College Basketball Bracket Update: Jan. 30
Michigan-Indiana is the week's key game while Ole Miss' Henderson visits Florida.
By: David Fox | 1/30/13, 10:30 AM EST
A light week of college basketball, relatively speaking, should come to a thrilling end.
Michigan at Indiana has the potential to be one of the best games of the season, with both teams in the top three, with rosters containing Player of the Year candidates and with both playing some of the best basketball in the country on the offensive end of the floor.
And that’s the finale on Saturday. The undercard is a matchup between Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson, who has quickly become a lightning rod in the SEC, going on the road against the best team in the league.
Elsewhere, the week is a little short on great matchups. The Big 12 will be worth watching, however. Baylor and Oklahoma are in Tournament contention, but both teams need to pick up some wins to convince skeptics.
All times Eastern.
Related: Key stats from last week
JAN. 30 NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACKET UPDATE
MOST IMPORTANT GAME:
Michigan at Indiana (Saturday, 9 p.m, ESPN)
If only the actual game lives up to the hype: The top two teams in the nation’s top conference, have made returns to national title-winning status. For now, though, the Big Ten is on the line. Michigan hasn’t won an outright conference title since 1985-86. Indiana hasn’t won one in 20 years. Another subplot is the matchup between Michigan point guard Trey Burke and Indiana’s emerging player of the year candidate Victor Oladipo. And from an NCAA Tournament perspective, the winner of this game could be on track for a No. 1 seed.
Related: Michigan takes top spot in power rankings
ALL EYES ON: Baylor
Oklahoma (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)
at Iowa State (Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN2)
Baylor’s 5-1 in the Big 12. Missed it? That’s because the Bears have played few teams of note in the league other than a 61-44 loss to Kansas. Baylor has defeated Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU (twice) on the way to second place in the Big 12. Now, the Bears face three consecutive NCAA contenders, with two on the road. Time to find out where Baylor’s ceiling might be.
UNDER PRESSURE: Oklahoma
at Baylor (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)
Kansas State (Saturday, 4 p.m., Big 12 syndication)
We know Oklahoma is better in its second year under Lon Kruger. We know the Sooners are in the NCAA Tournament mix. But we also know the Sooners aren’t good enough to defeat stingy defensive teams like Kansas State and Kansas on the road. The Sooners will find out of those road woes extend to Waco on Wednesday. And Saturday will match the top two scorers in Big 12 games - Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder (18.7 points per game) and Oklahoma’s Romero Osby (18 ppg).
at Notre Dame (Wednesday, 6 p.m., ESPN2)
Providence (Sunday, noon, Big East syndication)
Villanova may have done enough in one week to erase three losses (Alabama, Columbia, La Salle and Temple) in November and December. The Wildcats defeated top-five Louisville and Syracuse at home last week to return to NCAA contention. Now, Nova goes on the road to Notre Dame. The Wildcats like to get to the free throw line, so facing a tough opponent who does a good job of protecting its home court will be interesting. Villanova scores 28.3 percent of its points from free throw line, a stat that leads the nation.
at Florida State (Wednesday, 8 p.m., ACC syndication)
Wake Forest (Saturday, 2 p.m., ACC syndication)
Early this month, Maryland was a mystery team because it played few quality opponents other than Kentucky in the opener. Now, there’s little mystery: Maryland’s not ready for ACC contention. The Terrapins have lost four of their last six, but they found room to defeat NC State 51-50 during that span. Maryland desperately needs better play in the backcourt: The Terps are last in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio and turnover margin in conference games.
MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: Ohio at Akron (Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPNU)
Akron gained a little notoriety this week with its to wear jerseys with the Zips' Twitter handle on the back as part of Social Media Night, but this game should stand on its own as a key mid-major contest with or without gimmicks. Both teams are 6-0 in the MAC. Led by NCAA Tournament-tested guard D.J. Cooper, Ohio faces a bigger Akron team that’s played well on the offensive and defensive glass this year.
Iowa State at Oklahoma State (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Big 12 syndication)
Oklahoma State may be an NCAA Tournament team, but the Cowboys have to pick up better conference wins than TCU (9-11), Texas Tech (9-9), an West Virginia (9-11).
New Mexico at Wyoming (Wednesday, 9 p.m., ROOT Sports)
Wyoming hasn’t been the same since Luke Martinez ran into off-court trouble and ended up suspended. The Cowboys are 3-4 since then, but they can still guard. New Mexico is coming off a 34-point effort against San Diego State.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh (Saturday, noon, ESPN)
James Southerland has been gone for a few weeks. Now center Dajuan Coleman is out for four weeks due to knee surgery. Numbers are dwindling for Syracuse.
Miami at NC State (Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS)
Fun fact: Miami defeated Florida State and Duke by a combined 51 points last week. The Hurricanes scored 51 points in their loss to Florida Gulf Coast in the second game of the season.
Ole Miss at Florida (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)
Marshall Henderson against the best team in the SEC, in front of rowdy fans on the road -- we’re in.
UNLV at Boise State (Saturday, 9 p.m., Time Warner Cable Sports Net)
UNLV is looking for its talented lineup to find consistency. Meanwhile, NCAA Tournament hopeful Boise State has lost three of four.
Marquette at Louisville (Sunday, 2 p.m., ESPN)
Marquette is quietly sitting atop the Big East standings with Syracuse, but no one seems to consider the Golden Eagles a major player in the league. Vander Blue averages 17.1 points per game in the Big East after a 30-point outburst against USF.
Wisconsin at Illinois (Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network)
Illinois is in trouble after a hot start. A home game against a stingy defensive team is a tall task and maybe a must-win.
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