Weekend Predictions: North Carolina bounces back at Notre Dame

This is getting ridiculous.

I know the rule. And I violated the rule.

Kansas doesn't lose at the Phog, homeboy!

I knew that. And I still bet against it. Now, in my defense, Kentucky gave Kansas a better game than most anticipated. Still ...

Kansas doesn't lose at the Phog, homeboy!

It all went downhill from there.

But this week will be better. Can't get much worse, right?

Last week: 2-5

Overall: 35-27

No. 2 North Carolina at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN: Yes, the Fighting Irish are a better team with Demetrius Jackson, a potential first-round pick in this summer's NBA draft. Wait, let's correct that. Notre Dame is a completely different team with Jackson on the floor. On offense. But their defensive challenges remain. The Fighting Irish surrendered 1.31 points per possession in a loss to Syracuse last week and 1.25 PPP in a loss to Miami on Thursday (Jackson played). Now they'll host a North Carolina team that's third in the nation on two-point jump shots (45.3 percent, according to hoopmath.com) and leads the nation in points in the paint. Brice Johnson and the Tar Heels are coming off a tough loss to Louisville, but they'll get the ball inside in a tough road battle against Notre Dame.

Prediction: North Carolina 87, Notre Dame 83

No. 15 Baylor at No. 14 West Virginia, 8 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN2: Both Baylor and West Virginia are vying for the Big 12 championship. But the teams are in different positions. West Virginia scored 81 points in a come-from-behind win at Iowa State on Tuesday. Baylor scored 59 points -- yes, 59 points -- in a home loss to Texas on Monday. The Bears made only 38 percent of their shots inside the arc. They're also committing turnovers on 18.2 percent of their possessions (No. 170, per KenPom.com). And they're facing a West Virginia team that forces more turnovers and scores more points off turnovers than any team in America. So, there's that.

Prediction: West Virginia 79, Baylor 70

No. 10 Michigan State at Michigan, 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS: This doesn't feel right without Caris LeVert. No guarantee he'll miss another game, but there's just no way to know at this point. If he's out, this game should still be competitive. But Michigan's loss to Indiana showed how helpless it can be in situations when it's involved in a tough matchup against an elite squad without their first-round pick. ESPN's matchup predictor favors Michigan State (61.7 percent chance to win) in this game. Denzel Valentine looks good and healthy again. The Spartans have won three in a row. Four on Saturday.

Prediction: Michigan State 75, Michigan 71

Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4 p.m. ET, Sunday, ESPN2: Well, we could get into specifics. But the last time these two teams met, Oregon won by 18 points ... in Salt Lake City. Yes, Utah heated up after that loss and Jakob Poeltl is playing monstrous basketball. But Oregon's versatility is a problem for Utah.

Prediction: Oregon 79, Utah 74

No. 9 Virginia at Pitt, noon ET, Saturday, ESPN3.com/WatchESPN: Virginia has won five in a row. And the Cavs allowed only one of those opponents -- Wake Forest (1.09) -- to score more than 1.03 points per possession. Tony Bennett's crew is getting nasty again. And yes, the Cavs are on their way to one of the tougher venues in the country. But Pitt won't stop this train.

Prediction: Virginia 73, Pitt 68

No. 3 Villanova at No. 11 Providence, 2:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, FS1: Get your popcorn ready for this one. Villanova is definitely looking for payback after the Friars topped the Wildcats in Philly last month. In that game, however, Ben Bentil finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds. He's day-to-day because of an ankle injury he suffered in Providence's loss to DePaul on Tuesday. There's no way to know if Bentil will play. Even if he does, will he play at 100 percent? Kris Dunn can only do so much.

Prediction: Villanova 79, Providence 72

Florida at No. 20 Kentucky, 4 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS: Key game for both teams. Florida hopes to maintain the momentum that grew after it defeated West Virginia in Gainesville last weekend. The Gators have always been a tough defensive team, but now they've found a rhythm on offense. They've scored 80 or more in five of their last six games, all wins. Kentucky just lost to Tennessee, another poor display. But John Calipari's squad will protect the rim and make Florida take an uncomfortable number of 3-pointers (32.7 percent from beyond the arc this season).

Prediction: Kentucky 80, Florida 74

No. 23 Arizona at Washington, 4:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Fox: The good news for Arizona is that Allonzo Trier might return Saturday after missing multiple games because of a hand injury he suffered in the epic, four-overtime loss to USC on Jan. 9. They'll need him. Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray lead a team that's fifth in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.com. But Arizona will adjust to that tempo and win as the more efficient team.

Prediction: Arizona 80, Washington 79