Apparently I need to start making picks with the same amount of desperation that teams are playing with as the regular season nears its end.
It was truly an erratic week going from correctly picking St. Joseph’s to beat Dayton in an Atlantic 10 battle, to being way off taking Temple to put a dent in Villanova's Big 5 crown.
Another 5-5 record means, as a prognosticator, I’d probably be on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble looking in. There is still time to make up ground before the conference tournament right?
No. 1 Villanova at No. 8 Xavier (Cincinnati), 7 p.m., FS1, Wednesday: The Wildcats' 95-64 win against Xavier on Dec. 31 was the insult. Edmund Sumner's hard fall two minutes into the game was the injury. There is no such a thing as a 32-point play, but payback will indeed be a Musketeer.
Prediction: Xavier 80, Villanova 74.
No. 7 Virginia at No. 11 Miami (Coral Gables, Fla.), 7 p.m., ESPN, Monday: The Hurricanes play their second straight game against a team they are tied with in the ACC standings. A 25-point loss has a way of re-focusing a team. Miami bounces back at home.
Prediction: Miami 72, Virginia 68.
No. 13 Iowa State at No. 10 West Virginia (Morgantown, W.V.), 9 p.m., ESPN, Monday: The Mountaineers have dropped back-to-back games for just the second time this season. The Cyclones have lost in overtime in each of their past two road trips. It won’t take an extra period this time.
Prediction: West Virginia 80, Iowa State 72.
No. 2 Kansas at No. 25 Baylor (Waco, Texas), 8 p.m., ESPN2, Tuesday: With a two-game lead, the Jayhawks are marching toward their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title. The Bears are no match as they try to deny what seems like destiny.
Prediction: Kansas 69, Baylor 63.
Alabama at No. 14 Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.), 7 p.m., ESPN, Tuesday: There is still a chance Avery Johnson can guide the Crimson Tide into the NCAA tournament, even with Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State. The odds of Alabama leaving Rupp Arena with a victory are much less likely.
Prediction: Kentucky 79, Alabama 69.
Temple at Tulsa (Tulsa, Okla.), 7 p.m., ESPNEWS, Tuesday: The Owls are perched in first place in the American standings. Tulsa knocks them from their nest and avenge an 83-79 overtime loss in the first meeting.
Prediction: Tulsa 72, Temple 70.
No. 18 Louisville at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh), 8 p.m., ESPN3, Wednesday: The Panthers are near the cut off for potential ACC tournament bids. A win against the Cardinals would be an impressive line on Pittsburgh's resume. It won’t be.
Prediction: Louisville 64, Pittsburgh 61.
Wisconsin at No. 4 Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), 9 p.m., BTN, Wednesday: The Badgers were the Big Ten’s hottest team until getting cooled off at Michigan State. The Hawkeyes spent the entire week in timeout after their 79-75 loss at Penn State. That’s enough punishment, Iowa.
Prediction: Iowa 71, Wisconsin 62.
Florida State at No. 20 Duke (Durham, N.C.), 7 p.m., ESPN, Thursday: Injuries have the Blue Devils staggering into this matchup, although guard Matt Jones is expected to return. The Seminoles are just stumbling, having lost four straight. Make that five straight.
Prediction: Duke 74, Florida State 62.
No. 23 Providence at Seton Hall (Newark, N.J.), 7 p.m., FS1, Thursday: The Pirates are literally scrapping (see: postgame handshake line with St. John’s from Sunday) to stay positioned for their first NCAA tournament at-large bid since 2006. On Thursday, they bring the fight to the Friars.
Prediction: Seton Hall 69, Providence 65.
Last week’s record: 5-5 (.500)
Season record: 77-43 (.641)