Viewer's Guide: Ohio State-Marquette highlights weekend
There are a few decent games to watch this weekend, including a top-20 showdown between Ohio State and Marquette.
The first weekend of the college basketball season was fairly quiet, as last Friday was the start of the campaign and featured most of the key contests. This weekend, however, has some quality games -- including a battle between two top-20 teams, and a couple of ranked teams heading on the road.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: No. 10 Ohio State at No. 17 Marquette (Saturday, 1 p.m., FOX). The lone game of the weekend that pits two top-25 teams against one another. Both teams opened with two double-digit wins, Ohio State knocking off Morgan State and Ohio, while Marquette handled Southern and Grambling State. The Buckeyes haven't had the go-to scorer like Deshaun Thomas, but they are getting balanced offense from a variety of sources. For Marquette, Davante Gardner has been very efficient offensively, but the Golden Eagles will need a guard to step up against Ohio State. They have to hit some outside shots, so Ohio State's interior defense can't collapse on Gardner.
Second-best game: No. 7 Michigan at Iowa State (Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPN2). Both teams could be without their best player, as Michigan's Mitch McGary has been bothered by a back problem and Iowa State's Melvin Ejim is not yet fully recovered from a hyperextended knee he suffered in October. The key matchup will be Michigan's Glenn Robinson III against Dustin Hogue. Can the junior college transfer slow down a future first-round pick? Both teams have perimeter-based lineups, and DeAndre Kane has to try to get the Cyclones out in transition.
Another one to watch: Towson at Villanova (Sunday, 5 p.m., FOX Sports 1). This is another opportunity for Towson to prove itself as one of the best mid-major teams in the country this season. The Tigers beat Temple on Thursday, but heading on the road to Villanova is a stiffer test. Obviously the biggest talking point in the game will be Towson's Jerrelle Benimon. He needs to have a huge game for Towson to get the win -- will Jayvaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu slow him down on the inside? Meanwhile, the Tigers have to keep Villanova's perimeter players from getting into the lane off penetration.
Guaranteed win: There are a ton of ranked teams playing cupcakes at home this weekend, giving me many options for this category. However, the one with the most intrigue is clearly Robert Morris at No. 1 Kentucky (Sunday, 7 p.m., ESPN2), so we’ll go with that one. As everyone remembers, the Wildcats lost to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT last season – and that’s still the lasting memory of the 2012-13 version of Kentucky. They should get revenge on Sunday.
Potential upset: Two contests stand out this weekend for surprises. Up first is an intrastate battle between No. 20 Wisconsin and Green Bay (Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN3). Green Bay is playing at home – and has a future NBA prospect in 7-foot-1 Alec Brown. Brown, guard Keifer Sykes and Rutgers transfer Vincent Garrett form a solid trio. Stanford has struggled a bit to start the season, but the Cardinal did handle Northwestern on Thursday. What will happen at Denver (Sunday, 2 p.m., ROOT Sports) this weekend? The Pioneers might have the defense and frontcourt to pose a threat to Stanford.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Two power-conference teams are at home on Sunday, but could have closer games than expected. Boston University at Connecticut (Sunday, 12 p.m., ESPNU) and Indiana State at No. 21 Notre Dame (Sunday, 12 p.m., ESPN3).
- Doug McDermott and Creighton head on the road to face Saint Joseph’s (Saturday, 7 p.m., Regional TV). Can the Bluejays handle Langston Galloway?
- An under-the-radar individual matchup to watch out for is UTEP’s 7-foot-1 Matt Wilms against New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar (Friday, 9 p.m., ESPN3).
Other games to watch:
- Cornell at No. 3 Louisville (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN3)
- Florida Atlantic at No. 4 Duke (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN3)
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff at No. 8 <span data-shortcode= State" data-canon="Oklahoma Sooners" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> (Friday, 8 p.m., FOX Sports Affiliates)
- Holy Cross at No. 12 North Carolina (Friday, 8 p.m., ESPNU)
- Columbia at No. 2 Michigan State (Friday, 9 p.m., Big Ten Network)
- No. 25 Virginia at Davidson (Saturday, 12 p.m.)
- Colgate at No. 9 Syracuse (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., ESPN3)
- <span data-shortcode= State" data-canon="Tennessee Volunteers" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at No. 16 Wichita State (Saturday, 1 p.m.)
- Arkansas-Little Rock at No. 11 Florida (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., ESPN3)
- Winthrop at No. 14 VCU (Saturday, 7 p.m., CSN Mid-Atlantic Plus)
- Belmont at No. 12 North Carolina (Sunday, 4 p.m., ESPNU)
- Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 23 Baylor (Sunday, 5 p.m., FOX Sports Affiliates)
- Charleston <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="Southern Jaguars" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at No. 22 New Mexico (Sunday, 6:05 p.m., ROOT Sports)
- Oakland at No. 15 Gonzaga (Sunday, 8 p.m., ROOT Sports)
- Wagner at St. John’s (Friday, 6 p.m., FOX Sports 2)
- <span data-shortcode= Tech" data-canon="Georgia Bulldogs" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at Georgia (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN3)
- Northwestern State at Auburn (Friday, 8 p.m.)
- Akron at Middle Tennessee (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
- Seton Hall at Mercer (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
- Minnesota at Richmond (Saturday, 7 p.m., Regional TV)
- Northwestern State at LSU (Saturday, 8 p.m.)
- Long Beach State at Kansas State (Sunday, 2 p.m., FOX Sports Affiliates)
- South Carolina at Clemson (Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPN3)
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