(20) Duke at (18) Florida State
Duke has a big opportunity on the road to come away with its first marquee win of the season. First, off the ability for Matthew Hurt to be the go-to option for Duke will be important with his inside out ability. The perimeter defense of Duke with Jordan Goldwire will be key against M.J. Walker and the size of Scottie Barnes. Additionally, the continued guard play of Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward is vital for their overall success. Therefore, the shot-making for Duke must be there against the Florida State defense.
For Florida State, the consistent shooting will be key for Florida State to reach its potential. Therefore, the shot-making of M.J. Walker and Anthony Polite will be a big part of this game. Further, the ability of Scottie Barnes to bring toughness by getting in the lane and creating for others needs to be the foundation for Florida State. Also, the continued growth of RaiQuan Gray and Balsa Koprivica will be important for their frontcourt to be a true factor. The ability for Florida State to get in transition and limit Duke’s guards from getting going will lead to the win.
Matchup to Watch: Balsa Koprivica vs Matthew Hurt
Prediction: Florida State 73 Duke 68
(8) Texas at (3) Kansas
Texas has played very well to start this season and will look to keep that momentum at Kansas. Now, the guard play of Texas will be crucial for them to build their success against Kansas. This starts with Matt Coleman setting the tone on both ends. The scoring of Andrew Jones will be key giving another scorer to Texas. Greg Brown’s emergence has been big for Texas who will be a matchup problem for Kansas. The depth of Texas will help especially in the frontcourt that can be reliable. The defense of Texas will be important not allowing Kansas to find consistency on that end.
For Kansas, Jalen Wilson needs to continue to score with his size and versatility. The play of Ochai Agabi has brought really good consistency in transition, defensively, and making key shots. Now, the matchup for Kansas with Marcus Garrett defending Matt Coleman will be crucial in deciding the outcome.
Matchup to Watch: Marcus Garrett vs Matt Coleman
Prediction: Kansas 76 Texas 73
(10) Iowa at (14) Rutgers
Rutgers continues to find ways to win and now is heading into a major test against Iowa. Ron Harper Jr. being available in this game will be imperative for Rutgers to win this game. The ability for Montez Mathis to step up and make shots consistently will be important against Iowa. Additionally, the perimeter defense of Jacob Young will be vital against the guards of Jordan Bohannon and C.J. Frederick. Also, the interior defense of Myles Johnson will be vital for Rutgers to have to defend Luka Garza. Further, Geo Baker is returning to form as the go-to option for Rutgers when they need big-time shots. Lastly, the toughness and defense will be the most important factor for Rutgers beating Iowa.
For Iowa it starts with Luka Garza taking advantage of the limited frontcourt options of Rutgers. They also need Joe Wieskamp to continue to play really well for Iowa on both ends. For Iowa, the shooting of Jordan Bohannon and C.J. Frederick is critical for Iowa to be as potent as they can be offensive. The defense of Iowa needs to continue to improve and will massive for Iowa to win this game. Rutgers will set the tone and with the return of Ron Harper Jr., they will beat Iowa.
Matchup to Watch: Montez Mathis vs Joe Wieskamp
Prediction: Rutgers 76 Iowa 72
(25) Ohio State at (21) Minnesota
Minnesota is looking to continue its strong start to the Big Ten play against Ohio State. For Minnesota, it all starts with Marcus Carr who sets the tone with his shot-making and playmaking ability for others. Additionally, Liam Robbins will need to be at his best against E.J. Liddell. The further development of Both Gach as a solid wing scorer and defending Justice Sueing will be a big part of this game. Continued, the emergence of Brandon Johnson as another frontcourt contributor will continue to be a force for Minnesota. The ability for Minnesota to contain the guards of C.J. Walker and Duane Washington is key.
As for Ohio State, E.J. Liddell must continue to be the go-to option with his ability to make mid-range shots and be a force around the rim. The stability of C.J. Walker is really important for the overall flow of Ohio State. Also, Duane Washington must continue to be the shot maker for Ohio Stare bringing that stability. Justice Sueing needs to be the Swiss army knife for Ohio State contributing in all aspects. The depth of Ohio State has been positive with guys like Justin Ahrens, Seth Towns and Zed Key. Ohio State’s physicality inside and experienced guards will outlast Minnesota.
Matchup to Watch: CJ Walker vs Marcus Carr
Prediction: Ohio State 83 Minnesota 77
(19) Northwestern at (16) Michigan
Michigan has been under the radar to start the season but has been off to a strong start. The pace of this game will be really important for both teams as they play with tempo and can be explosive offensively. Now, the frontcourt of Hunter Dickson and Franz Wagner will need to continue to play well against a tough Northwestern frontcourt. Also, the play of Isaiah Livers is what makes Michigan. The guard play of Michigan will need to continue to grow with Mark Smith and Eli Brooks being smaller, but tough guards. The x-factor for Michigan is having Chaundee Brown off the bench who can provide rebounding and additional scoring. The defense of Michigan will be imperative in handling the five out concepts of Northwestern.
As for Northwestern, Pete Nance and Miller Kopp set the tone with their versatility and ability to make plays. The play of Boo Buie will be important for Northwestern to have greater success on both ends against the Michigan guards. The defense against Isaiah Livers will be key in Northwestern’s ability to win this game. Therefore, Chase Audige is key with his defending as well as his ability to score on the perimeter. Michigan will get a big game from Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers leading to the win.
Matchup to Watch: Chase Audige vs Isaiah Livers
Prediction: Michigan 84 Northwestern 77
Images Courtesy of, Bleacher Report, Cleveland.com, Orlando Sentinal
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