Tuesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big Ten battle, Kentucky in the Bayou
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 7 Michigan State at No. 15 Iowa, 7:00 p.m.
Two weeks ago, Iowa was the trendy pick to win the Big Ten. Then the Hawkeyes lost to Michigan and ceded that title to the Wolverines. In fact, while Iowa may be one of the most talented teams in the country, they are still without a defining win this season. Xavier, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Minnesota. These are all good wins. They aren’t elite wins. Beating Michigan State, even if they are injury-ravaged, would be.
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 11 Kentucky at LSU, 9:00 p.m.
This should have been one of the best games of the season in the SEC, but LSU simply has not been as good as we all expected this season. They have an NBA-caliber front line and a good enough back court, but the pieces just don’t quite fit right now. They do, however, matchup well with Kentucky. Johnny O’Bryant is big enough to get physical with Willie Cauley-Stein and the Tigers have enough size that they won’t need to sell out defensively to matchup with Julius Randle.
MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: New Mexico at Utah State, 11:05 p.m.
Utah State is one of the toughest places in the country to place, taking San Diego State to overtime on Saturday night. New Mexico may be forced to play without Alex Kirk, and even if he does play, he may not be at 100%. The good news for the Lobos? Hugh Greenwood seems to finally be hitting his stride this season.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO WATCH:
1) Notre Dame hasn’t been the same team since Jerian Grant saw his season come to an end in December. They’re sitting at 2-5 in the ACC, and they host one of the hottest teams in the country in Virginia. The ‘Hoos have won six of their last seven since getting dropped by 35 points at Tennessee.
2) Interesting matchup in Omaha as No. 20 Creighton will do battle with St. John’s. The Johnnies have the kind of size and athleticism at the forward spot to give Doug McDermott trouble.
3) No. 4 Wichita State will have their undefeated record on the line tonight as they host Loyola (IL).
4) Missouri will head to Arkansas in a key game for a pair of teams that looks like they could end up sitting on the bubble come Selection Sunday.
5) Baylor has gotten off to a horrid, 1-5 start in Big 12 play. They’ll have a chance to turn that around tonight as they host West Virginia. The Bears will have plenty of chances to put together enough wins to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. They have the talent, too. Can West Virginia be the cure to their woes?