There’s a lot of exciting and intense basketball action that is set to tip off this weekend. A plethora of ranked talent will be looking forward to the weekly challenges that lie ahead, and this week offers some particularly special competition.
The realms of the loaded SEC and esteemed Big 12 will cross paths this weekend, as the college basketball universe prepares to enter the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. Starting on Saturday, the Jayhawks and Mountaineers of the world will do the 40-minute battle against the Wildcats and Volunteers, with hopes of providing college ball fans everywhere all the exhilarating fun that each College Gameday provides, but with a slight twist.
This interconference challenge is the second of its kind this year since the Big Ten-ACC Challenge featured esteemed and established programs like Duke and Virginia Tech, whose schedules included that of fellow ACC adversaries but for the sake of the challenge, included the likes of Indiana and Penn State. Now, the challenge comes at a time where teams are still in the midst of finding out their individual strengths and weaknesses are as we approach the last full month of the regular season.
While that challenge occurs, there will be plenty of other collegiate hoops going on in other conferences across the country this weekend, and fans everywhere should be anticipating the weekend full of action. With that being said, here are the top 5 games to watch for the upcoming weekend.
Top 5 Games To Watch This Weekend
5. No. 5 Michigan vs. Indiana
Tip-off Time: Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, 6:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Bloomington Assembly Hall
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
TV Channel: FS1
What To Watch For: The Michigan Wolverines, after a shocking loss to unranked Wisconsin last Saturday, obviously need to bounce back and string together some wins to ascertain a spot in the top 3 again. For Beilein’s squad, It is certainly possible to start the comeback against Indiana, but with it being in another hostile environment like the rowdy Bloomington Assembly Hall, there is no guarantee. Expect Romeo Langford, a consensus top-5 pick in the NBA Draft come June, to show up and show out.
4. No. 3 Virginia vs. Notre Dame
Tip-off Time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Joyce Center
Location: South Bend, Indiana
TV Channel: CBS
What to Watch For: The once-undefeated Hoos have now been proven as human. Facing their first loss, and their vice on the entire ACC at that, to No. 2 Duke has Virginia heading into the Joyce Center with a win on their minds. Still, they sit in the top 3, but it will be interesting to see how Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers respond to the adversity and get back in the debate of who is the best team in College Basketball.
3. Georgia Tech vs. No. 2 Duke
Tip-off Time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 12:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium
Location: Durham, North Carolina
TV Channel: ESPN 3
What to Watch For: Some great news for Duke fans: The entire Blue Devils starting 5 may be at full strength again when the tip-off between the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils occur. Sorely missing Tre Jones was Coach K’s team stocked with prospective NBA talent, and that presence could be felt if he is to suit up this upcoming Saturday. A guard who could widely be considered as the most impactful player on the floor for the Blue Devils could make his return alongside the best two players in the nation in Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, so this matchup is worth tuning in for whenever those two are mentioned.
2. West Virginia vs. Tennessee
Tip-off Time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 4:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Thompson – Boling Arena
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
TV Channel: ESPN
What to Watch For: This is one of the more significant matchups of Big 12-SEC Weekend, and for good reason. West Virginia knocked off No. 9 Kansas at home, and want to be legitimized in the AP Top 25 this week, a feat they have not accomplished so far this season. They’ll have the profound opportunity to do just that, but in one of the hardest places to play in the country, Admiral Schofield and the newly-appointed No. 1 team in the nation Tennessee Volunteers will try and kill any chances of that even happening so they continue to be top dogs in college basketball.
1. No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 9 Kentucky
Tip-off Time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 6:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Rupp Arena
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
TV Channel: ESPN
What to Watch For: College Basketball fans are treated to a Big 12-SEC finale of epic proportions as No. 9 Kentucky hosts No. 8 Kansas in a primetime barn-burner on College Gameday. The much improved Kentucky, coming off a commanding win against Mississippi State in which leading scorers PJ Washington and Tyler Herro put on a show for the Big Blue Faithful, will go against a battered, but impressionably dominant Kansas squad that can still score the basketball at volume.
While some Jayhawks have gone down, like multifaceted big Udoka Azubuike, others have stepped up in big ways. Junior power forward Dedric Lawson is a behemoth on the block and senior guard Lagerald Vick is a walking bucket. Bill Self vs. John Calipari. What more could you ask for?
As the season is just about past its halftime-mark, the happenings in college hoops just get that much more salient, so be sure to tune in Friday and Saturday to see what will happen to all of these powerhouse programs.