Another mediocre performance last week, when I went 3-2 in my weekend picks.
My Villanova-over-Syracuse call looked good until Syracuse put together a 22-0 run that changed everything. And then, Kentucky beat Louisville. I’m still surprised by that one.
No blemishes this weekend, though. Undefeated. I hope.
Last week: 3-2
No. 5 Michigan State at Indiana, 2 p.m. ET, CBS: The young Hoosiers rumbled with Illinois earlier this week and played well throughout the tough loss. Yogi Ferrell is clearly one of the best players in the league. And freshman Noah Vonleh is one of the most complete players in the country. But the Hoosiers committed 23 turnovers in that game. They’re currently committing turnovers on 22.1 percent of their possessions, 325th in the country, per Ken Pomeroy. And that clip will prove costly against an experienced Michigan State team that might be the best squad in the Big Ten. But the Spartans won’t crush the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall. It will be tight.
Prediction: Michigan State 77, Indiana 75
No. 6 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU: Travis Ford hasn’t had the best week. First, he learned that center Michael Cobbins would miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury. Then backup point guard Stevie Clark was arrested for marijuana possession. All of this just days before Oklahoma State’s Big 12 opener. Kansas State has already defeated Gonzaga. But Marcus Foster leads an offense that averages a mediocre 67.4 points a game. Both teams are top-20 in adjusted defensive efficiency. And Oklahoma State definitely takes a hit without Cobbins and potentially without Clark. But do the Wildcats have the offense to register an upset?
Prediction: Kansas State 69, Oklahoma State 67
Cincinnati at No. 18 Memphis, noon ET, ESPN2: Louisville is a different team without Chane Behanan. That development suggests that Memphis might be the top squad in the new AAC. But the Tigers don’t have an easy path. Louisville is still a dangerous team with championship potential. Connecticut has one of the best backcourts in the country, although the Huskies opened the conference season with a loss to Houston. And Cincy is always tough. Cincy is definitely not a scoring machine, but the Bearcats are sixth in defensive turnover rate and the Tigers are 111th in offensive turnover rate, per Ken Pomeroy. Cincy is also a tough rebounding team. Memphis will lose if it’s not disciplined.
Prediction: Memphis 74, Cincinnati 69
No. 22 Iowa at No. 4 Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET, BTN: This could be the year that Iowa backs the hype and reaches the NCAA tournament. Maybe the Hawkeyes will make a serious run at the Big Ten title, too. Fran McCaffery’s squad is the deepest team that Iowa has had in years. But the only way to contend for the Big Ten crown is to win critical road games. And Iowa’s first conference road trip might be its toughest road trip of the season. Wisconsin is a beast. It’s that simple. The Badgers defend well (they held Northwestern to 14 first-half points on Thursday) and they’re also athletic and versatile. And remember those perennial concerns about Wisconsin’s offense? The Badgers are 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Ken Pomeroy.
Prediction: Wisconsin 76, Iowa 72
No. 10 Oregon at No. 20 Colorado, 5 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1: The Ducks are undefeated and Dana Altman’s program boasts the top scoring offense in the country (89.2 ppg). And transfers Joseph Young (19.3 ppg) and Mike Moser (13.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg) have been productive for the program. But Oregon has won three overtime games over unranked teams in recent weeks. On Thursday, the Ducks escaped Utah in OT on a last-second dunk. What’s the issue? They’re 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (74.8 ppg allowed). Saturday’s matchup against Colorado will be the team’s first game against an opponent that is currently ranked in the Top 25. The Buffaloes have already been in battles against Baylor, Harvard, Oklahoma State and Kansas. Colorado needs solid production from Wesley Gordon, Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott to secure a victory. Who will win this significant conference matchup this weekend?
Prediction: Colorado 80, Oregon 79