This week being finals week, we have been watching a truncated schedule around college basketball. Luckily, however, the weekend will provide some good games to enjoy as you finish (or start) your holiday shopping. Saturday has the lion-share of the good games, so we will focus there:
We kick things off this weekend with Oklahoma State vs. #9 Pittsburgh at noon. Oklahoma State is clearly rebuilding this year, but still has a lot of talent. However if Pitt plays to its potential, this should be a double-digit win. Let’s see if they can put Ok State away in the closing minutes as they could not do against Washington.
At 2, we head to the Commonwealth for UAB vs. Kentucky. Some in the blogosphere (not I) are very high on UAB this year, but really they are simply the 3rd-best team in a bad Conference USA. If Kentucky wants to be an NCAA Tournament team they should be able to win comfortably.
At 3, there is a matchup of potential bubble teams in Arkansas vs. Oklahoma. While this game would be much better on a football field, it should have ramifications for March. Expect Arkansas to prevail. At 3:30, Louisville meets Purdue. Both teams are in desperate need of a win, as they have hit recent skids. Louisville lost the game to Dayton, and might have lost its Final Four chances when Derrick Caracter was suspended indefinitely. Purdue blew a 15-point 2nd half lead to Missouri, showing its inexperience. Louisville should win, but as both teams are reeling, Purdue could pull off the “upset”.
The last interesting game of Saturday is the nightcap, Western Kentucky vs. Tennessee at 10:30 on ESPNU. Tennessee has looked vulnerable without quintessential glue guy Dane Bradshaw, while Senior Courtney Lee has led Sun Belt-favorite WKU to wins over Michigan and Nebraska. Lee will keep this game very close, but Tennessee should pull away down the stretch. This game will probably be played in the 80’s or 90’s, and will certainly be exciting either way.