(10) Villanova at UConn
UConn is looking to continue its momentum towards the NCAA Tournament and the return of James Bouknight will spark this. Bouknight takes this team to another level with the ability to dominate the game with scoring and playmaking capabilities. The ability for others to emerge like Tyrese Martin is key with his scoring and defensive potential on the wing will be important against Justin Moore. The production inside for UConn must step up especially against Jeremiah Robinson-Earl on the defensive end. Therefore, Adam Sanogo and Isaiah Waley must have strong performances if UConn is going to come out with a victory. The consistent play of R.J Cole will be really important in providing a player that can lead the UConn offense with the pace of his game.
For Villanova, they must respond to the disappointing performance at Creighton. This begins with the play of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl will need to attack the youth of the UConn frontcourt. Also, Collin Gillespie will need to be more of a shot maker in this game to get the momentum going for Villanova. Additionally, a big-time matchup will be Bouknight against Justin Moore and Moore’s ability to get in the lane will be vital. Continued, Caleb Daniels and Jermaine Samuels will be very important to Villanova with their defensive ability and to make timely shots. The rim protection by Villanova will be a major factor in this game. Overall, UConn will keep the momentum going and get a huge win against Villanova.
Matchup to Watch: James Bouknight vs Justin Moore
Prediction: UConn 75 Villanova 71
(15) Texas Tech at (23) Kansas
Kansas will be aiming to continue to build momentum back to be factors come NCAA Tournament time. The play of David McCormack is vital for their offense to get easy looks and the matchup against Kevin McCullar will be imperative. Continued, Marcus Garrett will be crucial in this game with his ability to defend Mac McClung throughout effectively. Furthermore, the consistency of Jalen Wilson must be there for Kansas as he provides a true wing scorer from the perimeter and at the rim. Additionally, Ochai Agbaji has played very well on both ends all season and will need to be really good against Texas Tech’s perimeter.
Texas Tech will need a major performance from McClung will be huge in his matchup against Garrett. Furthermore, the interior defense of Marcus Santos-Silva and Kevin McCullar will be vital against McCormack. Next, the consistent scoring of Kyler Edwards and Terrance Shannon will be imperative for Texas Tech to win this game. The play of Jamarius Burton defensively on the perimeter will be key against Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson. Overall, the defense of Garrett will set the tone for Kansas to win this game.
Matchup to Watch: Marcus Garrett vs Mac McClung
Prediction: Kansas 71 Texas Tech 67
(13) West Virginia at (12) Texas
Texas needs to get some momentum back and a win here would put Texas in a great position for the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Furthermore, the perimeter defense on Miles McBride will be imperative needing Courtney Ramey to be great on that end. Additionally, the playmaking of Matt Coleman will be needed throughout for Texas to win this game. Continued, the scoring of Andrew Jones must keep up being the go-to guy offensively for Texas. Now, the interior defense on Derek Culver must be great throughout with Jericho Sims and Kai Jones. The mismatch that Greg Brown can cause for West Virginia must be attacked by Texas and take advantage of not having a player to really match up with Greg Brown.
For West Virginia, the playmaking ability of McBride sets the tone and he must be great in this game. Next, Sean McNeil is a game-changer for West Virginia with his shot-making ability from deep he will be crucial. Furthermore, Taz Sherman must be at his best if West Virginia will win this game and must be their go-to scorer on the perimeter. The size of the West Virginia perimeter will be interesting to see them defend the Texas perimeter throughout. This is an opportunity Texas can’t let go of and will come away with a very good win over West Virginia.
Matchup to Watch: Kai Jones vs Derek Culver
Prediction: Texas 77 West Virginia 75
Louisville at North Carolina
This game is imperative for North Carolina to start to really get in a position to be in the NCAA tournament. First off, the backcourt play of North Carolina will be vital against the very good backcourt of Louisville. Therefore, Caleb Love and R.J. Davis will need to be effective throughout for North Carolina to have a chance in this game. Additionally, the strength of North Carolina is in its frontcourt needing to dominate an inexperienced Louisville frontcourt. Continued, Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks must set the tone for North Carolina’s offense. As well as, having Day’Ron Sharpe off the bench is crucial with his scoring and efficiency. Also, the X factor for North Carolina is Kerwin Walton with his shot-making ability giving North Carolina a reliable shooter.
For Louisville, the key for them to win this game will keep North Carolina off the glass. Next, Carlik Jones and David Johnson will need to attack the young North Carolina perimeter throughout. Furthermore, Jae’Lyn Withers will have a massive responsibility in this game trying to contain the North Carolina bigs. The play of Quinn Slazinski must be effective to help out the Louisville frontcourt in this matchup. Overall, North Carolina needs this game and will get it with a dominant performance by their frontcourt.
Matchup to Watch: Carlik Jones vs Caleb Love
Prediction: North Carolina 78 Louisville 72
(3) Michigan at (4) Ohio State
This will be potentially the best game of the regular season up to this point between Michigan and Ohio State. For Michigan, their success starts with the defensive end with Mike Smith and Eli Brooks so defending CJ Walker and Duane Washington will be imperative. Further, the production of Hunter Dickinson will be crucial in this game is a terrific matchup against E.J. Liddell. Continued, Isaiah Livers has the ability to take over games and has a good matchup to attack the wings of Ohio State. The depth of this game will be vital with Michigan needing Chaundee Brown to step up.
Ohio State has not lost a game when they have been completely healthy. Now, the play of Liddell against Dickinson will be huge, and needing him to produce a 20 and 10 type performance. Next, the offensive ability of Walker and Washington must be good against a difficult defensive backcourt of Michigan. The key for Ohio State will be guarding the wings of Franz Wagner and Livers. The versatility of Justice Seuing will be a major factor in this game on both ends. Also, the x-factor for Ohio State is Justin Ahrens with his 3-point shooting that can change any game at any moment. As for the outcome, Ohio State will get a tight win over Michigan because of Liddell.
Matchup to Watch: E.J. Liddell vs Hunter Dickinson
Prediction: Ohio State 76 Michigan 73
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