College basketball is taking over the sports landscape as March approaches, and we are getting pivotal matchups on a weekly basis. Whether it is a conference rivalry game or a matchup between two teams in separate conferences, this week will help us gather more data as to who the top teams in the country truly are.
We have seen some massive shakeups in recent weeks. Due to recent losses, Houston and Kansas are out of the top spots on the AP poll. In their places are teams like Purdue and Alabama, the only two teams earning first-place votes.
This is also a big week for teams on the bubble. The SEC-Big 12 Challenge is this weekend, so we should see some teams gain ground in the NCAA Tournament picture with big wins in hostile environments.
Let’s look at the five best games for NCAAB picks this week. We’ll choose one game per day starting Wednesday.
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Coleman Coliseum
There is only one matchup between ranked opponents this Wednesday, and it’s a Big East bout between Xavier and UConn. Wednesday is run by the SEC, so I’m going to pick the best team’s game as the best game of the day.
Now, this likely won’t be close. However, you can still bet on the Tide to cover. This team has won eight straight games, all of which by double digits. After three road games in Alabama’s last four matchups, the Tide return home to face a reeling Mississippi State squad.
The last time Alabama played in Coleman Coliseum, they won by 40 against LSU. Expect the Tide to put on a similar show this Wednesday. Brandon Miller looks like one of the best players in basketball, and the Tide is running away with games. This group is dominating the boards, and the mental mistakes are dwindling for Alabama basketball.
Nate Oats has whipped this team into shape, and expect a masterclass on Wednesday.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan Wolverines
Thursday, January 26, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Crisler Center
Purdue is ranked as the best team in basketball, but the Boilermakers haven’t scored over 64 points in any of the last three games played. They will now go to play at Michigan, a team that has been up and down all season.
Say what you want about the Wolverines, but they remain undefeated in home conference games this year. They know how to play in Ann Arbor, and this game will be one of the loudest in recent memory. With a chance to knock off the top dogs, don’t expect Michigan to fumble the opportunity.
I’m not predicting the upset, but Michigan has the group necessary to keep things close. With an improving offense and homecourt advantage, this group has a chance to win a massive game here.
The true matchup will be between Zach Edey of Purdue and Hunter Dickinson of Michigan. Edey has a massive height advantage, but both centers lead their teams in points and boards this year.
Air Force Falcons vs. New Mexico Lobos
Friday, January 27, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at The Pit
New Mexico is the last team in the AP top 25, and it will take a continued winning streak to stay there. They will easily be the better team on Friday, but this team is coming off an overtime win against Boise State. I expect them to be heavily favored at the best sportsbooks, but can they cover?
Air Force has a slower pace and a solid defense, but I’m not convinced that’s enough to slow this New Mexico squad down. The Falcons can only win gritty games with low scores, and I expect this to become a shootout.
Texas Longhorns vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, January 28, 2023 – 06:00 PM EST at Thompson-Boling Arena
This is the most anticipated matchup between SEC and Big 12 teams this year. It’ll be the battle of the orange, and the Volunteers will host.
These are two of the best teams in college basketball, and both have hopes of being a one seed by the end of the year. Realistically, the loser of this game likely has too far to climb to become a top seed. So, think of this as a statement game for whoever wins it.
Providence Friars vs. Villanova Wildcats
Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 12:00 PM EST at Finneran Pavilion
Sunday’s slate of games is not elite, but Providence is one of the top teams in the Big East this year. Villanova has failed to live up to the hype, but a win against the Friars would go a long way.
The paint will matter in this one. Providence is a better rebounding team, and this group is one of the best at contesting shots on a nightly basis. If the Wildcats can’t win inside, they can’t win this game.