Yesterday was February 12, and Selection Sunday is March 12. So as of yesterday, we are just one month away from Selection Sunday, and it feels like there is still SO MUCH more basketball yet to play!
A lot of teams will be playing desperation basketball over the next month to try and stake their claim to a spot in the Big Dance, while other teams, those that seem to have their spots locked up, will try their hardest not to screw it up (we’re looking at you Northwestern!!!).
I don’t claim to be right all the time, but for this week’s Top-25, I’m going to try to see how right I can actually be. In order to do that, I have attempted to predict the winners AND final scores for each game to be played by my Top-25 this week. The results will probably show how wrong I can actually be, but I’m giving it a shot anyway, so here we go!
- Saint Mary’s (Prev: 18)
This Week: Thu 2/16 vs Loyola Marymount (11:00 pm); Sat 2/18 @ BYU (10:00 pm, ESPN2)
The Gaels had a huge opportunity to get a signature win on Saturday when they hosted Gonzaga, but they could not get the job done. They should cruise past Loyola Marymount on Thursday, then they have a tricky trip when they travel to Utah to take on BYU. They should win, but it’s not a sure thing.
Predictions: SMC 79 LMU 55; SMC 69 BYU 65
- Notre Dame (Prev: NR)
This Week: Tue 2/14 @ Boston College (7:00 pm, ESPNU); Sat 2/18 @ NC State (12:00 pm, ESPN)
The Irish got back on track this past week with home wins over Wake Forest and Florida State. This week they’ll hit the road with trips to Boston and Raleigh, and it won’t be easy, but I think they’ll win two close games.
Predictions: ND 86 BC 77; ND 71 NCST 68
- Northwestern (Prev: 25)
This Week: Wed 2/15 vs Maryland (7:00 pm, BTN); Sat 2/18 vs Rutgers (6:00 pm, ESPNU)
We can just about pencil Northwestern in for their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history. A huge road upset of Wisconsin last night could be the stamp on the resume that they needed. They have another big game Wednesday when they host Maryland. A win over another top team in the conference could be huge. Rutgers at home Saturday should be no problem.
Predictions: NW 62 MARY 60; NW 84 RUTG 61
- South Carolina (Prev: 21)
This Week: Wed 2/15 vs Arkansas (6:30 pm, SECN); Sat 2/18 @ Vanderbilt (8:30 pm, SECN)
The Gamecocks were taken to four overtimes last week by Alabama, with the Crimson Tide eventually coming out on top. It’s never good to lose, but if the ball bounces their way one other time, they might have won that game. This week they’ll host Arkansas and then face Vanderbilt on the road. I’ll predict that they win one and lose one this week.
Predictions: SCAR 63 ARK 57; VAND 74 SCAR 66
- Wisconsin (Prev: 15)
This Week: Thu 2/16 @ Michigan (7:00 pm, ESPN); Sun 2/19 vs Maryland (1:00 pm, CBS)
Wisconsin has been surviving as of late, but their luck finally ran out yesterday when they were upset at home by Northwestern. A trip to Michigan on Thursday will be tough, as the Wolverines are red-hot. That is followed by a big home game against Maryland, who is hot on their tails in the race for the Big Ten.
Predictions: MICH 70 WISC 62; WISC 58 MARY 55
- Butler (Prev: 17)
This Week: Wed 2/15 vs St. John’s (8:30 pm, FS1); Sun 2/19 vs DePaul (1:30 pm, FS1)
It’s been a rough couple weeks for Butler, as they’ve lost three of their last four, including two at home. They were a 4-seed in the Selection Committee’s Top-16 reveal, so they are safe, but any loss they suffer this week would be a very bad loss. I don’t see it happening.
Predictions: BUT 89 SJU 65; BUT 76 DEP 56
- Creighton (Prev: 23)
This Week: Wed 2/15 @ Seton Hall (8:00 pm, CBSSN); Sun 2/19 vs Georgetown (3:30 pm, FS1)
The Bluejays have continued to play well without star point guard Maurice Watson, but the Big East is tough, and they face a couple teams this week fighting to prove that they deserve a bid to the Tournament. The game at Seton Hall on Wednesday is the toughest, as the Pirates are looking to avenge their 14-point loss to Creighton earlier in the year.
