(9) Wisconsin at (7) Michigan
Wisconsin will give Michigan their biggest test of the season so far. The ability of Eli Brooks and Mike Smith to get after the Wisconsin guards will be key in this game. The frontcourt matchup of Micah Potter against Hunter Dickinson will be really important in dictating the outcome. Also, for Michigan, the ability for Franz Wagner to take advantage of the matchup against Nate Reuvers using his skill set. Isaiah Livers will need to dictate the Michigan offense being the go-to player on their perimeter. Wisconsin must be able to attack the Michigan defense with efficiency. D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison will control the backcourt battle on both ends. Continued, the interior defense on Dickinson will be vital for Wisconsin to win this game. Further, Aleem Ford will be really impactful with his shot-making and defense on Isaiah Livers. The ability for Wisconsin to dictate the pace of this game will lead to a huge road win over Michigan.
Matchup to Watch: Aleem Ford vs Isaiah Livers
Prediction: Wisconsin 72 Michigan 70
(19) Duke at (20) Virginia Tech
This game is a barometer for both these teams showing Duke’s growth as a team on the road and Virginia Tech’s ability to win a high-level game. For Duke’s success, it starts with the backcourt play getting consistency from Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward. Further, Matthew Hurt becoming the go-to option for Duke has been key and he will need to do well against Keve Aluma. Also, the defense for Duke must be there especially with Jordan Goldwire’s pressure. Duke must get consistent play from Wendell Moore needing him to be the consistent slasher.
As for Virginia Tech, the ability to have bench production is key with Jalen Cone and Hunter Cattoor’s 3-point shooting. Tyrece Radford’s toughness and versatility on the perimeter will be key in containing the Duke guards. Most importantly, they will need Aluma to be the dominant force inside that he has been. Virginia Tech’s ability to be potent offensively will be the key in this matchup. Virginia Tech will win a tight game against Duke.
Matchup to Watch: Keve Aluma vs Matthew Hurt
Prediction: Virginia Tech 75 Duke 70
(6) Kansas at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State has been playing really well on the offensive side and has a great opportunity against Kansas. Oklahoma State’s success starts with Cade Cunningham and the versatility he brings. Also, Issac Likekele will be vital with his perimeter defense and ability to get into the lane. Furthermore, the growth Kalib Boone has been will good giving an interior option. The ability for Oklahoma State to defend the five out concepts of Kansas will be key.
For Kansas, their ability to get dribble penetration in the lanes is vital for their offensive success. Jalen Wilson must be the true wing scorer for Kansas to be at their best, along with, Christian Braun’s ability to make consistent perimeter shots for Kansas. The most consistent player for Kansas has been Ochai Agbaji on both ends. Additionally, the play of Marcus Garrett defensively against Issac Likekele will be a major part of the game. Oklahoma State will have a big-time performance from Cunningham winning this game.
Matchup to Watch: Cade Cunningham vs Jalen Wilson
Prediction: Oklahoma State 77 Kansas 72
(15) Texas Tech at (4) Texas
Texas will look to continue to ride their hot start to the season with their consistency on offense and defense. Furthermore, the perimeter of Texas is great having Matt Coleman control the pace of the game consistently. They have the shot-making ability of Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones that is really dependable. The matchup where Texas can take advantage is Greg Brown and his athleticism and versatility against the frontcourt of Texas Tech. Continued, the interior defense of Texas can be very good
with Jericho Sims and Kai Jones. The ability for Texas to keep Texas Tech outside the paint will be key in this game.
Texas Tech must have their best offensive game to beat Texas. Therefore, they will need Terrance Shannon Jr. to make shots at a high level. They also need Mac McClung to play efficiently in this game. Kevin McCullar is important for the interior success of Texas Tech. The toughness of Jamarius Burton will be vital in defending the Texas perimeter. Overall, the consistent Texas offense will find a way to win this game.
Matchup to Watch: Greg Brown vs Kevin McCullar
Prediction: Texas 65 Texas Tech 62
(5) Iowa at Michigan State
First off, this is a game that Michigan State could really use to get the momentum going for them. Now, the ability to slow down the Iowa offense will be really key for them to win. This starts with the perimeter defense of Aaron Henry and Joshua Langford against the Iowa perimeter. Continued, the point guard play of A.J. Hoggard on offense will be really important for Michigan State to have success. Now, the interior defense on Luka Garza will be vital for any chance for Michigan State to win this game. Michigan State will need a close to perfect game to pull this off.
Iowa must establish Garza with Michigan State having many different interior defenders. Along with, Jordan Bohannon and C.J. Frederick applying pressure offensively to the Michigan State guards. Next, Joe Wieskamp will be key in a matchup against Aaron Henry on both ends. The ability for Jack Nunge coming off the bench adds another element to Iowa. Overall, the offense of Iowa will be too much for Michigan State to handle.
Matchup to Watch: Joe Wieskamp vs Aaron Henry
Prediction: Iowa 84 Michigan State 73
Images Courtesy of, 247 Sports, San Antonio Express-News
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