Pregame Shootaround: A good Big Ten rematch and an intriguing Pac 12 battle lead Sunday’s slate
GAME OF THE DAY: Michigan State at Illinois, 7:30 p.m.
Two Big Ten bubble teams clash in a rematch of the Illinois win in East Lansing on Feb. 7. Despite the controversial technical foul call on Jaylon Tate, the Illini won a close and exciting game as Malcolm Hill has continued to emerge as a star. Rayvonte Rice has also returned from injury and suspension from Illinois and adds an additional offensive weapon for Illinois. But Michigan State is playing good basketball at the right time and they’ve won three straight games. Can the Spartans get Illinois back on the road?
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. No. 9 Utah traveling to Oregon should be interesting. The Utes have won five straight and are talented and fun to watch. So are the leading scorers in the Pac 12, the Ducks. Oregon is at home and could use a win for NCAA Tournament hopes.
2. Offense hasn’t been easy for Virginia the last four games but the No. 2 Cavaliers are still favored against Florida State. The ‘Hoos have averaged 50.8 points per game in the last four games, but they beat the Seminoles three times last season.
3. Even though Michigan is depleted, they’ll compete hard in a rivalry game with No. 24 Ohio State. But the Buckeyes won 71-52 on Jan. 13 with Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. in the lineup for the Wolverines, so Ohio State will be the heavy favorite.
4. The American presents an interesting Sunday matchup as Temple battles Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes are trying to keep pace with SMU for the conference lead while the Owls are in sole possession of third and would love to gain on Tulsa with a road win.
5. A somewhat important game for Iowa today as the Hawkeyes travel to Nebraska. The Huskers are a .500 team, but they’re always tough at Pinnacle Bank Arena and Iowa has been erratic of late. Fran McCaffery’s team could really use a win to strengthen their postseason cause.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: There will be two games on NBCSN and streaming on Live Extra on Sunday:
- La Salle at Saint Louis, 2:30 p.m.
- William & Mary at Hofstra, 4:30 p.m.
OTHER TOP 25 GAMES
- Evansville at No. 13 Wichita State, 4:00 p.m.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
- Memphis at UCF, 2:00 p.m.
- Tulane at Connecticut, 4:00 p.m.
- Indiana at Rutgers, 5:15 p.m.
- Washington at Washington State, 8:30 p.m.
- USC at Arizona State, 8:30 p.m.