(3) Louisville at (19) Kentucky
Kentucky is looking to get back on track and earn a quality win. First off, the play of Nick Richards must improve in this game and he will have a tall task against Steven Enoch. Next, the scoring of Ashton Hagans needs to continue to build in this game and he has a favorable matchup against Darius Perry. In addition, Tyrese Maxey will need to perform at a high level in this matchup on both ends next to Hagans. Also, Nate Sestina will need to be able to stretch the defense and E.J. Montgomery needs to produce solid minutes. The boards for Kentucky will be extremely important in the outcome of this game.
Now for Louisville, Perry and Fresh Kimble will need to have productive days against Kentucky’s backcourt. Further, Jordan Nwora will have the opportunity to have a great game against Kentucky’s inexperienced wings. Enoch and Malik Williams need to dominate the paint for Louisville. As well as, Matt McMahon will be an x-factor making perimeter jumpers. Kentucky will find a way to get a signature win against Louisville.
Prediction: Kentucky 74 Louisville 68
Wisconsin at Tennessee
Tennessee is looking to rebound from losing Lamonte Turner for the remainder of the season. Next, Jordan Bowden will need to elevate his game to the next level as an overall scorer. In addition, Yves Ponds will need to bring energy and scoring inside more consistently. Also, Josiah-Jordan James has an opportunity to show what he is capable of and have a larger role with Turner being out for the remainder of the season. John Fulkerson will need to show the ability to contribute in multiple ways in the frontcourt.
The Wisconsin backcourt will need to be dynamic with the play of D’Mitrik Trice to score extremely well. Also, Brad Davison needs to play more consistent to make Wisconsin a more complete team. Furthermore, the frontcourt of Wisconsin can have a major advantage with Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. The wings with Aleem Ford and Brevin Pritzil could be x-factors in this game as well. Wisconsin will get a big win on the road at Tennessee.
Prediction: Wisconsin 61 Tennessee 58
(22) West Virginia at (2) Ohio State
Ohio State has built the best non-conference resume in college basketball and can continue that against West Virginia. The backcourt play of Ohio State has played extremely well with D.J. Carton and CJ Walker being very efficient. Next, Duane Washington has been a big shot maker for Ohio State and will need to continue to be. Also, Kaleb Wesson will have a great matchup against Oscar Tshiebwe inside and will need to be capable defensively. Now, Andre Wesson and Kyle Young are the glue guys to this Ohio State team who contributes on both ends consistently.
As for West Virginia, Bob Huggins has his team playing at a high level. This starts inside with the play of Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe who are as good of duo inside in the country. In addition, the wings of Jermaine Haley and Emmitt Williams will need to have big games. Along with, Jordan McCabe being effective against the Ohio State backcourt. In addition, Miles McBride will be a key factor off the bench for West Virginia. The play of Ohio State’s backcourt will be too much for West Virginia in this matchup.
Prediction: Ohio State 72 West Virginia 61
Liberty at LSU
Liberty is 14-0 and is looking to enter conference play unbeaten with a huge win over LSU. To start their success inside begins with Scottie James’s ability to score and rebound. In addition, the backcourt with Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz and Darius McGhee set the tone offensively for Liberty. As well as, Elijah Cuffee who is heavily involved with the success in the frontcourt. The key for Liberty will be containing the athleticism that LSU can impose on them.
As for LSU, they have had a mixed bag with non-conference play. The play of Skylar Mays will be key in this game giving a steadiness on both ends. Also, Darius Days and Trendon Watford will be vital to the success of LSU against James. Furthermore, Ja’Vonte Smart will need a big performance against the Liberty backcourt that can score at a high level. The two key pieces off the bench that can impact this game greatly are Charles Manning and Marlon Taylor. This Liberty team will be on a mission come March and this is game that elevates them for the NCAA tournament.
Prediction: Liberty 69 LSU 63
(5) Kansas at Stanford
Kansas has another opportunity to win a quality road game against Stanford. Now, Ochai Agbaji must set the tone with his versatility and ability to attack offensively. As well as, Devon Dotson setting the pace of the game with his overall speed and scoring ability. Next, inside they must dominate with the play Udoka Azubuike and David McCormick. Further, if Kansas will come away with this win and turn into the team they can be Isiah Moss must turn into a big-time shot-maker.
As for Stanford, they are off to a strong start. The biggest reason for that is the play of Oscar Da Silva who will need to elevate his game against Udoka Azubuike. In addition, the dynamic freshman in Tyrell Terry must continue to be a volume scorer and defend the perimeter well. Continued, Daejon Davis needs to have a good start performance against the play of Devon Dotson. As well as, Bryce Willis must a strong game against the Kansas backcourt in this game. Furthermore, Spencer Jones must have a big game inside as well to contain the Kansas frontcourt. The dynamic ability of Devon Dotson will be the difference in this game against Stanford for Kansas.
Prediction: Kansas 70 Stanford 63
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