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Men’s College Basketball: Games to watch this week

College basketball is heating up and there are plenty of exciting matchups happening right now.

UConn, Purdue, Houston, and Marquette are the teams to beat as they headline the top 25 list and there are plenty of ranked teams in action next week.

Let’s take a look at some of the best games happening next week, starting on Monday.

#10 Iowa State vs. #3 Houston

WhereFertitta Center, Houston, TX
When7 PM EST, Monday, February 19
How to watchESPNU

The week starts with one of the best games happening on Monday night.

Iowa State travels to Texas to take on Houston in a battle of ranked teams. Iowa State has slowly but surely moved up in the rankings in the last few weeks after several big wins over TCU, Texas, and Kansas, while nearly beating Baylor too.

The Cyclones are playing their best basketball of the season right now and their efficient offense, paired with an above-average defense, has been the key to their success.

Houston has consistently been ranked within the top 10 this season and for good reason.

After their win over Cincinnati, the Cougars were 21-3. With just 3 losses in the middle of February, the Cougars have cemented themselves as a true threat in college basketball.

Between their height in the paint and elite rebounding numbers, the Cougars are going to force their opponent to beat them from outside. 

#1 UConn vs. #17 Creighton

WhereCHI Health Center, Omaha, NE
When8:30 PM EST, Tuesday, February 20
How to watchFS1

The #1 team in the country takes the court in Omaha, Nebraska on Tuesday as UConn pays a visit to Creighton.

UConn has not had a difficult schedule this season with their first few games in February coming against Butler, Georgetown, and DePaul. However, when they face a ranked opponent, the Huskies don’t skip a beat.

These two teams met a few weeks ago in Connecticut, and the Huskies walked away with a 62-48 win over the Bluejays. Unless proven otherwise, UConn is the most dominant team in the country.

Creighton has been a box of chocolates this season because you never know what you'll get: sometimes it has played like a top 10 team and the other times it falters against below .500 teams.

In just the last two weeks, Creighton has lost to Providence and Butler. The most concerning part about those games is that the Bluejays defense allowed over 90 points in both matchups.

If the defense fails to show up against UConn, this game will get out of hand quickly.

#12 Baylor vs. #19 BYU

WhereMarriott Center, Provo, UT
When9 PM EST, Tuesday, February 20
How to watchESPN

Baylor was one of the most feared teams in college basketball before New Years, but 2024 has not been kind to the Bears.

They had a stretch of games in January in which they lost to Kansas State, Texas, and TCU in a row. Shortly after that, they lost to Kansas too.

The primary cause for concern has been Baylor’s offense, which was once an elite unit, but is not scoring above 70 points per game recently. If the Bears want to end the season on a good note, the offense needs to step up.

BYU traveled to Texas to take on Baylor a few weeks ago and it was a close game until the Bears pulled away for the 81-72 win.

This time, the Cougars will have home court advantage and that has been a huge factor in their success this season.

BYU is 14-2 at home with its only losses coming by Houston and Cincinnati. Baylor will likely still be favored by a few buckets, but BYU has plenty of value on their home court.

#3 Houston vs. #12 Baylor

WhereFoster Pavilion, Waco, TX
When12:00 PM EST, Saturday, February 24
How to watchCBS

It’s an in-state rivalry game as Houston travels to Waco for a matchup with Baylor.

Although these teams are in the same state, this is the first meeting of the two teams this season.

It’s a tough stretch of games for Baylor, who will be in Utah earlier in the week before traveling home to take on a surging Houston team.

The key to victory for the Bears will be physicality in the paint. Houston is a very efficient team on offense, especially in the post. If Baylor can protect the paint, they have a great chance to protect their home court.

Speaking of a tough week, the Cougars also have a tough stretch of games coming up. Houston has Texas, Iowa State, and Baylor in a row which won’t be easy by any means.

Baylor is 14-1 at home while Houston is 7-3 on the road, meaning this game has the makings of a close contest.

#7 UNC vs. #21 Virginia

WhereJohn Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
When4:00 PM EST, Saturday, February 24
How to watchESPN

Saturday is filled with excellent college basketball games as 19 of the 25 ranked teams are taking the court.

Two of those 19 teams will be taking the same court in Virginia as UNC travels north to take on the Cavaliers.

UNC will be the favorite in this game, but the Tar Heels have been slipping recently as they have lost to Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Syracuse in the last few games.

Those are several poor losses and the Tar Heels can’t afford many more if they want to be a high seed in the tournament. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, they are 9-5 on the road this season.

Virginia was on a roll before its loss to Pittsburgh. Before the loss, the Cavaliers had racked up eight straight wins which included victories over Florida State, Miami, and Clemson.

The Cavaliers’ excellent perimeter shooting has kept them in many games, but sometimes they can be loyal to a fault on the three-pointer.

That has led to Virginia averaging just 65 points per game this season, while the Tar Heels are over 80.

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