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Weekend Look Ahead: Don't miss KS-MO, but tune out bracket experts


Are we about to play the biggest game in the history of Allen Fieldhouse?

Honestly, probably not.

But it's still big enough to lead the Weekend Look Ahead.

Top game: Bill Self was asked this week whether Saturday's showdown between No. 3 Missouri and No. 4 Kansas will be the biggest game ever played inside Allen Fieldhouse. Self said it's not, and he's likely right. But the idea that such a question can even be reasonably posed is a testament to the magnitude of what will be the final Border War game for the foreseeable future. A KU win would clinch at least a share of an eighth consecutive Big 12 title for the Jayhawks while a Missouri victory would create a tie atop the league standings with one week remaining in the regular season. So, yeah, this is big. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. ET. You can watch it on CBS -- which, I'm told, is America's Most Watched Network.

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Another interesting matchup: A 30-footer from Shabazz Napier earlier this week kept Connecticut on the right side of the bubble ... for now. But the Huskies still have issues. And they still don't have Jim Calhoun. And they still need to close strong to avoid the NIT. Saturday presents a nice opportunity -- a chance to register a third victory against a currently ranked team when No. 2 Syracuse visits Gampel Pavilion. A win just might secure an at-large bid. But a loss will put the Huskies in a position where they'd need to close with victories over Providence and Pittsburgh just to finish .500 in the Big East.

Yet another interesting matchup: If you can't win at Iowa on a Thursday, can you win at Ohio State on a Sunday? I doubt it. But No. 16 Wisconsin will try to prove me wrong this weekend when Bo Ryan's team plays the No. 8 Buckeyes at Value City Arena.

Guaranteed to be a blowout: It was a year ago this weekend when unranked Virginia Tech upset top-ranked Duke and Dick Vitale famously told Seth Greenberg he was a lock for the NCAA tournament even though he wasn't. Fun times. Rest assured, history will not repeat itself Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils will cruise. And even if they don't, nobody is promising Virginia Tech a place in the Field of 68 this time around. The Hokies are too far off the bubble for that kind of silliness.

Guaranteed to be an upset: Florida State just played one of the biggest games in school history (against Duke) and lost. Next up for the 15th-ranked Seminoles is Sunday's trip to unranked Miami. It will not be one of the biggest games in school history, but it will result in a loss just the same.

Player trying to keep rolling: Cody Zeller isn't as celebrated as Kentucky's Anthony Davis, and that's fair. But the 6-foot-11 forward really is having some kind of freshman season. He's averaging 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in Indiana's past four games, three of which have resulted in victories. He should help the 23rd-ranked Hoosiers win for the fourth time in five outings Sunday when they play Minnesota.

Player trying to get rolling: Kyle Kuric took 11 shots and missed 11 shots in Thursday's loss at Cincinnati. He needs to be just a little better than that Sunday when Louisville hosts Pittsburgh or else the 17th-ranked Cardinals will become the unranked Cardinals on Monday afternoon.

Three things you need to know

1. Top-ranked Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt early Saturday. If the Wildcats win their 51st consecutive home game, they'll improve to 14-0 in the SEC and clinch the outright league title considering no other SEC school can finish better than 13-3.

2. Saint Mary's plays at San Francisco late Saturday. The Gaels will secure the West Coast Conference's outright title with a victory and thus snap Gonzaga's 11-year run of WCC championships.

3. Maalik Wayns has missed three straight games and Villanova has dropped three straight games, and those two facts are almost certainly tied together. The Wildcats' leading scorer isn't yet 100 percent recovered from a sprained MCL in his left knee. But Villanova coach Jay Wright said Thursday that he's "hopeful" Wayns will play Saturday at No. 9 Georgetown.

Final thought: We've reached that time of the year when grown men put on suits and proclaim with a great deal of certainty that various schools are either in the NCAA Tournament or out of the NCAA Tournament. It makes for great radio and television, I guess. But what bothers me most is that some of the people doing the proclaiming seem to have no idea how this stuff works and that the so-called finish line for an at-large bid is constantly moving.

What might look like enough now might not be enough on Selection Sunday.

And vice versa.

But, either way, the point I really want to make is that before anybody insists a school is in or out they should sit down with a pencil and piece of paper and project a Field of 68 on their own. Pick 31 conference champions, then add 37 at-large schools. And speak only after you're done. Because unless you're doing that you have no idea what you're talking about, and I'm confident some of the people talking on radio right now fall into this category. Sometimes I hear guys say five different wrong-side-of-the-bubble teams are in, and I just know they've got 74 schools in a 68-team field. Sometimes I hear guys say eight different bubble teams have "no chance," and I wonder if they realize we must put 68 teams in this thing regardless of how those 68 teams look.

At the end of the day, we're gonna be debating eight schools for three spots. That's the way it always goes. But from now until Selection Sunday there will be lots of bad information passed along. So do yourself a favor and listen to the right people. And make sure they can count to 68.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and college basketball insider for the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts an award-winning radio show in Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two sons and two dogs.

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