Ten weekend games, ten predictions. As usual, these picks should be used for entertainment purposes only and not as the basis for actual cash wagers:
Kentucky at Indiana, Saturday, noon: A road date following a big win over UConn would be a classic trap scenario if the Hoosiers had just a little more size and experience up front. Kentucky 76, Indiana 64.
Georgetown vs. Washington in Anaheim, Saturday, 2 p.m.: I worry about Isaiah Thomas’s inability to take care of the ball (2.9 turnovers per game), but the Huskies have a little more perimeter talent. Greg Monroe is due to come back to Earth after his 24-point, 15-rebound performance in the win over Butler. Washington 76, Georgetown 73.
Purdue at Alabama, Saturday, 9 p.m.: Anthony Grant’s Tide has some respectable wins over Providence, Baylor and Michigan, but the Boilermakers have too much toughness and experience. Purdue 73, Alabama 67.
Ohio State at Butler, Saturday, noon: Without Evan Turner, the Buckeyes are just another team. Butler 74, Ohio State 68.
Kansas State at UNLV, Saturday, 7 p.m.: The sleeper game of the day. The Rebels are undefeated with home wins over
Pittsburgh Southern Illinois, Louisville and an overtime victory at Arizona. The Wildcats have not shot the ball well, but that shows they rely on rebounding and defense – a good formula for success on the road. Kansas State 74, UNLV 70.
Marquette at Wisconsin, Saturday, 5 p.m.: Marquette showed promise with a 6-0 start but the Eagles have now lost two of their last three. Winning in Madison against a Badgers team in bounce-back mode following a loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay is just too tall an order. Wisconsin 74, Marquette 65.
New Mexico vs. Texas A&M in Houston, Saturday, 6 p.m.: Lobos are off to a tidy 9-0 start with the best win coming at home over California. The competition and locale is about to get less tidy. The Aggies are not spectacular, but they grind you down with patience and efficiency. Texas A&M 69, New Mexico 64.
Cincinnati at Xavier, Sunday, 7 p.m.: This annual rivalry contest is always one of the ugliest yet most watchable games of the pre-conference season. The Musketeers have dropped a few to Marquette, Baylor and Kansas State, but playing at home against their crosstown rival should bring out their A game. The Bearcats will need to lock down on Xavier’s three-point shooting, which ranks sixth in the U.S. Xavier 69, Cincinnati 66.
Villanova at Temple, Sunday, 3 p.m: Any other gym in Philly and I’d go with the favorite. But this is a true home game for Temple in Liacouras Center, and while the Owls might not be pretty to watch, they are one of the best defensive teams in the country (ranked 3rd in the U.S. in three-point defense and 10th in overall defensive efficiency). You gotta love home underdogs in rivalry games. Temple 66, Villanova 65.
Mississippi State vs. UCLA in Anaheim, Sunday, 4:30 p.m.: Despite their four-game losing streak, I am not quite ready to give up on the Bruins, especially if freshman forward Tyler Honeycutt can make small but steady strides. UCLA 72, Mississippi State 65.