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Men's College Basketball: Games to watch this week

The college basketball season is in full swing and there are plenty of exciting matchups happening this week.

Let’s take a look at five games that are worth watching, starting on Monday and going through to Saturday.

Wake Forest vs. #3 UNC

WhereDean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When9 PM ET, Tuesday, January 9
How to watchESPN+

It’s a smaller slate of college basketball games on Monday night, but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. 

One of the best games that night features Wake Forest against UNC at the Dean Smith Center. 

The Demon Deacons have had a solid season thus far, as they’ve posted a 13-5 record through their first 18 games of the season. However, one factor to keep an eye on in this game is the Demon Deacons are 1-3 on the road this season, which means 12 of their 13 wins have come at home.

UNC has been on a roll recently. Heading into their game against Boston College, the Tar Heels were 14-3 and had won 7 in a row since their loss to Kentucky. 

UNC had moved up to #3 in the rankings and a big part of their success has been their 8-0 record at home. With Wake Forest’s struggles on the road, this is a perfect spot for the Tar Heels.

#4 Houston vs. #21 BYU

WhereMarriott Center, Provo, UT
When9:00 PM ET, Tuesday, January 23
How to watchESPN+

The first instance of two top-25 teams taking the floor against each other happens on Tuesday night in Utah. 

Houston will travel to Provo to take on BYU and both teams have been playing exceptionally well as of late. 

Houston are in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, as they’ve played #25 Texas Tech, #19 TCU, and #24 Iowa State in the last two weeks. They have dropped 2 of those 3 games which makes this contest against BYU very important.

It’s been very difficult to beat BYU on their home court. BYU is 10-1 at home this season and just beat #24 Iowa State in Utah a few days ago. This game will come down to defense, and that’s been Houston’s recipe for success this season.

#7 Kansas vs. #23 Iowa State

WhereJames H. Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA
When1:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 27
How to watchCBS

The Jayhawks have been one of the toughest teams to beat in college basketball. Kansas has posted a 15-3 record through the first 18 games of the season and were 9-1 in their last 10 matchups heading into their clash with West Virginia. 

It’s been the Jayhawks’ presence in the paint that has led to so much success and that’s an aspect that Iowa State has struggled to defend this season.

It has been a very difficult stretch of games for the Cyclones. In just the last few weeks, Iowa State has played #20 BYU, #5 Houston, and #15 Oklahoma, #19 TCU, and now Kansas.

Iowa State’s defense has been exploited a lot recently and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kansas continue the theme and attack the Cyclones at the basket.

#20 Texas Tech vs. #11 Oklahoma

WhereLloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK
When2:00 PM EST, Saturday, January 27
How to watchESPN+

Texas Tech held a 14-2 record before their matchup against Houston and the Red Raiders got a reality check. 

The Cougars handed the Red Raiders a 23-point loss in a game that Texas Tech couldn’t find any source of offense. 

Going up against elite defenses has been a slight problem for Texas Tech this season and that could be an issue next Saturday when the Red Raiders take on Oklahoma.

11 of the Sooners’ 15 wins have come at home. Oklahoma has dominated teams that have come to the Lloyd Noble Center this season and the only loss the Sooners have had at home was against #4 UNC. 

However, the Texas Tech offense is completely different from UNC’s, so this is another opportunity for the Sooners to add a win at home.

TCU vs. #15 Baylor

WhereFoster Pavilion, Waco, TX
When4:00 PM, Saturday, January 27
How to watchESPN2

Two of the best offenses in the country take the court against each other on January 27. 

Through the first 18 games of the season, these teams hold nearly identical records as TCU is 13-5 and Baylor is 14-4. 

These teams are also similar in the fact that they jumped out to a strong start before hitting a rough patch against some quality teams, but this is the point in the season when the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders.

The biggest advantage that Baylor has is its home court. The Bears are a perfect 10-0 in their home surroundings while TCU is 2-2 on the road this season. 

Home and away splits could play a large role in this game, but so will defense. These teams have proven that they can score a lot of points, so that means it will be the team that plays better defense that will win this game. After all, offense wins games, but defense wins championships.

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