Duke-North Carolina headlines big weekend in college hoops

Image Courtesy: North Carolina Athletics

February 4
8.Kansas at. 13.Iowa State
Jalen Wilson (2o points and 8 rebounds) led the Kansas Jayhawks to a second consecutive win on Tuesday against Kansas State to even the season series with the Wildcats. Guard Gradey Dick did not impact the game as well as he wanted to but the Jayhawks still took care of business. Next for the Jayhawks is a trip to Ames to face a struggling Iowa State team, losers two straight since beating Kansas State over a week ago. Cyclone guards Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalsheur will have to play huge to get a home upset of the Jayhawks. Projected Score: Kansas 77, Iowa State 72

25.Auburn at. 2.Tennessee
Auburn has been good but not great in the SEC this season. Replacing Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler has not been easy with John Broome (8.5 rebounds per game) and Jaylin Williams (5.2 rebounds per game). But guard Wendell Green has been the veteran leader that Auburn fans have come to expect. Tennessee has been tremendous this season, led by guards Zakai Ziegler and Santiago Vescovi who have been a top ten quality team all season, despite a loss to Florida on Wednesday night in Gainesville. Projected Score: Tennessee 84, Auburn 76

10.Texas at. 7.Kansas State
Texas and Kansas State are two teams near or at the top of the loaded Big 12. Texas comes off of a win at home against Baylor while Kansas State fell in their rematch to Kansas in Lawrence. Kansas State needs to protect home court to stay in the race for the Big 12 regular season championship and a one seed in Kansas City at the Big 12 Tournament. Wildcat forward Keyontae Johnson and guard Markquis Nowellwill make sure that happens while Texas’ dynamic guards Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice will look for a second consecutive win against a top eleven team in the country. Projected Score: Kansas State 82, Texas 78

1.Purdue at. 21.Indiana
Purdue has no doubt been the best team in the country. Big man Zach Edey has been the best player in the country while freshman guards Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith have paced the team well as freshman guards. Indiana big man Trayce Jackson-Davis has been almost as good as Edey while guard Jalen Hood-Schifino will look to add on to Jackson-Davis’ effort. The Boilermakers have only a single loss on the season while the Hoosier’s were on a five-game winning streak before a loss on Tuesday in College Park against Maryland. Indiana has to be able to make shots consistently to beat Purdue, something that will be hard to do even at home in the friendly confines of Assembly Hall. Projected Score: Purdue 75, Indiana 70

North Carolina at. Duke
6:30 PM ET, ESPN
North Carolina has won 10 out of their last 13 games but did not give the ball enough to star big man Armando Bacot in a tough one-point loss to Pittsburgh in Chapel Hill. Now, the Tar Heels will need Bacot and guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis to play consistently in Durham for a second consecutive year against a Duke team that has won three of its last four games. Duke freshman forward Kyle Filipowski has been the Blue Devils best player this season while they will need point guard Jeremy Roach (21 points) to play like he did in their recent win against Wake Forest. Duke freshman big man Dereck Lively has to be terrific defensively against Armando Bacot, who has not been as good this season as many people thought while freshman forward Dariq Whitehead continues to go through the injury bug. Projected Score: North Carolina 79, Duke 78

12.Gonzaga at. 18.Saint Mary’s
10:30 PM ET, ESPN
Throughout the years, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s have clearly been the two best teams in the West Coast Conference. Just 11 months ago, Saint Mary’s took down the number one ranked Bulldogs on a historic day in college basketball where six top ten teams lost and will look to do so again at home in Moraga. Guard Aidan Mahaney (15 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game) and center Mitchell Saxen (13 points and 8 rebounds per game) have been crucial in Saint Mary’s 8-0 start in conference play. The Gaels will again have to deal with talented veteran forward Drew Timme (21.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game), a much improved wing Julian Strawther (14.7 points and 7 rebounds per game), and point guard Rasir Bolton (10.5 points and 2.6 assists per game). This is a crucial game for both squads’ NCAA Tournament resumé and it will be a game that goes down to the wire. But, it is won by the Zags on the road. Projected Score: Gonzaga 87, Saint Mary’s 82

By Carter Huff

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