Predictions: SHU 80 CRE 70; CRE 77 GU 61
- Duke (Prev: 22)
This Week: Wed 2/15 @ Virginia (9:00 pm, ESPN2); Sat 2/18 vs Wake Forest (1:00 pm, ESPN3)
I admit that I may have Duke ranked a little low still, but I need to see more from this team. The UNC win was great, but they were nearly upset by Clemson following that, so who knows if this team has figured it out or not. A road game against a Virginia team coming off a loss to VT will be extremely difficult.
Predictions: UVA 67 DUKE 62; DUKE 79 WAKE 74
- Florida (Prev: 19)
This Week: Tue 2/14 @ Auburn (7:00 pm, SECN); Sat 2/18 @ Mississippi State (2:00 pm, ESPN)
The Gators have won six in a row, and they should make it through this week easily, as they’ve played extremely well on the road in SEC play. The following week will be massive for them though, when they host South Carolina and travel to Rupp Arena to take on Kentucky.
Predictions: UF 86 AUB 75; UF 101 MSU 81
- Virginia (Prev: 16)
This Week: Wed 2/15 vs Duke (9:00 pm, ESPN2); Sat 2/18 @ North Carolina (8:15 pm, ESPN)
Virginia continues to be a little perplexing. They easily took care of Louisville on Monday, but followed that up with a double overtime loss to rival Virginia Tech yesterday. They’ll take on Duke and UNC this week, and I think they’ll go 1-1.
Predictions: *See Duke entry*; UNC 72 UVA 62
- SMU (Prev: 20)
This Week: Wed 2/15 vs Tulane (9:00 pm, ESPN3); Sat 2/18 @ Houston (6:00 pm, ESPN2)
The Mustangs have very quietly been on a crazy hot streak. They’ve won 18 of their last 19, and avenged the only loss in that stretch last night with a win over Cincinnati. The American is weak this year, but those two teams are legit. They are now tied with the Bearcats at the top, so each game from here on out is crucial.
Predictions: SMU 83 TUL 55; SMU 70 HOU 69
- Cincinnati (Prev: 12)
This Week: Wed 2/15 @ South Florida (7:00 pm, ESPNU); Sat 2/18 vs Tulsa (12:00 pm, ESPNU)
Cincy had a 15-game winning streak snapped yesterday by conference foe SMU, but the Bearcats are still one of the top teams in the country. They’ll get a couple easier games to recover before a tough finish to their regular season over the final two weeks.
Predictions: CIN 90 USF 61; CIN 68 TUL 54
- Purdue (Prev: 13)
This Week: Tue 2/14 vs Rutgers (7:00 pm, BTN); Sat 2/18 vs Michigan State (4:00 pm, ESPN)
The Boilermakers are just a game back of Wisconsin in the Big Ten, and they are probably playing the best of any team in the conference right now (right up there with Michigan anyway). They need to take care of business at home before closing with three of their last four games on the road.
Predictions: PUR 87 RUTG 52; PUR 75 MSU 70
- West Virginia (Prev: 14)
This Week: Mon 2/13 @ Kansas (9:00 pm, ESPN); Sat 2/18 vs Texas Tech (2:00 pm, ESPN2)
West Virginia has won five of their last six, and that run started with a 16-point domination of #1 Kansas in Morgantown. Tonight, the Jayhawks look for revenge. I think West Virginia can keep it close, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to close the deal.
Predictions: KU 78 WVU 73; WVU 82 TTU 60
- Florida State (Prev: 5)
This Week: Sat 2/18 @ Pittsburgh (4:00 pm, ESPN2)
For as good as Florida State has been, they have a tendency to really struggle on the road. That was very evident in their loss at Notre Dame on Saturday night. It’s amazing that they have road wins over Virginia and Miami, but those are their only wins in true road games this season. That makes a Saturday trip to Pitt a little tricky.
Predictions: FSU 69 PITT 63
- Kentucky (Prev: 11)
This Week: Tue 2/14 vs Tennessee (7:00 pm, ESPN); Sat 2/18 @ Georgia (6:00 pm, ESPN)
I’m still trying to get a feel for Kentucky, and I think they’ll go 1-1 this week as they continue to try and figure themselves out. Revenge will be a factor in the game against Tennessee, but Georgia will have that on their minds as well following an OT loss at Rupp Arena a few weeks ago.
