College Basketball: 8 Must-Watch Games This Week

Kansas headlines this week's marquee matchups as they do battle with West Virginia and Kentucky.

With the college basketball season in full swing and the NCAA Tournament just two months away, there is no time like now to take in some of the most exciting matchups college basketball has to offer.

Each week we will bring you some of the most intriguing games to watch over the next week. Here are eight of the can't-miss matchups of this week.


Game of the Day

(2) Kansas Jayhawks at (18) West Virginia Mountaineers, 7 PM ET, ESPN

Kansas takes their 18-game winning streak into Morgantown in a battle of Big 12 elite. Kansas is 7-0 in the conference but will be facing their first AP Top 25 ranked opponent since their second game of the season, a 77-75 win over Duke, which started their winning streak. Bill Self's team may be undefeated in conference play, but that's not to say there haven't been a couple of squeakers. They needed a controversial last-second layup to defeat in-state rival Kansas State, 90-88. They also had their hands full in Ames, Iowa as they survived the Iowa State Cyclones, 76-72. Overall, they have won their seven Big 12 games by an average of 8.2 points.

While the Jayhawks are flying high, the Mountaineers are reeling. After knocking off then-No. 1 Baylor, West Virginia and their second-ranked defense has not played well. They barely survived a 7-12 Texas team, winning by two points, and they've dropped their last two games, allowing 84.0 points per game over those two. History is on the Mountaineers side, though, as they have defeated the Jayhawks three straight times in Morgantown.

Other Games to Watch

(1) Villanova Wildcats at Marquette Golden Eagles, 8 PM ET, FS1

The last time these two Big East schools played, Villanova was fresh off their first (and only) loss of the season. The Wildcats came out on fire, making 65.7% of their field goal attempts, including 14 of 23 from beyond the arc, as they defeated Marquette 93-81. This time, the Wildcats take a trip to Milwaukee to try and slow down the Golden Eagles, who have averaged 87.1 points while going 10-1 at home this season. No matter who comes out on top, this one should be another high-scoring affair between two of the top seven offenses in the nation, based on adjusted offensive rating by


Game of the Day

(8) UCLA Bruins at Southern California Trojans, 11 PM ET, FS1

The battle of Los Angeles is always an entertaining affair, but with UCLA ranking eighth in the nation and USC having their best season in a decade, it makes Wednesday's clash that much more exciting.

The Bruins are coming off their second defeat of the year, a 96-85 loss to the Arizona Wildcats, where freshman phenom Lonzo Ball scored a career-high 24 points. The point guard has been the sparkplug the Bruins needed to bounce back from a losing 2015-16 season. He has transformed UCLA into the best offensive unit in college basketball as they have scored 93.0 points per game and rank first in offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

The Trojans, started the year off strong, going 14-0. But in the last few weeks, USC has fallen back to Earth, losing four of their last seven games. While USC holds a 76.5% chance of making the field of 68, according to our algorithms, the Trojans would all but lock up a NCAA Tournament appearance -- barring a collapse the rest of the way -- by knocking off the Bruins for the fourth straight time.


Game of the Day

(24) Xavier Musketeers at (19) Cincinnati Bearcats, 7 PM ET, ESPN2

The sheer closeness of the two schools -- their campuses are separated by only three miles -- make this rivalry one of the fiercest in the nation. The annual game between the two Cincinnati schools -- dubbed the Skyline Crosstown Shootout -- has provided some memorable moments, most notably the bench clearing brawl in 2011 that forced officials to end the game with 9.3 seconds remaining.

While Xavier has dominated the matchup recently, winning seven of the last nine meetings, they come into this year's Shootout struggling. They have lost three of their last four games, with their only win coming against a mediocre Georgetown Hoyas squad.

The Bearcats enter the game undefeated in American Athletic Conference play, having won their last 10 games overall. A win over the 24th-ranked Musketeers would give Cincinnati their first win over a ranked opponent this season and help build their case for a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.


Game of the Day

(2) Kansas Jayhawks at (4) Kentucky Wildcats, 6:15 PM ET, ESPN

Saturday brings us another round of the Big 12-SEC Challenge, and the premier matchup of the week is a clash between the two winningest schools in the history of college basketball -- Kentucky ranks first with 2,205 wins, and Kansas is second with 2,186. This will be the 30th meeting of the two blue-blood programs, with Kentucky dominating the series with 22 wins. However, in last year's game, the Jayhawks earned the victory in a 90-84 overtime thriller.

This year's version should be just as compelling with the way the offenses have been playing this season. The Jayhawks are shooting over 50% from the floor and 41% from beyond the arc as they rank 15th in the nation with 85.4 points per game. The Wildcats can pile on the points in an even more impressive fashion as they are scoring 92.6 points per game while shooting 52.9% from the floor during SEC play.

Other Games to Watch

(17) Duke Blue Devils at Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 3 PM ET, ACCN

The Blue Devils have lost three of their last four games and need to get back on track in the ACC. While road losses to Louisville and Florida State -- both ranked in the top 13 -- are nothing to be ashamed of, their stunning home collapse against North Carolina State and their 214th-ranked defense is another matter, though. Wake Forest owns a top-30 offense, putting up 81.7 points per game, and they will give a struggling Blue Devils squad all they can handle.


Game of the Day

(12) Virginia Cavaliers at (1) Villanova Wildcats, 1 PM ET, FOX

Three times this year the Virginia Cavaliers have faced a team ranked in the top 10. Only once did they come away with a victory (versus Louisville). On Sunday, they face another stiff challenge as they travel to Philly to take on the nation's top-ranked school -- and defending champion -- the Villanova Wildcats.

The Cavs sport perhaps the toughest defense in the country -- ranking first in points allowed (53.1) and third in defensive efficiency -- and are 7-1 away from home. The Wildcats counter with a perfect 10-0 home mark this season and a top-three offensive rating. They will also be looking to get revenge on the Cavs for dealing them an 86-75 defeat last season. Virginia leads the all-time series 5-2.

Other Games to Watch

Washington Huskies at (7) Arizona Wildcats, 3:30 PM ET, FOX

Super freshmen Markelle Fultz and Lauri Markkanen take center stage in this Pac-12 tilt. Washington's Fultz, the likely top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, ranks fourth in the nation with 23.4 points per game, but he has been unable to get the Huskies on the winning track. Washington owns a 9-10 record, including a 2-5 mark in the Pac-12.

Arizona's Markkanen has been just as hot lately as he is averaging 23.3 points and 4.0 three-pointers in his last four games. The 7'0" has found his stroke from deep, making 48 of 96 attempts this year. The Wildcats will likely enter this game undefeated in the Pac-12 and looking to win their 14th straight game.