Tuesday, December 8th
#8 Creighton (3-0) @ #5 Kansas (4-1)
5 PM ET, ESPN
Creighton hasn’t shown much this year. The Bluejays are 3-0, but all of the wins have come against sub-150th teams at home. However, even if they haven’t proven it yet, there’s a lot to like on paper. Marcus Zegarowski is back after an injury, and the Bluejays are an awesome “fundamentals” team as you’d expect from a Greg McDermott squad: They don’t foul, they don’t turn the ball over, they don’t allow opponents to get offensive rebounds, and they hit their shots. That being said, they will have to travel to Allen Fieldhouse to take on top-five Kansas. The Jayhawks were far from impressive in a 65-62 victory over Kentucky last Tuesday, a Kentucky team that since was blown out by a then-winless Georgia Tech team. That being said, I like the talent of Kansas. The Jayhawks remain one of the best defenses in the country, and I expect them to pull this one out, but it will be close.
Purdue (3-1) @ Miami (2-0)
5 PM ET, ESPN2
Colorado (2-0) @ #12 Tennessee (0-0)
6 PM ET, ESPN3
#16 North Carolina (3-1) @ #3 Iowa (3-0)
7:30 PM ET, ESPN
Iowa has played no one. The Hawkeyes’ opponents so far this year are ranked 270th, 293rd, and 334th in the CSD Prime Computer Rankings. That being said, we know how good they were last year, and how the entire starting five, including preseason player of the year Luka Garza, is back from that team. Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels look much improved from last year and are a basket away from being unbeaten right now, but I worry about UNC’s shooting ability and propensity to turn the ball over. The Tar Heels are still a very inexperienced team, and I expect Iowa to control this from start to finish.
#22 Ohio State (3-0) @ Notre Dame (1-1)
7:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Pick: Ohio State
#6 Illinois (3-1) @ #10 Duke (2-1)
9:30 PM ET, ESPN
When the line for this game came out as Duke -3.5 I was pretty surprised. I picked Duke to win the ACC in the preseason, but I have sold my stock, the Blue Devils have shown me very little so far this year. Mike Krzyzewski’s group turns the ball over, they struggle to get to the foul line, they straight up look like a bunch of freshmen. The Blue Devils run into an Illinois team that may be the best rebounding team in America, can shoot the lights out (45.1% from three), and has an experienced, talented starting five that has “been there before”. I expect Duke to drop their second game in Cameron Indoor in the span of eight days.
Syracuse (3-0) @ #21 Rutgers (3-0)
9:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Wednesday, December 9th
Furman (4-0) @ Cincinnati (1-1)
5 PM ET, ESPN+
Maryland (4-0) @ Clemson (3-0)
5 PM ET, ESPN2
Indiana (3-0) @ #20 Florida State (1-0)
7:15 PM ET, ESPN
The ACC has had a very disappointing year thus far, and Florida State, the defending champs, look to possibly be poised for a repeat. The Seminoles are the tallest team in America, they’ve got great depth, they force turnovers, they rebound better than anyone, and they’re at home here. I like this Indiana team a lot, but they don’t have the experience to go on the road and beat a Leonard Hamilton coached team. I expect the ACC to get on the board here.
Pick: Florida State
Oklahoma (2-0) @ Xavier (6-0)
8 PM ET, FS1
#4 Michigan State (5-0) @ #18 Virginia (3-1) CANCELED
9:15 PM ET, ESPN
I haven’t sold my stock in Virginia quite yet. The results don’t look great, but this is still a classic Tony Bennett team that will guard well, won’t foul, won’t turn the ball over, and can shoot. My biggest concern with the Cavaliers is their lack of rebounding talent, but Michigan State also struggles in that department, so it shouldn’t be too much of a worry in this one. I’m still not sold on Michigan State, despite the huge win @ Duke, and you’ve got to expect Virginia to progress to the mean a little after a rough start, plus, the Cavs are at home.
Thursday, December 10th
#24 San Diego State (4-0) @ #23 Arizona State (3-1)
10 PM ET, FS1
The two highest-ranked West Coast teams not named Gonzaga will square off late on Thursday night in this clash between SDSU and Arizona State. I’m a big fan of the Aztecs and especially their defense, which does a great job of forcing turnovers, but they will be on the road here against an Arizona State team that has the speed to take SDSU out of their element. At the end of the day, the talent of Arizona State will win out, but it will be tight.
Pick: Arizona State
Friday, December 11th
Marquette (4-1) @ UCLA (4-1)
9:30 PM ET, Pac-12 Network
Saturday, December 12th
Florida (3-0) @ #20 Florida State (2-0)
11 PM ET, ESPNU
Florida State has as good of a chance as anyone to win the ACC this year. The Seminoles began their 2020 campaign with a win over North Florida and then followed that up with a 69-67 win over an excellent Indiana team. MJ Walker led the ‘Noles with 19 points. Here, at home again, FSU draws rival Florida, a team that can shoot the ball well and plays great defense. However, there have been some cracks in the armor for the Gators this year. UF trailed Army by as many as 12 in their season opener. I’ll trust the height, the experience, and the home-court advantage of FSU to lead the ‘Noles to victory as they head into conference play.
Pick: Florida State
Syracuse (3-1) @ Boston College (1-4)
1 PM ET, ESPNU
Auburn (2-2) vs Memphis (4-2) in Atlanta, GA
5 PM ET, ESPNU (was SEC Network Alternate)
Utah (2-0) @ BYU (5-2)
6 PM ET, BYUtv
Xavier (7-0) @ Providence (4-2) – CANCELED
6:30 PM ET, FS2
Clemson (4-0) vs Alabama (3-1) in Atlanta, GA
7:30 PM ET, ESPN3
#6 Illinois (4-1) @ Missouri (4-0)
8 PM ET, ESPNU (was SEC Network Alternate)
Illinois is playing like one of the five best teams in America right now. The Illini dominated from start to finish en route to a 83-68 win at Duke in which they never trailed. They follow that game with a tough one, on the road against rival Missouri in a classic “let-down” spot. Missouri has started the year 4-0, including an 83-75 win over an excellent Oregon team on a neutral court. Mizzou looks solid this year, but I worry about their defense. I expect the talent of Illinois to win out.
Sunday, December 13th
#19 Richmond (4-0) @ #11 West Virginia (4-1)
1 PM ET, ESPN
The win @ Kentucky looks a little less impressive in hindsight, but this is still an excellent Richmond team among the most experienced in the country. With that being said, they’ll be on the road here, taking on a West Virginia team that plays excellent defense, rebounds well, and won’t turn the ball over. Give me WVU.
Pick: West Virginia
Penn State (3-1) @ Michigan (5-0)
2 PM ET, BTN
#13 Texas (5-1) @ #2 Baylor (4-0)
3 PM ET, ESPN
Two of the best teams in the country will open Big 12 play against eachother in a blockbuster Sunday matchup. I like this Texas team a lot. The Longhorns won the Maui Invitational with wins against Indiana and North Carolina before dropping a close one to Villanova, 68-64. I love Shaka Smart’s team, especially their defense, but the Longhorns will have to go on the road here against a top-three offense in America. Jared Butler will continue to impress, and Baylor will open Big 12 play with a victory.
Stanford (2-2) @ USC (4-1)
9:30 PM ET, FS1