Viewer's Guide: Oklahoma State and Baylor need a win
Monday features plenty of mid-major leaders -- but also a Big 12 showdown between two teams that have to get momentum heading in the right direction.
The final four weeks of the season begin on Monday, after a jam-packed weekend filled with marquee games and bubble statements. There are more bubblers in action on Monday, including a showdown in the Big 12 between two teams in need of a big win.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: Oklahoma State at Baylor (9 p.m., ESPN). Oklahoma State enters its third and final game without Marcus Smart on a six-game losing streak, as the Cowboys’ season continues to spiral in the wrong direction. Baylor has put itself in the at-large picture with back-to-back wins, and also defeated Oklahoma State on the road at the start of February. Both teams could use the win. The Cowboys struggled on the inside with Baylor in the first meeting, as Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds. They have to keep the Bears off the offensive glass. Offensively, can Markel Brown control the tempo and get OK State in transition?
Second-best game: North Carolina at Florida State (7 p.m., ESPN). North Carolina has solidified its standing for the NCAA tournament with six straight wins, including Saturday’s home victory over Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Florida State has fallen out of many projected fields with losses in six of its last eight games. The Seminoles did get a much-needed victory at Wake Forest over the weekend, but the going gets tougher. After UNC, Florida State faces Pittsburgh and Syracuse in its final four games. They could really boost their chances with a win over the Tar Heels. The battle inside will be key, as UNC does most of its damage in the paint – where Florida State has plenty of size to defend the rim.
Mid-major leaders in action:
-- Delaware is one of six conference unbeatens remaining, and the Blue Hens head on the road to second-place Towson (7 p.m.).
-- Davidson has a one-game lead at the top of the Southern Conference, while Citadel hasn’t won a league game yet this season (7:05 p.m.).
-- Georgia State suffered its first Sun Belt loss of the season on Saturday, and the Panthers will look to bounce back against Texas State (7:30 p.m.).
-- North Carolina Central has a two-game lead in the loss column on three teams, while Savannah State is three games back (8 p.m.).
-- With six games remaining, Southern has a two-game lead atop the SWAC. Mississippi Valley State is 1-13 on the road this season (9 p.m., ESPNU).
-- Weber State has won nine of 10 to move three games up in the loss column on the rest of the league. Idaho State is up next (9:05 p.m.).
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