Here’s what you need to know about college basketball for Saturday, Jan. 20:
What’s at stake in the 12-1 p.m. hours
Villanova at UConn, 12 p.m. ET, CBS: The Huskies have a chance to get a season-changing win by knocking off the No. 1 team in the country in an old Big East rivalry. Villanova can lay claim to yet another win away from home.
— UConn Men’s Hoops (@UConnMBB) January 19, 2018
Purdue at Iowa, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN: A slip up by Villanova and a Purdue win could deliver a No. 1 ranking for the Boilermakers. The Boilermakers have been golden away from home in the Big Ten and the trend is likely to continue.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 19, 2018
Wichita State at Houston, 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Shockers were stunned at home by SMU, dropping them one game behind Cincinnati in the standings. Houston has a chance to tie the Shockers in the standings and continue its quest to challenge Cincinnati.
Ohio State vs. Minnesota (Madison Square Garden), 12 p.m. ET, BTN: The Buckeyes are trying to keep pace with Purdue and stay ahead of Michigan State in the quest for the top spot in the Big Ten. Minnesota is reeling and a stop at the Garden may not help — the Gophers are 3-5 in the league. Their drop is astounding.
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) January 20, 2018
Rhode Island at Dayton, 1 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network: The Rams are only a game ahead of Davidson in the loss column but it feels like they have a three-game lead. St. Bonaventure got tripped up at Dayton so another URI win continues its path toward a regular-season title.
What’s at stake in the 2-4 p.m. hours
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Sooners are trying for the Bedlam sweep. Trae Young must limit his turnovers and Oklahoma needs a win to offset the loss at Kansas State earlier in the week to stay on Kansas’ heels since the Jayhawks aren’t likely to lose at home to Baylor.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 19, 2018
Texas at West Virginia, 2 p.m. ET, CBS: The Mountaineers hardly ever lose two in a row at home. The stunning second-half loss to Kansas probably has the Mountaineers smarting and ready for the Longhorns. This Texas team, though, is playing for Andrew Jones and their passion and purpose is inspiring. Oh, and they also have a formidable front line. This should be a good one.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) January 20, 2018
Texas Tech at Iowa State, 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Red Raiders lost at Texas. Iowa State only has one win. Normally, this would be a game one would expect Texas Tech to lose in Ames, but this isn’t a traditional year for the Red Raiders. They can win on the road — anywhere. A win here keeps them within reach of Kansas, which already lost to Texas Tech.
Xavier at Seton Hall, 2:30 p.m. ET, FOX: Winner is just a game behind Villanova in the standings. Loser is dropping two back, making it even harder to catch the Wildcats. The margin for error to beat Villanova for the title is razor thin. The Wildcats still have to go to both Xavier and Seton Hall. This game should be a physical, defensive affair — and yet again another tremendous example of the depth of talent in the league.
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) January 20, 2018
What’s at stake in the 3-4 p.m. hours
Creighton at Providence, 3 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network: Guess who is back in the NCAA bid picture? The Friars. Providence has wins over Xavier and Butler and are tied with Seton Hall, Creighton and Xavier in the loss column. Creighton will be playing its first game without Martin Krampelj, who is done for the season with a knee injury.
G A M E D A Y
— Creighton Basketball (@BluejayMBB) January 20, 2018
Arizona at Stanford, 4 p.m ET, CBS: The surprise team in the Pac-12 isn’t Arizona State anymore. It’s Stanford. The Cardinal beat ASU and is shockingly 5-1 — tied with Arizona for first place. Nobody had this as a first-place showdown in the Pac-12 a month ago.
TCU at Kansas State, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Horned Frogs are playing their first game without Jaylen Fisher, who is done for the season with a right knee injury. He was the heart of this team, the lead guard and a hidden gem in the league. Kansas State is coming off a win over Oklahoma and feeling confident that it can make a run in the Big 12.
Notre Dame at Clemson, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Tigers are hanging around the top of the ACC at 4-2. Notre Dame has slipped to 3-3. This is a separation type game for mid-January.
Putting our preparation to the test tomorrow.
