Editor’s Note: You could argue that Louisville/Syracuse was the best matchup of the day, but that game is already halfway over as I’m typing this, so we won’t be including any of the 12 pm games today. Sorry, we all know how hard it is to get out of bed before noon on a Saturday. Here’s a list of the top eight games on TV today…
West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas – 2 pm (CBS)
The Jayhawks should still be considered one of the scariest teams in the country, despite their collective ups and downs this season. With that being said, for Kansas to make a deep run through March, it needs Ben McLemore to play like the potential No. 1 draft pick that he is. Since dropping 30 points against Kansas State, McLemore is averaging just 10 points and is shooting 35 percent in his last four games.
No. 21 Notre Dame at No. 22 Marquette – 2 pm (ESPN)
Marquette is always the silent assassin come this time of year. March rolls around, and even though no one really includes Buzz Williams’ team in the conversation, the Golden Eagles are quietly sitting just one game out first place in the Big East standings. Don’t be surprised if Marquette wins its final three games and takes home its first-ever Big East regular season title.
Wichita State at Creighton – 2pm (ESPN 2)
This might not jump off the page as an action-packed, Saturday afternoon thriller, but it should be included in the short list of today’s top games because the Missouri Valley Conference is as good as any conference in the nation. Both the Shockers and the Blue Jays have a shot at making a run in the Big Dance. Here’s a chance for you to check them out before everyone else does.
Arizona State at Southern California – 3 pm (CSN)
Arizona State is going to be an exciting team to watch down the stretch for a number of reasons. Jahii Carson is one of the top scoring guards in the PAC 12, swingman Carrick Felix might be the best perimeter defender in the league, and 7’2″ center Jordan Bachynski is a shot-blocking machine. Oh, and they’re the definition of a “bubble team,” meaning that they need literally every win they can get to be included in the field of 68. What more could you ask for?
Texas at No. 15 Oklahoma State – 4 pm (ESPN)
Marcus Smart. That is a name you want to remember. The 6’4″ freshman has lapped Michael Carter-Williams as the nation’s top point guard prospect and could go as high as No. 1 overall in June’s NBA Draft. He’s tough, physical, and lightning-fast. He makes great decisions and is incredibly smart with the basketball. He also went through some fucked up shit to get to where he is today. To make a long story short, he is absolutely worth tuning into for at least a few minutes.
No. 5 Miami at No. 3 Duke – 6 pm (ESPN)
Will the Blue Devils fall for the second game in a row? Can Miami take down Duke for the second time this year? Another loss to the Hurricanes would send the Blue Devils tumbling out of the top 5, while a win would give Miami sole possession of its first ACC regular season Championship ever. Simply put, there’s a lot at stake for both teams in this one.
No. 13 Kansas State at Baylor – 7 pm (ESPN 2)
I’ve mentioned Kansas State as one of the teams to watch coming out of the Big 12, but what about Baylor? The Bears were figured to compete for a league title this season, but have completely fallen short of expectations. They’ve lost six of their last nine games and are rapidly looking more and more like an NIT team. If they want to turn this thing around, Baylor needs more from freshman center Isaiah Austin. The 7’1″ monster of a human is expected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but hasn’t shown the willingness to bang in the paint with the big boys. Dude! You’re 7’1″!!! Play down low, not on the perimeter.
No. 11 Arizona at UCLA – 9 pm (ESPN)
This might be my favorite game of the night right here. No one mentions Arizona when it comes to legitimate title contender, yet the Wildcats have as good of a seven man rotation that you will find these days. They’re deep, talented, experience, and well-coached. A win over an improving UCLA team would catapult the Wildcats back into the top 10.