In case you’ve forgotten, college basketball is in full swing!
Between the college football playoffs, a surprisingly intriguing first half of the NBA season, & the NFL playoffs all coming to an end in the last month, it was honestly pretty easy to forget the college basketball season is already nearly halfway over.
Of course, we never actually “forgot,” thanks to the likes of Zion Williamson practically owning real estate in every night’s opening highlight package of SportsCenter. But, overall, it has been overshadowed.
With football now completely out of the way and the NBA season nearing its All-Star break, college hoops can take center stage as we inch closer to that magical time of year: March Madness.
It’s honestly perfect timing for the kids of the hardwood to have the spotlight, as there are quite a few big matchups that will go along way for seeding come Selection Sunday.
Here’s a few of those matchups coming up: (ranking may change prior to games)
Saturday, Feb. 9th – #2 Duke vs. # 3 Virginia
Monday, Feb. 11th – #3 Virginia vs. #8 North Carolina
Saturday, Feb. 16th – #1 Tennessee vs. #5 Kentucky
As you may have noticed by the games I chose to include, most of the “power” and excitement mostly revolves around the ACC (per usual) and the SEC. Starting to sound like a repeat of the football season, right?
There are no doubts about some great teams that will be very dangerous once the big dance begins, like the always stout Gonzaga Bulldogs, Championship Runner-up Michigan Wolverines & the champions Villanova Wildcats.
No matter how the games and selections play out, it looks like we’re in for another great season of bracket-busting games and exciting matchups.
From the Big East to the PAC-12, the amount of talent spread across the college hoops landscape should make for one of the most challenging tournament to predict there’s been a long time.
Now with that being said, I fully expect Duke to be the lone team left standing when it’s all said and done. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t think they will have to work extremely hard for it.
Duke has that rare mix of talent, hype, & down right star power that is hard to find in one team at this level. They’re practically the Warriors of college basketball with the amount of talent they’ve stockpiled on their team.
What makes the Blue Devils so tough also is that they can go into any opponents gym in the country, and with just a few fast breaks & scoring runs, turn the home team’s crowd against them!
It’s almost a guarantee that Williamson, RJ Barrett, Tre Jones, & Cam Reddish will be lottery picks in this year’s NBA Draft, if they all choose to go one and done like we think they will.
I have faith in my Kentucky Wildcats to make it deep into the tournament, but as talented as they are I don’t see them being able to hold up against the star power of the freshmen-led Blue Devils.
We’ve already saw how they stack up against Duke at the beginning of the season, and incase anyone didn’t watch, it wasn’t even a close game. Duke handled the Wildcats easily, winning 118-84.
Now granted the Wildcats have rebounded, and even after a few close loses, Coach Cal has them right back up into the top five where they belong. I’m excited to see how far they can go, after not being sold on them early on in the year.
In my perfect scenario, I would like to see Kentucky have a chance at redemption in the National Championship game, but it’s still just a little too early to think about that. Especially conference foe Tennessee holding down the #1 ranking right now.
But back to my point, which is it’s finally time for the kids on campus to shine in the spotlight. With only a few weeks away from conference tournaments & Selection Sunday, this is arguably the best time of the year.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski has his team on fire and poised to help him join the Six Ring Club, alongside recent Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick.
With just about two months left in the season, it remains to be seen who will be the ones to step up and snatch the title away from the season long favorite similar to how the Clemson Tigers did to the Alabama Crimson Tide on the gridiron.