And down the stretch they come …
While the low- and mid-major conferences prepare for tournaments, the big conferences still have one week remaining in the regular season … and what a week it’s set up to be. Take, for instance, Monday night’s docket, featuring two huge Big 12 matchups and an ACC showdown. So yes, this may seem counter-intuitive, but we’re wishing our weekend away, looking forward to Monday night.
#19 Baylor at Texas
7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Heading into the last week of the season the Baylor Bears are looking to finish out the season with wins over two unranked opponents, the first being Texas. Texas enters after giving Kansas quite a scare on Saturday, but coming up heartbreakingly short in a 69-64 Jayhawks win. It’s been a common theme for the Longhorns as of late – oh, so close. In their last four games against ranked opponents, Texas has lost by single digits in each game.
Baylor, meanwhile, is on a roll, having locked in an impressive win over a Juwan Staten-less West Virginia team. But four of Baylor’s six losses have come on the road. So the Bears are heading to the Frank Erwin Center hoping to keep the winning streak going. A Baylor loss would once again send the Big 12 standings into a whirlwind – as the Bears would drop from third to sixth in the league.
- Baylor: Rico Gathers (1.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg, .567 FG percentage)
- Texas: Myles Turner (11.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, .466 FG percentage)
#2 Virginia at Syracuse
7 p.m. ET, ESPN
The one-loss Cavaliers and Syracuse face off in an ACC matchup at the Carrier Dome Monday night. Virginia can’t afford to look past this game. Syracuse’s last two wins were against Notre Dame and Louisville. While Syracuse has banned itself from the postseason, Virginia has taken sole control of the ACC. Virginia sits two games ahead of Duke and even with a loss would maintain sole possession of first place in the ACC. If the Cuse could pull off what could possibly be the biggest upset of the regular season, it would throw college basketball into chaos throughout not only the ACC (which currently has three of the top 10 teams and five of the top 17) but the NCAA Tournament bracket.
- Virginia: Malcolm Brogdon (13.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, .438 FG percentage)
- Syracuse: Rakeem Christmas (18.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, .567 FG percentage)
#16 Oklahoma at #12 Iowa State
9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Iowa St. looks to even up the series after losing to Oklahoma by 11 back in early February. Oklahoma – for the moment, anyway – sits in 2nd place in the Big 12. With its last two games against ranked conference opponents, the Sooners are looking to make a statement heading into the conference tournament. While Iowa State currently sits tied for third in the Big 12, with a win it would keep its position or with a loss would fall three games back behind conference leader, Kansas.
- Oklahoma: Buddy Hield (16.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, .429 FG percentage)
- Iowa State: Georges Niang (14.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, .462 FG percentage)