College basketball top 25 schedule: UCLA vs. Arizona, Kentucky vs. Florida
There's a little something for every kind of college hoops fan this weekend, and it'll get you so pumped for March
The SEC and the Pac-12 are the two weakest leagues this season among the traditional six power conferences in college basketball. It’s ironic that in the penultimate weekend of regular-season basketball that those leagues have the two most anticipated games of the weekend.
When you’ve got Final Four-quality teams, that’s usually all that matters. Between the two conferences, five such teams qualify, and so here we are. The game of the weekend is on CBS and streaming live for free on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app is No. 13 Florida going to No. 11 Kentucky (2 p.m. ET). about that game right here from Florida’s end. For Kentucky, it needs to dodge being swept by the Gators in order to have any shot at a No. 4 seed or better. All the pressure is on the Wildcats in that one.
The other huge game comes courtesy of the Pac-12, a top-five matchup with No. 5 UCLA traveling to play at fourth-ranked Arizona (8:15 ET, ESPN). It’s the biggest game between these two teams in more than a decade. Entering the weekend, here’s how the Pac-12 standings shake out at the top:
- Arizona 15-1
- Oregon 14-2
- UCLA 12-3
An Arizona win means the Wildcats will take the league for the third time in four years. If UCLA pulls off the road upset, the Bruins and Wildcats will split the season series, and Oregon ---- will have a chance to earn a share of the conference title.
And when I look at those three teams, I see each one capable of winning the national title. That hasn’t been true of this conference in almost every other year of its existence. So Arizona-UCLA, beyond being a game for Pac-12 supremacy and each team angling to win to increase their chances at a 1 seed, beyond all that, it’s a showcase for West Coast hoops. The primetime tilt is a reminder that four of the best 10 teams (Gonzaga!) in college basketball this season play on the left side of the country.
Here’s what else you need to be tracking in college hoops this weekend.
For plenty of college basketball, this is the final weekend of the regular season.
While the majority of yconferences will wrap up play next Saturday and Sunday, many leagues will firm up their postseason standings by Sunday night. You know what that means: BRACKETS ARE COMING! The Atlantic Sun is already set. There are no games left to be played in that league. I know, can you believe it? March is nearly here. I’m psyched.
Here are the 12 other leagues finishing up regular season play this weekend. League leaders in parentheses.
- America East (Vermont going for 16-0 in final game)
- Big South (UNC Asheville, Liberty, Winthrop all tied!)
- CAA (UNC Wilmington)
- Horizon League (Valpo)
- MAAC (Monmouth)
- Missouri Valley (Wichita State, Illinois State)
- NEC (Mount St. Mary’s)
- Ohio Valley (Belmont)
- Patriot (Bucknell)
- SoCon (East Tennessee State)
- Summit League (South Dakota, North Dakota State)
- WCC (Gonzaga)
You’ll see plenty of those teams above in the NCAA Tournament field. I’m excited to see Monmouth in person Sunday, as the Hawks could be on a 16-game winning streak heading into the MAAC tourney.
Five most intriguing bubble games
For one reason or another, these are the five games featuring a bubble team that you should make time for this weekend.
VCU-Rhode Island (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2): URI is the first team out of the field in our latest bracket projection. The 18-9 Rams need this win. Losing at home to VCU would eliminate URI from at-large consideration, in my estimation. VCU on the other hand has this game, then plays at Dayton on Wednesday. The Rams have to win at least one of the two games to keep their at-large hopes alive.
Duke at Miami (4 p.m. ET, CBS): Yes, the Hurricanes are still a bubble team. But that ends once and for all if Miami can do to Duke what it did to North Carolina: win at home. I think this will be a close game from tip to buzzer. I’ll take the Canes.
Marquette at Providence (4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): Providence is a 12-seed-level team to me right now. Marquette the same. The Golden Eagles finish up their regular-season slate with at Providence, at Xavier and home to Creighton. Gotta go 2-1 to stay in the clear.
Purdue-Michigan (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2): Michigan’s only home game in a five-game stretch to close out the season. In an unfair twist, it’s UM’s toughest opponent. Plus, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan will try to have a huge game, get Purdue a win, and in the process perhaps woo voters to his National Player of the Year push.
Syracuse-Louisville (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS): Few think Syracuse will win this, but if the Orange beat Louisville on the road then they’ll be a lock to get a bid. If that happens, Louisville’s chances at a No. 2 seed are probably done as well.
Many ranked teams will lose yet again
We’ve got 17 of the 25 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 playing away from home this weekend. To me, here the four ranked teams most vulnerable to take a loss against clubs outside the top 25.
No. 17 SMU at UConn (Saturday, noon ET, CBS): Quietly,.
No. 19 Florida State at Clemson (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN3): Clemson is so overdue for a really good win (still wouldn’t be close to being in my field of 68), and Florida State’s proved to be rocky away from home.
No. 9 Baylor at Iowa State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN): Cyclones have a home game, are on a roll, and Baylor’s lost its way a bit. If ISU wins by 10, I won’t be surprised. Steve Prohm’s team is an Elite Eight dark horse.
No. 16 Wisconsin at Michigan State (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS): The Badgers just took a really weird 83-73 loss to average Ohio State. MSU is a bubble-type team who can practically firm up a bid with a win. Sparty will be ready. A great way to wrap up your college hoops viewing in advance of Sunday night’s Academy Awards.
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