Predictions: UK 85 TENN 70; UGA 78 UK 76
- Arizona (Prev: 9)
This Week: Thu 2/16 @ Washington State (9:00 pm, FS1); Sat 2/18 @ Washington (8:00 pm, ESPN2)
Arizona is playing very well right now, but I couldn’t bring myself to put them ahead of Oregon after how badly the Ducks beat them up a couple weeks ago. The Washington trip is not very difficult for teams this year, especially one as good as Arizona.
Predictions: ARZ 75 WSU 64; ARZ 81 UW 66
- North Carolina (Prev: 6)
This Week: Wed 2/15 @ NC State (8:00 pm, ESPN3); Sat 2/18 vs Virginia (8:15 pm, ESPN)
North Carolina is obviously going to be disappointed that they couldn’t beat Duke, but they’ll get them at their place to finish off the regular season. The Tar Heels are still one of the best teams in the ACC and the country, and they have a huge home game against Virginia on Saturday. I think they’ll win that game.
Predictions: UNC 90 NCST 82; *See Virginia entry*
- Oregon (Prev: 7)
This Week: Thu 2/16 vs Utah (9:00 pm, ESPN); Sat 2/18 vs Colorado (3:00 pm, FOX)
It was quite a collapse for Oregon on Thursday night in the loss to UCLA. They were dominating the game, and then in the snap of the fingers, Lonzo Ball happened and the Bruins won the game. They’ll host two teams that could steal a game from them this week, but I think they’ll handle their business.
Predictions: ORE 79 UTAH 73; ORE 80 COLO 65
- UCLA (Prev: 10)
This Week: Sat 2/18 vs USC (10:00 pm, P12N)
Collapse aside, it was a huge win for UCLA on Thursday. I don’t feel that comfortable having them this high in the rankings, but I couldn’t keep them below Oregon. I’d say they are neck-and-neck right now. They’ll get the week off before hosting crosstown rival USC on Saturday night. The Trojans upset UCLA a couple weeks ago, so the Bruins will be out for revenge.
Predictions: UCLA 103 USC 80
- Louisville (Prev: 4)
This Week: Mon 2/13 @ Syracuse (7:00 pm, ESPN); Sat 2/18 vs Virginia Tech (1:00 pm, ESPN3)
Rick Pitino suspended two of his key players for the Virginia game, and they were missed for sure. This team is still a favorite to get a least a share of the ACC title. Syracuse is extremely tough at home, so that game tonight will be a big one for the Cardinals.
Predictions: LOU 67 SYR 65; LOU 73 VT 61
- Baylor (Prev: 8)
This Week: Mon 2/13 @ Texas Tech (7:00 pm, ESPNU); Sat 2/18 vs Kansas (1:00, CBS)
Two big wins for the Bears last week to get back to their winning ways, which sounds weird considering they are 22-3 on the season. I think a lot of people don’t want to admit it, but this is one of the best teams in the nation, and they are a legit title contender. They’ll get a chance for revenge on Kansas Saturday, and I think they get the job done this time.
Predictions: BAY 62 TTU 58; BAY 72 KU 67
- Kansas (Prev: 3)
This Week: Mon 2/13 vs West Virginia (9:00 pm, ESPN); Sat 2/18 @ Baylor (1:00, CBS)
The Jayhawks were tested twice on the road this past week, but they were able to squeak out wins anyway, proving their mettle. They should beat West Virginia at home tonight, but I see it being close, and then they’ll have their hands full in Waco on Saturday.
Predictions: *See West Virginia and Baylor entries*
- Villanova (Prev: 2)
This Week: Mon 2/13 @ DePaul (9:00 pm, CBSSN); Sat 2/18 @ Seton Hall (12:30 pm, FOX)
Coming into the season I felt that Villanova had the potential to be better than the team last year that won the National Championship. So far, they are proving me right. They’ll hit the road for two more games this week, one should be easy, they other could give them issues. Ultimately, I think they’ll add two more wins to the resume.
Predictions: NOVA 80 DEP 62; NOVA 71 SHU 67
- Gonzaga (Prev: 1)
This Week: Thu 2/16 vs San Francisco (9:00 pm); Sat 2/18 vs Pacific (4:00 pm)
Simply put, the Zags continue their winning ways. Some expected Saint Mary’s to give them problems this time around. Not the case. This team is going to enter the postseason undefeated, and they have a great shot to make a run to the Final Four.
Predictions: GONZ 89 SF 81; GONZ 88 PAC 73