(14) Texas at (18) Texas Tech
Texas Tech will be looking to bounce back after the loss to Oklahoma State. Now, in the matchup against Texas, Mac McClung will need to be elite with his scoring ability. Continued, Kevin McCullar will be key in the high post area for Texas Tech creating offense and defensively against Greg Brown. Furthermore, the consistent shooting of Terrance Shannon and Kyler Edwards is crucial for the offensive capabilities of Texas Tech. Additionally, will Jamarius Burton’s play is a key question with his defensive ability against the Texas backcourt. The defense of Texas Tech will be the most important factor with their no middle defense against the Texas guards.
As for Texas, their success starts with the backcourt play and Matt Coleman leads the way with his scoring and playmaking. As well as, Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones bring the ability to score and make perimeter shots consistently. Additionally, the play of Greg Brown is really important as he changes the ceiling for Texas on both ends. Next, the size and athleticism of Jericho Sims and Kai Jones will be important defensively against Kevin McCullar and Marcus Santos-Silva. The key for Texas will be slowing down Mac McClung’s production. Texas will get a much-needed win against Texas with Mac McClung leading the way.
Matchup to Watch: Mac McClung vs Matt Coleman
Prediction: Texas Tech 75 Texas 70
Oklahoma State at (7) Oklahoma
This is a massive game for Oklahoma State to further build on its strong resume. Therefore, Cade Cunningham must continue to play at the level he is at with his key scoring and playmaking ability. Next, the emergence of Kalib Boone has been very good with his interior scoring being a focal point for Oklahoma State. Additionally, Avery Anderson has stepped up with his driving ability and being a go-to option next to Cade Cunningham. Furthermore, Issac Likekele contributes in all aspects for Oklahoma State and will be massive in defending Austin Reaves. The interior presence of Oklahoma State offensively will be the most important factor in this matchup.
As for Oklahoma, they must respond to the disappointing loss to Kansas State. Furthermore, their success starts with Austin Reaves and his playmaking ability for others and himself. Next, the guards next to him must be consistent with the shot-making of Umoja Gibson and the driving ability of De’Vion Harmon. Continued, Brady Manek is vital for the success of Oklahoma needing his ability to stretch the defense and make perimeter shots. Also, the perimeter defense on Cade Cunningham will be vital for Oklahoma to win this game. Along with, Kur Kuath’s interior defense on Kalib Boone will be key. The guards outside of Austin Reaves will emerge and lead Oklahoma to a big win.
Matchup to Watch: Austin Reaves vs Cade Cunningham
Prediction: Oklahoma 80 Oklahoma State 76
Boise State at (22) San Diego State
This is for the top of the Mountain West Conference and both teams looking to fully secure NCAA tournament bids. As for San Diego State, Matt Mitchell is the key with his ability to score inside and on the perimeter with his size being hard to match up with. Additionally, they will need knockdown shooting from Jordan Schakel throughout is imperative. Further, Terrell Gomez’s ability to get in the lane and defend at a high level will be key for San Diego State. Also, Trey Pulliam must give consistent scoring on the perimeter next to Jordan Schakel. The rim protection of Nathan Mensah is vital in this game keeping Derrick Alston Jr. and the Boise State guards out of the lane. Also, the San Diego State defense on Derrick Alston Jr. throughout will be massive for their chances to win.
As for Boise State, they will need Derrick Alston Jr. to lead this offense with his assertiveness throughout for Boise State to win this game. Also, Mladen Armus must be effective in the post in the matchup against Nathan Mensah. Next, the scoring ability and size of Abu Kigab are going to be key giving Boise State another go-to option. The guard play of Marcus Shaver and Rayj Dennis is imperative to have Boise State’s offense be effective against the San Diego State defense. The ability of Derrick Alston Jr. will be the difference in leading Boise State to a major victory.
Matchup to Watch: Abu Kigab vs Matt Mitchell
Prediction: Boise State 73 San Diego State 68
(2) Baylor at (17) Kansas
This will be a massive challenge for Baylor trying to find their rhythm on the road at Kansas. First off, Baylor will need Jared Butler to lead the way offensively in a difficult matchup against Marcus Garrett. As well as, the consistency of Davion Mitchell defensively will be key and his shot-making will be needed. Additionally, the size of MaCio Teague will be key against Jalen Wilson, along with Teague’s scoring off the ball. The versatile defense of Mark Vital will be key throughout against the Kansas perimeter. Now, the depth of Adam Flagler is massive giving Baylor another go-to scoring option they can go to. The interior defense on David McCormack will be important for Baylor to win this game.
As for Kansas, their defense must continue to play at a high level needing to defend the backcourt of Baylor effectively. Therefore, Marcus Garrett will have the biggest task in defending Jared Butler throughout. Further, Jalen Wilson is vital in the matchup against MaCio Teague and will him to deliver in this game. Also, the shot-making ability of Christian Braun is really important for the Kansas offense. Additionally, Ochai Agbaji’s ability on both ends will be massive needing his scoring and defending Davion Mitchell or Adam Flagler. The interior presence of David McCormack is key for Kansas to control the paint in this game. Overall, the offensive firepower of Baylor will be too much for Kansas in this game.
Matchup to Watch: Marcus Garrett vs Jared Butler
Prediction: Baylor 78 Kansas 72
(9) Iowa at (4) Ohio State
In this matchup, there will be no shortage of offense as these are the two most potent offenses in the country. As for Ohio State, the interior defense on Luka Garza will be vital throughout needing E.J. Liddell and Zed Key to step up. Furthermore, the size and scoring ability of Duane Washington will be massive against the smaller Iowa backcourt. Continued, Justice Sueing will be vital with his scoring and versatility along with the defense on Joe Wieskamp. Additionally, the health of Kyle Young will be massive with the intangibles he brings to Ohio State and his rebounding ability. Also, the consistent play of CJ Walker will be vital for Ohio State to win this game. As well as, needing E.J. Liddell to be elite offensively in the post and his ability to stretch the floor on the perimeter.
As for Iowa, Luka Garza must set the tone in this game with his interior scoring and attack E.J. Liddell throughout. Further, Joe Wieskamp has been playing tremendous and must do so offensively and on the defensive end against Justice Sueing. Additionally, the backcourt consistent shooting of Jordan Bohannon and CJ Fredrick is the most important aspect of Iowa’s ability to win this game. The additional players of the frontcourt with Patrick McCaffery and Keegan Murray will be crucial on both ends for Iowa. Now, the defense for both teams will be the key in deciding this game. Therefore, Iowa will come up with more key stops than Ohio State leading to a huge victory.
Matchup to Watch: Joe Wieskamp vs Justice Sueing
Prediction: Iowa 84 Ohio State 81
Images Courtesy of, Bleacher Report, ESPN, Texas Tech Athletics
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with James!
“From Our Haus to Yours”