Heading into Sunday night, it was supposed be a calm Monday-Friday during the sixth week of college basketball, preparing for a WILD Saturday slate. However, that hypothesis was put to rest after the news break in Austin, TX.
As the entire college basketball now knows, Texas men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard was arrested early Monday morning on a domestic violence felony. His future with the program is uncertain right now, but he is suspended indefinitely without pay at the moment. Beard had the Longhorns at an 7-1 record and at top 10 status. Texas had a game Monday night, and ended up playing in it but needed OT to beat Rice. Beard is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the nation, so with him gone and potentially forever gone in Austin, the Longhorns might struggle in the weeks to come with him not on the sideline.
Another big story from the week was Arizona’s IARP case ruling being announced on Wednesday. The Wildcats didn’t receive any major punishments, including no post-season bans. Former head coach Sean Miller, who is now in his second-stint with Xavier, received no sanctions. Former Arizona assistants Emanuel “Book” Richardson and Mark Phelps both received show-causes, Richardson with a 10-year and Phelps got a two-year. The IARP does not allow appeals on its decisions, so everything in Wednesday’s ruling is final. The IARP will dissolve once all cases are through.
There was only one game of note from the week, and that was No. 16 UCLA’s absolute pounding of No. 20 Maryland. The Bruins won 87-60 and had four players with at least14 points or more. Maryland has one of the best and most surprising starts of the season. New head coach Kevin Willard had his Terrapins at 8-0 and top 15 in the country, with wins over Saint Louis, Miami and Illinois. Now, the Terps have lost three in a row and will be back out of the AP poll on Monday. UCLA on the other hand is 9-2, with lone losses to Illinois and Baylor, and their only Quad 1 win according to the NET rankings is against Maryland. They have another Quad 1 opportunity this weekend though, which will be discussed.
Week six’s weekend watchlist features all five ranked on ranked matchups on Saturday. According to Eli Boettger, it is the first time since Jan. 17, 2009 there has been at least five ranked-on-ranked matchups in one day. It will be a busy day, full of wonderful college hoops. Here is the college basketball weekend watchlist for week six.
No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 14 Indiana | Saturday Dec. 17, 2022, 12:00 pm ET | ESPN2
This is the last non conference opponent of note for Indiana. They lost to Arizona in their last game, but beat Xavier and North Carolina, however we’ll see how good those wins are in the future. Tracy Jackson-Davis is an All-American candidate thus far. Indiana is not the favorites in the Big Ten anymore, that title will likely belong to Purdue for the foreseeable future, but if they want to fight for it they need to beat the Jayhawks.
Kansas has gotten tremendous production from veterans Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar Jr. and freshman Gradey Dick. The Jayhawks lone loss is to a red-hot Tennessee team, but the Jayhawks are red-hot themselves after recently crushing a 9-0 Missouri team. They’re right behind Texas among Big 12 teams in the AP Poll, but after the recent news in Austin, Kansas will likely take that top spot soon.
No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 15 Gonzaga | C.M. Newton Classic | Saturday Dec. 17, 2022, 1:00 pm ET | CBS
These teams played each other last year when Gonzaga was really good and Alabama was really inconsistent. So naturally, Alabama won the game. This year Alabama is really good and Gonzaga is really inconsistent. So naturally, who knows what to expect.
The Tide have one of the best freshmen in the country in Brandon Miller. who’s averaging nearly 19 points and 9 rebounds a game. Gonzaga has one of the best players in the nation in Drew Timme, along with plenty of other talent around him like Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton. These are two of the most talented teams in the nation, and it should be a really good matchup.
No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 5 Houston | Saturday Dec. 17, 2022, 2:00 pm ET | ESPN2
This was almost destined to be a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup, but after Alabama beat Houston last week, that wasn’t a possibility anymore. However, it is still a top five matchup with two great teams. Houston has their excellent backcourt in Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark along with talented freshman Jarace Walker, along with other key players. They are 10-1 and very dominant on defense. Virginia is very deep with a lot of great college basketball players. They are far and away the best team in the ACC right now, and likely still will be in March.
No. 13 Kentucky vs. No. 16 UCLA | CBS Sports Classic | Saturday Dec. 17, 2022, 5:15 pm ET | CBS
As mentioned earlier, UCLA absolutely pummeled Maryland to keep their winning streak alive. This would be a statement win for the Bruins and would be their second Quad 1 win of the season. They have five players averaging in double-figures, which is just tremendous production. Kentucky on the other hand is trying to get their best win of the year in this game. They have a win over Michigan, but that is considered a Quad 2 win as of right now. The Cats are 0-1 in Quad 1 with their loss to Gonzaga. Cason Wallace is one of the best freshmen in the country, and Oscar Tshiebwe is amazing as always averaging 16.1 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.
This game is one half of the CBS Sports Classic, and it will follow the Ohio State-North Carolina game. North Carolina needs a win very, very badly, and needs this one more than OSU. However, Ohio State would like to have this one to solidify themselves as a top 25 team.
No. 9 Arizona vs. No. 6 Tennessee | Saturday Dec. 17, 2022, 10:30 pm ET | ESPN2
Both of these teams are hot right now. Tennessee comes off a win over Maryland last week, and Arizona just beat Indiana last week and beat Texas A&M-CC by 38 earlier this week. This is a matchup of Arizona’s No. 1 offense in Kenpom vs. Tennessee’s No. 1 defense in Kenpom. There really is no telling what will happen in this game.
Both of these teams have five players averaging in double-figures on the season so far, with Julian Phillips leading the Vols, and Azuolas Tubelis leading the Wildcats. Arizona plays really fast, ranking fourth in adjusted tempo in Kenpom, while Tennessee ranks No. 177. This will be the toughest offense matchup yet for Tennessee, so let’s see if they can contain the Wildcats.
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