We have a West Coast showdown when the top-two teams in the WCC, #2 Gonzaga (24-1) and Saint Mary’s (20-5), meet on Saturday. Whenever Duke and North Carolina play, it’s always an intense and heated rivalry. This is an unusual situation in the ACC this year, because #7 Duke is ranked in the Top 10, yet North Carolina has a losing record.
It’s so weird to see the Tar Heels struggle, but a victory against their despised rival could save a hopeless season in Chapel Hill for Roy Williams.
Meanwhile, Dayton (20-2) is trying to penetrate the Top 5, but they have a tough matchup against pesky St. Louis.
Two of the top teams from the Big East square off when #12 Seton Hall heads down to Philadelphia to play #10 Villanova.
College Hoops Saturday
#2 Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s
Saint Louis at #6 Dayton
#7 Duke at North Carolina
#12 Seton Hall at #10 Villanova
#18 LSU at #11 Auburn
Stanford at #24 Colorado
There’s another cat fight in the SEC when the #18 LSU Tigers visit the #11 Auburn Tigers. Auburn is back on track after losing two in a row a couple weeks ago. Bruce Pearl’s squad has their eyes on moving back into the Top 10.
The Colorado Buffs went 1-1 in California last weekend. This time, they have a California school visiting them in Boulder. Colorado wants to stay in the Top 25, while Stanford would love to take Colorado’s spot.
WCC After Dark: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s
#2 Gonzaga (24-1) at Saint Mary’s (20-5)… Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s play in the Game of the Weekend. Do not miss this late-night game, which will be aired on ESPN. Gonzaga hasn’t lost a WCC conference game in almost 25 months, while Saint Mary’s needs a win against a top-ranked team to impress the NCAA selection committee and avoid busting on the March Madness bubble. Paul Sabin at ESPN Analytics tweeted, “Gonzaga has not lost a regular season conference game since Jan 18, 2018 (vs Saint Mary’s) – 751 days before this trip to Saint Mary’s. BPI only gives Gonzaga a 29 percent chance to finish conference play unblemished.” After dropping both regular season games to the Zags last year, Saint Mary’s upset Gonzaga in the WCC Championship game last season to earn a spot in March Madness 2019.
Dayton Thirsty for Respect and a Top-5 Spot
Saint Louis (17-6) at #6 Dayton (20-2)… Dayton won 11 in a row, and is now seeking to keep their perfect conference report alive. The Flyers lead the Atlantic 10 with a 9-0 record. Saint Louis lost a close game to Dayton a couple of weeks ago in a 78-76 thriller in St. Louis. The Billikens are seeking revenge, while Dayton has their eyes on a Top-5 spot in the next AP Poll. The A10 doesn’t have the depth they had in the past, which is the sole reason why Dayton has yet to penetrate the Top 5. KenPom ranked Dayton #6 overall. The Flyers have the sixth-best offense in the nation, averaging 82.1 points per game. Saint Louis will have their hands full stopping future lottery pick, Obi Toppin (19.7 ppg, 8.0 rebounds).
‘Nova Downslide, Seton Hall Upswing
#12 Seton Hall (17-5) at #10 Villanova (17-5)… Seton Hall leads the Big East with a 9-1 conference record, while Villanova slipped to second after losing two games in a row. Creighton shocked ‘Nova at home last weekend. They followed that up with a 3-point loss at Butler. Jay Wright and ‘Nova are trying to avoid a three-game losing streak when hot Seton Hall blows through Philly. Seton Hall went 11-1 in their last 12 games, but they now face two ranked teams with #10 Villanova on Saturday and #21 Creighton next week. Myles Powell, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Trenton leads the Seton Hall Pirates with 22.0 points per game. Powell torched Georgetown for 34 points in their last game.
Southern Gothic: UNC/Duke Rivalry
#7 Duke (19-3) at North Carolina (10-12)… Who cares if North Carolina had two wins or 20 wins. The Duke and North Carolina rivalry is one of the best in all of sports. Roy Williams and North Carolina can save face if they beat Duke this weekend. Of course, if UNC loses to Duke, it will only add more fuel to the dumpster fire of a season down in Chapel Hill. At least Williams has a shot in this one. Freshman sensation, Cole Anthony, returns to the lineup after injuring his knee earlier in the season.
SEC Tiger Bowl
#18 LSU (17-5) at #11 Auburn (20-2)… With an 8-1 SEC record, LSU sits in first place. LSU had a 10-game winning streak snapped when they were upset 99-90 by last-place Vanderbilt. Maybe that’s the wake up call LSU needed before they head to Auburn to play the Tiger Bowl. Auburn won five in a row since they had their undefeated season derailed by consecutive road losses at Alabama and at Florida. Auburn defeated #13 Kentucky last Saturday in a classic SEC cat fight. They barely squeaked by Arkansas 79-76 the other night.
Stanford (16-6) at #24 Colorado (18-5)… Stanford is 1-4 in their last five games, yet they upset #11 Oregon 70-60 last weekend. Stanford’s stifling defense, ranked #8 in the nation and allowing just 59.9 points per game, shut down the Ducks. But it’s their offense that’s been erratic. Colorado bounced back with two wins after losing to UCLA in West Los Angeles last weekend. The Buffs are tied with Oregon for first place in the Pac-12 with a 7-3 record.