Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Friday, January 20, 2012
Katz: Games to track this weekend

By Andy Katz

For full coverage of the Missouri-Baylor matchup, check out Weekend Watch.

Saturday
Alabama at No. 2 Kentucky (noon ET): The Tide couldn’t have picked a worse time to head to Rupp Arena. Alabama looked awful in a home loss to Vanderbilt. The Tide didn’t rebound well and couldn’t defend the 3-point shot. That could lead to misery at Kentucky if Alabama doesn’t shore up its usually solid defense.

Xavier at Dayton (ESPN2, 1 p.m. ET): This is one of the most underrated in-conference rivalries. The Flyers are tied with the Musketeers atop the A-10 with one loss each. Dayton has proved that it can hang with anyone in the league, even in a first-year rebuilding situation under Archie Miller. A Dayton win would do wonders for a possible title.

No. 19 Michigan at Arkansas (2 p.m. ET): This was my upset pick of the week, even before Michigan beat Michigan State. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. certainly can run with the Hogs. But winning at Bud Walton Arena is now a tough chore for any team. Mike Anderson should have the place rocking.

Cincinnati at West Virginia (ESPNU, 3 p.m. ET): UC coach Mick Cronin said the worst thing in coaching is having to play a Bob Huggins-coached team after a loss. He was praying for a win by West Virginia against Marshall. The Mountaineers delivered. The Bearcats are in the midst of a brutal four-game trek, but are off to a great start with a win at Connecticut. The Bearcats will have to defend Kevin Jones exceptionally well, and that means Yancy Gates has to work the weakside boards. The Bearcats host Syracuse on Monday. Regardless of what happens here, it shouldn’t affect the Bearcats’ chances of upsetting SU.

Florida State at No. 4 Duke (ESPN, 4 p.m. ET): Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said he would know the team’s ceiling a bit better after this week, when the Seminoles played Maryland and went to Duke. Well, Florida State beat Maryland and heads to Duke with exceptional confidence. But this is Cameron, after all. If the Seminoles can push Duke, then they can claim they’re here to stay for the rest of the ACC race.

No. 6 Ohio State at Nebraska (8 p.m. ET): Can the Huskers knock off Ohio State as well as Indiana? Probably not. This isn’t the same team. But Ohio State might get an ugly game out of the trip to Lincoln. Nebraska earned plenty of respect in the Big Ten by nearly taking out Wisconsin and then getting Indiana at home.

No. 7 Kansas at Texas (4 p.m. ET): Kansas is playing at such a high level that the Jayhawks would have to come down a few notches if they’re going to lose at erratic Texas. The Longhorns don’t have the strength to deal with Thomas Robinson. I’d be surprised if Kansas loses this game.

No. 1 Syracuse at Notre Dame (ESPN, 6 p.m. ET): The Irish can make shots, but they don’t have the overall depth to deal with Syracuse. If the Orange are going to lose on the road, then it probably comes at Cincinnati on Monday or sometime in February. This should be an intriguing trip for the undefeated Orange.

UCLA at Oregon (4 p.m. ET): Oregon has to stay in line with Cal after the Ducks squeaked out a home win against USC and Cal beat Washington in Seattle. The Ducks are in the midst of a three-game homestand. They have to protect their home court if they want to stay in line with the Bears.

No. 15 Mississippi State at Vanderbilt (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET): Vanderbilt turned the ball over 17 times but outrebounded and outran Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It would be quite a statement weekend if the Commodores followed that up with a win against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have been a disappointing road team so far in the SEC, with losses at Arkansas and Ole Miss. And Vandy is probably the one team in the SEC that could catch Kentucky.

New Mexico at No. 20 UNLV (10 p.m. ET): The Lobos took a step back with a home loss to San Diego State. If they are going to stay in step with the Aztecs, they have to steal a road win. UNLV has lost at SDSU but has been a tremendous home team this season. The Lobos have to keep Mike Moser off the glass to have a chance.

Sunday
Wisconsin at No. 25 Illinois (2 p.m. ET): The Badgers crushed Northwestern and appear to have righted themselves. Illinois struggled at Penn State after beating Ohio State. Predicting which one of these teams is going to show up Sunday is difficult. Neither has been consistent, but both have potential to be winners for a game or two in March.