We are now in the second week of February, and Selection Sunday is only a few weeks away. This is now crunch time for several college basketball teams as they look to build up their NCAA Tournament resumes.
Conference title races are also heating up across the country, and those races will be affected by some big games taking place this week. With that in mind, here are four of the best NCAA basketball games to watch this week.
Tuesday: Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers
The biggest NCAA basketball game of the week takes place on Tuesday night as the Purdue Boilermakers host the Illinois Fighting Illini. First place in the Big Ten Conference will be on the line, and this could be a Top-10 matchup when the latest rankings come out.
Purdue won the first meeting of the season at Illinois, but that games was a double-overtime thriller. This game should be just as tight as both of these teams have what it takes to go on a deep run in March.
Kofi Cockburn has dominated teams all season long for the Illini, but Purdue has plenty of size to throw at him. Purdue is a team that is loaded with talent, and they can put up points in a hurry.
Illinois is finally starting to get healthy again, and they have what it takes to beat anyone on the road. The Boilermakers aren’t just a normal team, though, and they are going to take care of business and beat the Illini to sweep the season series.
Friday: UConn Huskies at Xavier Musketeers
The Big East Conference title race is starting to shape up a bit, but top teams continue to be upset on a regular basis. Xavier hosts UConn on Friday night for what should be a great matchup of Top 25 teams.
Both teams are holding opponents to right around 64 points per game, and this matchup could be played at a slow pace. UConn has been the better offensive team this season as they are pouring in 78 points per game.
Home court advantage plays a key role in most Big East Conference matchups, and that will come into play in this game. Xavier is going to find just enough offense to pick up a much-needed win.
Saturday: Texas Longhorns at Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears have started to show some cracks in the armor of late, but they return this weekend for a huge showdown with the Texas Longhorns. These two teams have had an impressive rivalry over the last few years, and that should continue in this one.
Texas is an elite defensive team that is holding opponents to just 55 points per game. Baylor is pouring in nearly 78 points per game, and this will be a matchup of two teams with different styles.
The Longhorns have what it takes to win this game, but they just won’t be able to keep up with the explosive Baylor offense. The Bears hold serve at home to pick up a huge win in the Big 12 Conference.
Saturday: UCLA Bruins at USC Trojans
The Pac-12 Conference has three Final Four caliber teams this season, and two of them are set to meet up on Saturday night when USC hosts UCLA. Not only is this game big for the current conference race, but this is also a massive rivalry game.
USC has a ton of size to throw at the UCLA Bruins, but the visitors have a roster that is loaded with talent. Each team will be attempting to establish their identity in hopes of picking up a significant win on Saturday night.
The Trojans are having a terrific season, but proving it against a team like UCLA is going to be a real test. Look for USC to give UCLA a great battle on Saturday night, but the Bruins are simply the more complete team.
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