With the conclusion of the Gavitt Tipoff and the Phil Knight Invitational, fans are in for a particularly light slate of games this weekend. Still, there are some games that will have a March feeling to them, with some matchups between some historic programs. Here’s what to watch for this weekend:
West Virginia at Pittsburgh, 7:00 pm, ESPNU
The two former Big East rivals meet up once again in the Backyard Brawl on Friday night. The Mountaineers opened the season with a 94-84 win over Akron, with Derek Culver and Jermaine Haley each scoring 16 points apiece. After an opening season win against Florida State, the Panthers dropped a buy-game to Nicholls State at home.
Most recently, Pitt got their first road win in over a year with a 71-57 win at Robert Morris. Sophomore Trey McGowens is a name to watch for Jeff Capel’s squad, as he is averaging 15 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 4.0 APG. Tonight will be the 117th all-time meeting, with West Virginia leading the series 70-46.
#9 Gonzaga at Texas A&M, 9:00 pm, SECN
Through the first three games of the season, the Bulldogs’ average margin of victory is 37.3 PPG. Albeit it has been against inferior competition, but that’s still very impressive. The ‘Zags (3-0) are led by Filip Petrusev’s 19.7 PPG, 9 RPG and 2.7 BPG. The Aggies (2-0) are in their first season under Buzz Williams, and will have their hands full against Mark Few’s team. Jay Jay Chandler (14 PPG) and Savion Flagg (13 PPG) are A&M’s best players and will need to have a big night to come away with the upset.
Minnesota at Utah, 9:00 pm, PAC12
The Gophers’ schedule hasn’t done them any favors with their opening slate of games. After an easy win over Cleveland State, Pitino’s team has dropped its last two: a neutral site loss to Oklahoma and a road loss at Butler. Daniel Oturu (18.3 PPG and 9.7 RPG) and Marcus Carr (13 PPG and 7 APG) will need to step up for the Gophers in order to fall to 1-3 tonight.
Utah, on the other hand, is 2-0 with a nice road win over Nevada to start the season. Sophomore Timmy Allen has had a nice two-game stretch with 26 and 23 points in the first two games, and leads the team with 24.5 PPG. The Utes fell to Minnesota 78-69 last season in Minneapolis.
Honorable Mention: Alabama at Rhode Island, BYU at Houston, UNLV at UCLA
#20 Washington vs. Tennessee (in Canada), 5:00pm, ESPN+
The Huskies (2-0) opened up their 2019-20 campaign with a huge neutral site win over #16 Baylor 67-64 in Anchorage, AK. Nahziah Carter, who is the nephew of rapper Jay Z, is leading Washington with 18.5 PPG and 2 SPG. Freshman Isaiah Stewart (15.5 PPG and 6 RPG) is another guy to watch for in this game. The Volunteers (2-0) got a stiff test from Murray State on Tuesday night before pulling away 83-62. Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner are back in Knoxville this year for Rick Barnes’ club, and look to keep the momentum going from last year. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Huskies and Volunteers.
USC at Nevada, 11:00pm, CBSSN
Steve Alford and the Wolfpack welcome Andy Enfield and the Trojans to the Lawlor Events Center Saturday evening. USC (3-0) is led by freshman Onyeka Okongwu, who is averaging 17.3 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 3.3 BPG in his first three games of collegiate hoops. Nevada (2-1) opened the season with a 79-74 loss to the Utah Utes, but have won their last two contests. Lindsey Drew leads the Wolfpack in almost every category with 20.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 6.3 APG and 1.7 SPG. These two programs met last season, with Nevada winning at USC 73-61 behind Jordan Caroline’s 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Honorable Mention: Belmont at Boston College, Vermont at St. John’s
Marquette at Wisconsin, 1:00pm, FS1
Markus Howard (28 PPG) and the Golden Eagles travel to Madison to take on their in-state rival Wisconsin on Sunday. Marquette (2-0) came back from an 18-point deficit on Wednesday to take down Purdue 65-55 thanks to Koby McEwen’s 23 points.
Wisconsin (2-1) has won their last two games after a 65-63 opening-season loss to St. Mary’s in Sioux Falls, SD. Brad Davidson (16 PPG, 40% from 3) is a lights-out shooter who you must account for at all times. Nate Reuvers, who averages 15.3 PPG and 8 RPG, provides a solid presence down low for the Badgers. Marquette leads all the time series vs Wisconsin 43-37.
Florida at Connecticut, 3:00pm, ESPN
The Gators (2-1) survived Towson 66-60 on Thursday night after falling to rival Florida State a few days prior. Kerry Blackshear, the Virginia Tech transfer, leads the team in points (14.3 PPG) and rebounds (12 RPG). The Huskies (1-1) opened up the season with a 22-point win over Sacred Heart, before falling to Saint Josephs by nine on Wednesday. UCONN is led by Christian Vital’s 21.5 PPG and 11.5 RPG, and have a talented point guard in Alterique Gilbert. The Huskies lead the all-time series 3-1, with the most recent meeting taking place in 2015 in Gainesville.
Honorable Mention: Yale at Oklahoma State, Seton Hall at St. Louis