With conference standings starting to sort themselves out, focus turns to national recognition and seeding for the NCAA Tournament. The teams to watch in the national games this week have all assured themselves a visit to the tourney but need wins to ensure higher seedings come March.
19 Texas vs 17 Iowa State
On Tuesday night at 7 pm EST the Longhorns will travel to face the Cyclones on ESPN2. In January, Texas beat Iowa State by 10 at home as part of a seven game win streak. With only one loss in the last 10 games, the Longhorns are looking to make up the one game deficit they have behind conference leader, Kansas. Iowa State is 5-2 since the loss to Texas but are three games behind Kansas. The Cyclones have only lost one game at home this year and look to continue their winning ways on Tuesday.
Winner: Iowa State
5 Duke vs North Carolina
Thursday at 9 pm EST on ESPN the Blue Devils will travel to the Tar Heels in a game that was postponed from last week due to weather. The two teams haven't played this year and they will face each other to end the regular season. Duke has won eight of their last nine with their only loss coming to top ranked Syracuse. North Carolina has won seven of their last eight but have lost three home games this year. Look for Duke to come into the Dean E. Smith Center and walk out with a win.
11 Louisville vs 7 Cincinnati
Saturday at 12 pm EST on CBS the Cardinal will take on the Bearcats for a game that could put the winner in the driver seat for the AAC lead. The first meeting produced a three point win for Cincinnati and so Louisville is looking to return the favor. The Cardinals have won eight of their last nine, with their only loss to the Bearcats and have played well on the road, only losing one on the year. The Bearcats have won 16 of their last 17, with the lone loss coming at home against unranked SMU. With so much on the line, both teams will come out and play well but look for revenge to be the deciding factor of this game.
1 Syracuse vs 5 Duke
Later on Saturday, at 8 pm EST on ESPN, the Orange will pay a return visit to the Blue Devils. The first meeting led to an incredible overtime victory that had the nation watching, and wanting more. Syracuse has not lost a game this year and Duke would like nothing better than to end that streak. For Duke this will be their third game in five nights but their fans and emotion should carry them to victory.
13 Michigan State vs 20 Michigan
To round out the national games, tune in on Sunday at 12 pm EST on CBS to watch the rematch of the Spartans and the Wolverines. Michigan State has struggled as of late as they have only won six of their last ten. The Spartans received their first conference loss in January when the Wolverines beat them in their home arena. Michigan has played similar ball as they have won seven of their last ten but dropped their last home game. The Spartans will come into this game either half a game ahead or behind the Wolverines and so this will be a game that will help determine the Big Ten champion. Watch for the Spartans to redeem themselves on the road and take this game at the end.
Winner: Michigan State
BYU vs 25 Gonzaga
Thursday night at 11 pm EST on ESPN2 the Bulldogs will travel to Provo to take on the Cougars. The Bulldogs have only lost one game in conference and have all but sealed up the first seed in the WCC tournament. BYU has played much better at home but have struggled at putting teams away. With a strong crowd and a chance to make a statement to the tournament committee, the Cougars should have all the emotion, but it may not be enough against a very good Gonzaga team.
Saint Mary's vs San Francisco
Saturday night at 10 pm EST the Gaels and Dons will face off on Root Sports. The teams will come into the game tied for third in the WCC and depending on the game between the Cougars and Gonzaga, second place could be on the line. Both teams will be looking to make a statement but the Dons struggled on the road the last time the teams played. Look for Saint Mary's to play physical and walk out with a win.
Winner: Saint Mary's
Portland vs BYU
On Saturday at 9 pm EST the rematch of the triple overtime game between the Pilots and the Cougars will be aired on BYUtv. The first meeting between the teams led to amazing plays on both sides of the ball and a rushing of the court by Portland fans. The Cougars will be in the friendly confines of the Marriott Center and will be coming off a big game against Gonzaga. Look for the Cougars to deny the big game plays this time around and win the game at home.
Now that we have a few of the games listed for you, it's your turn to let us know what we missed. What will you be watching?