4 pm | ESPN | at Clemson pic.twitter.com/uXOXYd1iZN
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) January 19, 2018
Missouri at Texas A&M, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2: The steady climb back to respectability begins for the Aggies after getting their first win of the SEC season. The Tigers beat Tennessee and are hoping to stay in the upper group in the SEC. Texas A&M cannot lose anymore home games. None.
— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) January 20, 2018
What’s at stake in the 6-9 p.m. hours
Georgia at Auburn, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network: Auburn suffered its first SEC loss at Alabama, which played without Collin Sexton. Now it’s time to see if the Tigers are a pretender or contender. This is the game they should win if they are going to be an SEC title team.
Tennessee at South Carolina, 6 p.m ET, ESPN2: The Gamecocks are riding high after knocking off Kentucky at home. Tennessee lost to Mizzou. Both are 3-3. Who is going to stay in the upper half of the SEC?
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) January 19, 2018
Austin Peay at Belmont, 6 p.m. ET: If Belmont wins, the Bruins will be two games up on Austin Peay. A win by the Governors will muddle the Ohio Valley title chase, bringing Belmont back to the pack with Murray State, Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech as well as Austin Peay.
Tulane at SMU, 6 p.m. ET, ESPNNews: The Mustangs have new hope for an NCAA bid and in the American after winning at Wichita State. Tulane has improved dramatically but is still looking for consistency. Both teams are 3-3. The Mustangs need the win more for their NCAA chances and Tulane could use it to continue to change the perception of the Green Wave.
Middle Tennessee State at Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET: This could be one of the best games of the day. The Hilltoppers are undefeated in C-USA. Middle Tennessee is one game back, tied with Old Dominion. Both could be tough outs in the NCAA, if either can get a bid.
Gonzaga at Santa Clara, 8 p.m. ET: The Zags were stunned by Saint Mary’s at home. They should beat Santa Clara. Should. But they must show well in a bounce-back game to prove that only the Gaels and maybe BYU can beat them.
USC at Oregon State, 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12: The Trojans are going for the Oregon sweep after winning in Eugene. Despite all the distractions, USC is 5-2 in the Pac-12. Oregon State knocked off the Bruins and is looking for a sweep of the LA schools to stay in the upper tier of the Pac-12.
Florida at Kentucky, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: Kentucky needs to play well. Period. The Wildcats didn’t in the second half against South Carolina. Florida can make threes, so Kentucky needs to defend well and play with a sense of urgency. The Wildcats cannot afford to drop to 4-3 and have Florida move to 6-1.
“We have some tough kids. We have a resilient group” – @MikeWhiteUF
— Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 19, 2018
Mississippi State at Alabama, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: The Tide picked up a massive confidence boost to beat Auburn without Collin Sexton (abdominal injury). The Tide continue to deal with so many injuries, but have persevered and are going to ride this all the way to the bubble. Winning at home is a must. Stealing a few more road wins would help their profile for sure.
What’s at stake after 10 p.m.
Boise State at Nevada, 10 p.m. ET, ESPNU: First place is on the line in the Mountain West. A Boise State win in Reno would be huge. The Broncos have the scoring offense to get it done, but Nevada has been stingy. Both of these teams have the look of being NCAA bound. The question will be, what about their resumes?
UCLA at Oregon, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Bruins are trying to avoid a road sweep, while the Ducks are hoping to get a home split. UCLA’s NCAA profile desperately needs some road wins. Oregon is playing for Pac-12 seeding right now and trying to avoid having to play on the first day of the conference tournament.
Arizona State at Cal, 10:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network: What has happened to the Sun Devils? The Pac-12 has made this team mere mortals. ASU is 2-4 after a 14-0 start overall. Arizona State needs to get a split on this Bay Area trip. Cal, at 1-5, would be a bad loss and ASU cannot afford one right now.
Hawaii at UC Davis, 12 a.m. ET: Hawaii beat UCSB last weekend to move to 3-1. UC Davis is also 3-1. The winner will be in step with 4-1 Cal State Fullerton in the Big West.