After the dust settled on another week of the the college basketball regular season, teams enter crunch time as they jockey for position within conference play.
B5Q gives you a breakdown of the top games to watch from February 6 to February 12.
**Please note that team records are reflective as of Thursday 2/6/20 in the morning**
Thursday, February 6
Although Wichita State has a better overall record, Cincinnati is currently ahead of them in the conference standings. With this game being played in Wichita, the Shockers have a huge opportunity to make a move in the American Athletic Conference race.
Both teams are currently positioned right behind Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. The Wildcats welcome the Trojans for the first game of their two-game set this year, can they hold serve and get the win at home?
Friday, February 7
This should be a good one. Maryland and Illinois are tied atop the Big Ten standings at 8-3, with each team holding a slight edge over Michigan State. Illinois is coming off a tough loss at Iowa, while Maryland is one of the hottest teams in the country. Games such as this will help determine the pecking order in the conference race.
Saturday, February 8
All Auburn continues to do is win, including a big one against Kentucky last week. LSU is currently positioned ahead of Auburn though in the SEC. Bruce Pearl sweats the small stuff, and should give his team a great chance in the Tiger bowl.
Michigan State has hit a rough patch, losing two straight. A matchup with rival Michigan, on the road no less, is not exactly the perfect bounceback opportunity. The Wolverines have been very up and down this season, but it is abundantly clear that winning on the road is very tough in the Big Ten in 2020.
Many though that Tennessee’s hiring of Rick Barnes would be a flop, but he has done a nice job of turning that program around. Kentucky has the edge in most statistical categories, but the Volunteers should give the Wildcats all they can handle on Saturday.
Two of the better teams in the Big East square off in Philadelphia for this game. Both teams have flown under the radar nationally, but are each in contention of great seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall has a slight advantage currently in conference, but Villanova has the leg up in the AP-Top 25.
Other afternoon games of note:
- No. 18 West Virginia Mountaineers at Oklahoma Sooners at 1 p.m. CST on ESPNU
- Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers at 1 p.m. CST on ESPN
- Minnesota Gophers at Penn State Nittany Lions at 3 p.m. CST on BTN
- Virginia Cavaliers at No. 5 Louisville Cardinals at 3 p.m. CST on ESPN
North Carolina has been a rough watch this season, but this is the top rivalry in college basketball. Duke will look to maintain their chances for a number one seed, while the Tar Heels are looking to play spoiler.
No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-1) at Saint Mary’s Gaels (19-5) at 9 p.m. CST on ESPN
A late night throwdown, Saint Mary’s looks to bolster their postseason resume with a signature win over Gonzaga. The Gaels demonstrated how potent they can be early in the year by taking down Wisconsin in the opener. Gonzaga’s lone loss came at the hands of Michigan, but they have looked fierce ever since.
Other primetime games of note:
- Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 1 Baylor Bears at 5 p.m. CST on ESPN2
- Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes at 5 p.m. CST on BTN
Sunday, February 9
Each team positioned at 6-4 in conference play makes this game a crucial. Marquette has the home court advantage at Fiserv Forum, but Butler has Kamar Baldwin. Can Markus Howard, and his 28 points per game get the W?
Wisconsin is back at home for a matinee tip-off with the Buckeyes. The Badgers could really use a victory as the are firmly in bubble watch. Ohio State is out for revenge after losing the earlier contest this season. Can Bucky get back in the winning column?
Other Sunday games of note:
- Wichita State Shockers at No. 25 Houston Cougars at 2 p.m. CST on ESPN
Monday, February 10
No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (19-3) at No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (19-3) at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN
The two second placed teams in the ACC face off in this bigtime showdown. Florida State has the athletes to keep pace with Duke, but they are in for a tall task at Cameron Indoor.
No. 1 Baylor Bears (20-1) at Texas Longhorns (14-8) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
The only other game to keep an eye on Monday night is Baylor and Texas. Baylor has been one of the best teams in the country, led by Jared Butler. Texas will look to be the first Big-12 team to knock the Bears off, can they do it?
Tuesday, February 11
No. 22 Penn State Nittany Lions (17-5) at Purdue Boilermakers (13-10) at 5:30 p.m. CST on BTN
I pity the fool who has to go into Mackey Arena lately. Purdue has been blowing opponents out of the gym recently at home. Penn State has had a nice resurgence of late, but road wins don’t come easy.
No. 16 Michigan State Spartans (16-7) at No. 20 Illinois Fighting Illini (16-6) at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN
Illinois is firmly in the midst of their biggest stretch of the season. The Fighting Illini have tough games against Maryland and Michigan State back-to-back. Coach Underwood has them playing extremely well, but these key clashes may define their season.
Other Tuesday to monitor:
- NC State Wolfpack at Syracuse Orange at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN2
- Arkansas Razorbacks at Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m. CST SECN
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Virginia Cavaliers at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN2
Wednesday, February 12
No. 21 Creighton Blue Jays (17-6) at No. 12 Seton Hall Pirates (17-5) at 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1
The Big East has been rugged this season. Creighton has four of their six losses on the year coming in conference. Seton Hall on the other hand lost most of their games in non-conference play. Creighton could really use a Big East win on the road.
No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (19-3) at No. 13 West Virginia Mountaineers (18-4) at 6 p.m. CST on ESPN+
Kansas has only lost three times, all of which came at the hands of teams currently in the top ten. West Virginia has a significant opportunity here to make a statement in the Big-12 by toppling the Jayhawks. Kansas won the first game between these two teams, can the Mountaineers return the favor?
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-7) at Ohio State Buckeyes (15-7) at 6 p.m. CST on BTN
The biggest game of the night for the Big Ten, Rutgers will aim to continue to build on their postseason resume. The interior post play should be good in this contest, and it is a big game for each teams tier in the conference.
Other Wednesday games to keep an eye on: