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College hoops weekend viewer's guide: ACC clashes highlight loaded slate

A pair of top 20 showdowns in the ACC are two of this weekend's five must-watch games.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It's the second Saturday of the conference season and the slate is once again loaded. Figure out where you're ordering food from now, put the phone silent and feng shui the living room just right. You've got work to do.

All game times in this post are EST


No. 1 Kentucky at Texas A&M (Saturday - 1 p.m./CBS)

Only because Kentucky is now in the "must watch" category every time they step on the court until/if they lose.

No. 5 Louisville at No. 18 North Carolina (Saturday - 2 p.m./ESPN)

A struggling Louisville offense is going to have to find a way to put up points in order to win this game, which is probably why North Carolina is favored by 3.5 despite losing at home to Notre Dame on Monday night. Marcus Paige dropped 32 on U of L in a 94-85 Tar Heel victory in the Hall of Fame Tipoff championship game early last season.

DePaul at No. 8 Villanova (Saturday - 4 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

Sitting alone atop the Big East standings at 3-0, DePaul has officially (unofficially) become America's team. And Canada's too, I guess, because Drake is on the bandwagon. Sadly, none of those things change the fact that the Blue Demons have the worst RPI in the conference and are 24-point underdogs at Nova. Still ... you're obligated to watch if you love your country.

No. 3 Virginia at No. 13 Notre Dame (Saturday - 6 p.m./ESPN2)

There's no question that of the three remaining unbeatens in college basketball, Virginia is easily the most likely to taste defeat this weekend. Notre Dame boasts the second most efficient offense in the country according to Ken Pomeroy, while the Cavaliers own the fifth most efficient defense. This should be your game of the weekend.

No. 17 Iowa State at No. 14 West Virginia (Saturday - 8 p.m./ESPN2)

There are plenty of people out there who believe Fred Hoiberg has all the pieces necessary to end Kansas' unbelievable streak of 10 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles. That roster is going to have to gel quickly and win toss-up games like this one in order to make that happen.


No. 22 Ohio State at Indiana (Saturday - Noon/ESPN)

D'Angelo Russell likes to score, and Indiana hasn't been particularly concerned with keeping people from scoring so far this season. That alone should make ESPN's first game of the day worth tuning into.

No. 10 Texas at Oklahoma State (Saturday - 5 p.m./ESPNU)

Both teams are coming off of losses - Texas a humiliating blowout to Oklahoma, and OSU an excruciatingly close loss to Iowa State. Often times it takes a while for talented teams to re-adjust to life with a star player who had been sitting out for an extended period of time. Such is the case with the Longhorns right now, who got Isaiah Taylor back a week ago and have not looked stellar in the two games since.

No. 2 Duke at NC State (Sunday - 1:30 p.m./CBS)

Coach K is looking for win No. 998, while his team looks to win 15 consecutive games for the first time since the start of the 2012-13 season. The team that ended that winning streak? NC State, which upset Duke 84-76 at PNC Arena. Things figure to be a little tougher for the Wolfpack against this Duke squad, which has trailed for a total of just 11:19 so far this season.


Cincinnati at Connecticut (Saturday - 11 a.m./ESPN2)

No matter how early it is or how bad the teams are, if there's an AAC game on television, you're allowed to start drinking. Swear to God that's a rule. It's been around for like 80 years.

No. 11 Maryland at Purdue (Saturday - 2:30 p.m./Big Ten Network)

The Terps, one of the most pleasant surprises in college basketball this season, are coming off their most uninspired performance of the season in Wednesday's 64-57 loss to Illinois. A win would have given Maryland its best 16-game start in program history. They'll look to take out those frustrations on a Purdue team that has looked far more formidable in Big 10 play than it had in the previous six weeks.

No. 21 Baylor at TCU (Saturday - 4 p.m./ESPN2)

Slow Big 12 starts are kind of "things" for both of these teams, which enter this afternoon's game a combined 0-4 in league play. Of course slow middles and slow ends are also things for the Horned Frogs, who are now a near imperfect 2-36 in the Big 12 since joining the conference three seasons ago. Yet another 0-3 start would certainly put a damper on Trent Johnson's team's 13-0 start.

No. 15 Wichita State at Loyola (IL) (Sunday - 5 p.m./ESPNU)

There has been a decently large chunk of Wichita State that has been wanting to see a more exciting player receive the minutes currently being given to junior guard Evan Wessel. They'll get their wish on Sunday, as Wessel is out with a sprained right ankle. Come to ESPNU for Fred VanVleet and the boys, stay for an extended look at do-it-all Loyola star Christian Thomas.

No. 7 Arizona at Oregon State (Sunday - 10 p.m./Fox Sports 1)

It's like the basketball equivalent of last call at the bar. You swore you weren't going to be here again this weekend, and suddenly there you are: sound turned down, significant other asleep, Fox Sports 1 picture illuminating the otherwise dark room. I get it.


Navy at Army (Saturday - Noon/CBS Sports Network)

It's not football, but Army-Navy in any sport is still Army-Navy. The Black Knights, who are one of the five original Division-I teams that have never made the NCAA Tournament, are off to a surprising 10-4 start that includes an overtime win at USC. Feel free to adopt them as your own for the next couple of months.

Georgetown at Providence (Saturday - Noon/Fox Sports 1)

No conference is getting more Bracketology love right now than the Big East, and the Hoyas and Friars are two of the eight teams in the league that many people foresee making the field of 68. Despite always playing in the same conference, Providence has hosted the Hoyas only four times in the last 10 seasons, with Georgetown winning three of four meetings.

Kansas State at No. 16 Oklahoma (Saturday - 7 p.m./ESPNU)

It's the Big 12's most disappointing team against perhaps its most surprisingly formidable squad. I mean, everyone thought Oklahoma was going to be good, just now "blowout a top 10 Texas team on its home floor" good.

No. 4 Wisconsin at Rutgers (Sunday - 6 p.m./Big Ten Network)

Every Big 10 game not featuring Wisconsin is worth your time because pretty much all of them are going to be coin flip games. This Big 10 game features Wisconsin.

Florida State at Syracuse (Sunday - 8 p.m./ESPNU

Because Karl Hess isn't going to be there.

Illinois at Nebraska (Sunday - 8:30 p.m./Big Ten Network)

Maybe the best game of Sunday outside of Duke-NC State, or at least the most intriguing. Both teams have had their moments already this season, but neither can afford to wait too long to get thing rolling after starting Big 10 play 1-2. The Illini still doesn't have Rayvonte Rice, but that wasn't an issue earlier this week when they upset No. 11 Maryland.