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Men's College Basketball: Games to watch this week

There are a host of top-notch College Basketball games between ranked teams to look forward to this week as the calendar flips over to February and conference tournaments draw closer.

The Mountain West features multiple critical contests this week, as defending NCAA runner-up San Diego State travels to No. 24 Colorado State on Tuesday and hosts No. 18 Utah State on Saturday, while Boise State heads to the Pit and No. 25 New Mexico on Wednesday night.

South Carolina knocked off No. 6 Kentucky easily this week and hopes to do the same in Knoxville at No. 5 Tennessee on Tuesday.

Northwestern defeated No. 10 Illinois this week and looks to secure the season sweep of No. 2 Purdue when the Wildcats travel to West Lafayette on Wednesday evening.

Those great games and countless more are on the schedule this week, here are the top men’s basketball games coming up this week.

No. 12 Duke vs. No. 3 North Carolina

WhereDean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When6:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 3
How to watchESPN

The 192nd meeting between these rivals takes place in Chapel Hill on Saturday in the week’s marquee matchup.

Despite an 80-76 hiccup at home to Pittsburgh this week, the Blue Devils have won 9-of-10 and enter this contest after a win over Clemson.

Center Kyle Filipowksi is living up to his preseason All-American predictions, leading Duke in points (18.2), rebounds (9) and blocks (1.8) per game.

Guards Jeremy Roach, Jared McCain and Tyrese Proctor, along with forward Mark Mitchell, have all capably complemented Filipowski at both ends of the court.

The Tar Heels have been unbeatable since back-to-back losses to UConn and Kentucky before Christmas.

They’ve won nine straight and sit atop the ACC and can put even more distance between them and both Florida State and Duke with wins over the two schools this week.

Senior RJ Davis (21 ppg, 1.4 spg) and graduate student Armando Bacot (14.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg) continue to lead the Tar Heels.

No. 4 Houston vs. No. 7 Kansas

WhereAllen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
When4 PM ET, Saturday, February 3
How to watchESPN

Fourth-ranked Houston’s non-conference schedule was under the microscope as only wins over Utah, Dayton and Texas A&M stood out.

The noise got louder when Houston opened its inaugural season in the Big 12 with losses at Iowa State and TCU after an easy win over West Virginia.

The Cougars have responded with wins over No. 25 Texas Tech and No. 21 BYU. 

Now, Houston travels to storied Allen Fieldhouse to face seventh-ranked and perennial Big 12 leader Kansas.

The Jayhawks, at 11-0, are currently undefeated at home and hold a 5-2 all-time lead over the Cougars, although this is the first time the two schools have faced each other in conference play.

No. 23 Iowa State vs. No. 15 Baylor

WhereFoster Pavilion, Waco, Texas
When8 PM ET, Saturday, February 3
How to watchESPN2

The Cyclones are making a run in the Big 12 with recent wins over then-No. 2 Houston, at then-No. 19 TCU and at Kansas State recently.

Sophomore Tamin Lipsey, a do-everything guard, leads Iowa State in most categories, including points (14.6), rebounds (5.3), assists (5.6) and steals (3.2). 

The Bears are reeling a bit, following tight losses at Kansas State and Texas last week.

This matchup marks the first of four straight games for Baylor against Big 12 foes currently ranked in the Top 25. Ja’Kobe Walter leads the Bears in scoring at 15.2 points a game.

No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 6 Kentucky

WhereRupp Arena, Lexington, KY
When8:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 3
How to watchESPN

Ninth-year Tennessee coach Rick Barnes led the fifth-ranked Volunteers to the Sweet 16 for the second time last season. Is this the year he gets his squad over the hump to the Final Four for the first time?

The Vols have been nearly flawless since losses to Top 10 sides Purdue, Kansas and North Carolina in November, winning 10 of 11, including impressive recent wins over Ole Miss and Alabama. Dalton Knecht paces the team with 18.8 points a game.

Kentucky was embarrassed in a 79-62 defeat at South Carolina, but still looks poised to return to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.

Coach John Calipari’s team has not advanced past the tournament’s first weekend since 2019, but has a squad that could make a deep run this year.

Antonio Reeves (19.2 ppg) leads a balanced Wildcats squad that is seamlessly blending seniors and freshmen into a cohesive unit this year.

No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 13 Wisconsin

WhereKohl Center, Madison, WI
When1 PM ET, Sunday, February 4
How to watchCBS

The second-ranked Boilermakers will have revenge on their minds earlier in the week with the home contest versus Northwestern after losing to the Wildcats in overtime in December.

After that clash, they will need to immediately turn their focus to No. 13 Wisconsin, which is looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament after missing it for just the second time since 1998 last spring. 

Defending Wooden Award winner Zach Edey continues to be the unmovable force inside for Purdue.

He leads the team with 22.9 rebounds, 11.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while Braden Smith leads the team in assists (7.3) and steals (1.6) while chipping in 11.8 points a game. 

The Badgers have been nearly unbeatable at home, with only a loss to Tennessee in early November blemishing the sterling record at Kohl Center.

Wisconsin made a statement with a 75-64 defeat of then-No. 3 Marquette in early December.

The Badgers currently sit a half game ahead of Purdue in the Big 10 standings going into this week and it should still be a 1-vs.-2 Big 10 battle come Sunday.

AJ Storr (15.3 ppg), Tyler Wahl (11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Steven Crowl (11.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) lead Wisconsin. 

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