Viewer's Guide: Wisconsin, Kentucky head on the road
There are a couple of upset possibilities on Tuesday, although survivor Wichita State isn't likely to be among that group.
On the surface, Tuesday seems to be a light day of college basketball. There are only 16 games nationally – but look again. Thirteen of those 16 games get a mention in Tuesday’s Viewer’s Guide, including intriguing mid-major conference battles, ranked teams going on the road, and other games worth watching.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: No. 3 Wisconsin at Indiana (7 p.m., ESPN). Is this where Wisconsin’s unbeaten season ends? The Badgers are off to a 16-0 start, but a road trip to Bloomington is never easy – despite the Hoosiers’ struggles this season. If Indiana is going to pull off the upset, it needs to control the paint. The Hoosiers have to crash the offensive glass, get to the free-throw line, and Noah Vonleh has to outplay Wisconsin’s inside duo of Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes. Defensively, Indiana has to be aware on the perimeter – Bo Ryan often has five guys who can shoot 3-pointers on the court. Are the Hoosiers disciplined enough to limit the open shots?
Second-best game: No. 25 Oklahoma at Kansas State (7 p.m., ESPN2). After the big four of the Big 12, these are the next two teams in line – and it wouldn’t be a shock to see both end up on the bubble come March. Kansas State saw its 10-game winning streak snapped by Kansas on Saturday, while Oklahoma gave Iowa State its first loss over the weekend. Tempo will be a major factor in this one, as Kansas State would prefer to bang in the half-court and the Sooners want to speed it up. The Wildcats have to keep Jordan Woodard out of the lane, while Oklahoma needs to limit second chances for Kansas State.
Another one to watch: VCU at George Washington (7 p.m.). Both teams enter this game at 13-3, but there are differing narratives for each squad. George Washington has been of the biggest surprises, getting off to an 11-1 start – but the Colonials have lost two of their last four games. VCU, on the other hand, struggled at the outset, but have now won five in a row nine of its last 10 games. Obviously the key in this game is George Washington taking care of the ball and forcing VCU to create offensive in the half-court. Briante Weber has been coming on strong for VCU, with 26 points, 11 assists and 12 steals in his last two games.
Guaranteed win: Bradley at No. 5 Wichita State (8 p.m., ESPN3). The Shockers moved to 17-0 with a come-from-behind overtime win against Missouri State on Saturday – but they won’t have as much trouble with Bradley on Tuesday. The Braves have lost nine of their last 10, and don’t own a single road win this season. That won’t change against Wichita State.
Potential upset: No. 13 Kentucky at Arkansas (9 p.m., ESPN). Arkansas fell just short against Florida over the weekend, blowing a lead it had for nearly the entire game. The Razorbacks could break through against Kentucky, though. The Wildcats have been taking care of the ball better than they were in November and December, but the all-freshman backcourt could struggle on the road against the pressure of Arkansas. Bobby Portis has to be productive inside against Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Three other things to keep an eye on:
- Couple of injuries to note: Casey Prather is out for Florida as it hosts Georgia (7 p.m., ESPNU), while St. John’s could be without D’Angelo Harrison (concussion) when it visits DePaul (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1).
- Can Butler really drop to 0-5 in the Big East? The Bulldogs have to go on the road to face No. 20 Creighton (9 p.m., FOX Sports 1).
- Nevada is the surprise of the Mountain West, off to a 4-0 start. The Wolf Pack face off against Boise State (10 p.m.), which has lost two in a row and five of eight.
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