College Basketball: 10 Must-Watch Games This Week

Conference championships begin this week, but there is still time for teams to boost their resumes in advance of March Madness.

Another college basketball regular season has come and gone at the blink of an eye. Now it is time for things to get serious and fun.

For the majority of schools, including those in the power conferences, this is the last week of the regular season. For those not in the power conferences, it's time for the madness to begin.

By the end of this week, four tickets will be punched to the NCAA Tournament and another nine conference tournaments will be underway. This is the last chance for bubble teams to add to their resume or those pesky bracket busters to steal an automatic bid, causing the bubble conversation to become more intriguing.

Without further ado, these are the 10 games to watch this week.


Game of the Day

(10) West Virginia at (11) Baylor, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU

Baylor is spiraling out of control at the wrong time, having lost five of their last eight, including three of four down the stretch. The Bears welcome West Virginia to town Monday night in hopes of getting a big win to turn around their fortunes. The last time these two teams met, top-ranked Baylor was handed their first loss of the season which came via a 21-point drubbing at West Virginia.

The Mountaineers have rebounded nicely since blowing a late double-digit lead in Kansas, having won their last three games. West Virginia forced 29 Baylor turnovers in their first matchup, and the Mountaineers hope to follow the same recipe against the turnover-prone Bears.

Other Games to Watch

(5) North Carolina at (23) Virginia, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN

Speaking of struggling teams, Virginia has dropped six of their last nine and finally ended a four-game losing streak by beating NC State on Saturday. Prior to their 70-55 win, the Cavaliers were averaging just 48 points over their past three losses, including a 48-point effort in an overtime home loss to Miami (FL).

Also part of that losing streak was a loss at North Carolina where Virginia only managed 41 points, a season low for points allowed by the Tar Heels. North Carolina has won four straight dating back to their loss at Duke and are just one win away from the outright ACC regular season title.


Game of the Day

(15) Florida State at (17) Duke, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Florida State travels to Duke in a matchup of offensively gifted teams. Things started to look fixed at Duke during their seven-game winning streak, but dropping two games last week brought their progress to a screeching halt. Road losses to Syracuse and Miami (FL) cost the Blue Devils a shot at the ACC regular season crown, and with a date at North Carolina looming Saturday, Duke cannot get caught looking ahead.

Florida State claimed two victories last week after losing consecutive games for the second time this season. If UNC were to drop their game Monday at Virginia, the Seminoles would still have hope to grab a piece of the ACC title, while a loss at Duke would leave them scrambling to stay close to the top of the conference.

Other Games to Watch

Oklahoma State at (24) Iowa State, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN2

After an 0-6 start in Big 12 play, Oklahoma State looked nothing like an NCAA Tournament hopeful. But since that point, the Cowboys have won 9 of 10 to keep them in the conversation. They travel to Iowa State to face a Cyclones team riding a five-game winning streak. Another high-scoring game should be in order, as Iowa State knocked off OK State 96-86 in their other meeting this season.


VCU at Dayton, 8:00 PM ET, CBS Sports Network

VCU travels to Dayton on Wednesday night for an "if everything goes the way it should" Atlantic-10 championship preview. Dayton leads VCU by one game in the conference and a win can lock up the 1 seed in the A-10 tournament.

The last time these two met, VCU knocked off the Flyers in Richmond by a score of 73-68, but Dayton has not lost since. VCU just had a nine-game winning streak of their own snapped by fellow NCAA Tournament hopeful Rhode Island over the weekend.


(24) Iowa State at (10) West Virginia, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2

These Big 12 foes follow up their tough early-week games by facing off Friday night. West Virginia won the first meeting this season 85-72 in Iowa State off the strength off some stellar three-point shooting (10-of-21 from beyond the arc). Iowa State has won six of seven since, including their huge win in Kansas.


Game of the Day

(17) Duke at (5) North Carolina, 8:15 PM ET, ESPN

One of, if not the best rivalry in college basketball is renewed on Saturday night when Duke travels down Tobacco Road to Chapel Hill. Duke held home court in their first meeting on February 9 by a score of 86-78 behind Grayson Allen's three-point attack. North Carolina was without senior forward Isaiah Hicks for their first meeting, but UNC should be at full strength for this one.

Duke has won seven of the last nine meetings with North Carolina.

Other Games to Watch

(1) Kansas at Oklahoma State, 6:00 PM ET, ESPN

Kansas closes out their regular season against Oklahoma State Saturday in Stillwater. The Jayhawks have already secured their 13th straight Big 12 regular season crown and are now gunning for the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. While Kansas has won eight of their last nine, they have been lacking some style points while doing so.

Outside of double-digit wins over TCU and Texas last week, the rest of their wins during this streak have been by an average of three points. There are some wins over impressive opponents sprinkled in, but the true silver lining for the Jayhawks is they are winning games, and in March, which is all that matters.

Kansas beat Oklahoma State in their prior meeting, 87-80, in Lawrence.

(19) Notre Dame at (8) Louisville, 2:00 PM ET, CBS

Louisville will be looking to avenge their loss earlier in the season to Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish come to town on Saturday. The Cardinals stumbled last week at North Carolina, but are still aiming for a high seed in the ACC tournament.

The Irish are currently tied with them for second place and the result of this game will have a big impact on seeding. Notre Dame is hot, having won five straight after a tough four-game losing streak in late January. However, Louisville has been tough at home in conference play, posting a 7-1 record at the Yum! Center.


(16) Purdue at Northwestern, 4:30 PM ET, CBS

Purdue is currently in the driver's seat in the Big Ten and they hope to lock it up Sunday at Northwestern. The Boilermakers enter the week with a one-game lead over Wisconsin and have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

If they do not claim the title prior to Sunday, Northwestern will be standing in their way, looking to add another big win to their resume. The Wildcats are looking to right the ship after losing five of their past seven games, which is a streak that started with an 80-59 loss at Purdue on February 1.

Purdue has not won an outright Big Ten title since 1996.

Conference Championship Games

Below are the conference championship games that will be happening this weekend and the projected matchup based on the current standings.

Ohio Valley, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN - #2 Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks vs #1 Belmont Bruins

Big South, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN - #2 North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs vs #1 Winthrop Eagles

Missouri Valley, 2:00 PM ET, CBS - #2 Illinois State Redbirds vs #1 (21) Wichita State Shockers

Atlantic Sun, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN - #2 Lipscomb Bisons vs #1 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles