michigan State 73 Ohio State 68
Images Courtesy of, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Finance
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with James!
“From Our Haus to Yours”