Villanova vs Georgetown

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villanova looks to continue its outstanding start to conference play against Big East rival Georgetown on Wednesday night in Washington. The Hoyas will try to pull off the upset, but that will be a difficult task for a team that has lost four of its last six games.

Villanova guards Jalen Brunson (18.8 points per game) and Mikal Bridges (17.5 ppg) are two of the best scorers in the nation, and they power the Wildcats’ offense. They make few mistakes, too — Villanova’s 10.4 turnovers per game ranks ninth in the nation

Villanova suffered its only loss of the season to Butler on Dec. 30, but the Wildcats appear to be among the most upset-averse teams so far in 2017-18. Michigan State has lost two of its last three games, while West Virginia, which was No. 2 last week, has dropped two in a row. In Sporting News’ NCAA Tournament projections, Villanova has a spot as a No. 1 seed.

Kentucky vs South Carolina

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Kentucky vs South Carolina live

The Kentucky Wildcats are set to face the South Carolina Gamecocks this Tuesday at Colonial Life Arena,

Kentucky needs a win to keep pace with Florida and Auburn atop the SEC standings. The Tigers are undefeated atop the SEC, while Florida is tied with Kentucky at 4-1 in league play.

South Carolina (11-6 overall, 2-3 conference) boasts an impressive defense along with the ability to rebound the ball offensively. The Gamecocks can get to the line at a high rate as well, but the team struggles offensively everywhere else.

Kentucky has held opponents to only 41% shooting from the field this year. Expect South Carolina to score around their 70.9 average, though they have only scored 66.8 points per game in their five conference games.

Kentucky is third in the SEC in field goal percentage at 48.8%. They also rank seventh in the conference in scoring (78.3). The Wildcats are really rounding into to form with the ascension of P.J. Washington and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, yet it will take a healthy scoring night from Kevin Knox to counteract a good Gamecocks defense.


Oklahoma vs Kansas State

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Oklahoma vs Kansas State live

Oklahoma basketball this season begins and ends with Trae Young and it will continue Tuesday when the fourth-ranked Sooners visit Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.

The freshman point guard has led the Sooners to a 14-2 start, including 4-1 in the Big 12 Conference. Young leads the nation in scoring (30.1) and assists (9.9) and the Sooners are averaging 93.6 points per game.

“Get him the ball,” Oklahoma guard Christian James said when asked what he tries to do when Young is on one of his rolls like the 16-point run he went on against TCU. “Let him do what he does. Coach (Lon) Kruger does a great job of drawing up a game plan. But you see it; (Young)’s crazy.”

On Saturday, the Sooners beat TCU 102-97 in overtime thanks to Young. Young scored 29 of his 43 after halftime, made 10 3-pointers, totaled 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Obviously, all the attention is on Young, but a play at the end of regulation in Saturday’s victory over TCU showed what he is capable of doing.

The Sooners trailed by a point with the ball and the shot clock off. Young dribbled at the top of the key, looking for a chance to drive to the hoop. As he did, the defense collapsed in the lane, Young found James in the corner for a 3-pointer.

The Horned Frogs tied it up, sending the game into overtime. The Sooners took over in the extra period and outscored the Horned Frogs 13-8 to earn the victory.

“Being the competitor I am, I wanted to take the last shot, but I want to make the right play,” Young said. “The right play was throwing it to Christian. I had so much trust that he was going to knock it down, and he did.”

Young is not the only star for the Sooners, but he’s the biggest, and smallest. At 6-foot-1, Young still has grabbed 4.3 rebounds per contest, including 11 against TCU. He’s also shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the 3-point line.


Clemson vs North Carolina

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The North Carolina Tar Heels bounced back after dropping back-to-back ACC games. UNC throttled Boston College and then won in a thriller against Notre Dame.

Clemson was rolling with a 10-game winning streak that spanned three games into ACC play. The Tigers slipped up against NC State and lost in the final seconds. Clemson was able to bounce back quite nicely and knocked off the 18th ranked Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.

As for UNC, Cameron Johnson, the senior transfer from Pittsburgh, returned from injury on Dec. 20. He eventually entered the starting lineup against Boston College and stayed for the Notre Dame game. That move has paid off for Roy Williams. Johnson didn’t have as good of a game as he did against BC, but the transfer guard seems more comfortable in the starting lineup and Garrison Brooks is fine off the bench.

Clemson was rolling for a while and some thought maybe they should’ve been in the discussion for a top seed. They were due for a slip-up and that came in the fourth ACC game. NC State handed them that defeat in a thriller that was determined in the final seconds. The Tigers needed a big bounced back and the win over Miami proved to be that.

All five scorers for the Clemson Tigers are in double-figures. From there, it’s kind of ugly. No one on the bench has proven to be a threat the score. The senior transfer from Michigan, Mark Donnal, dropped 12 points off the bench against Miami.


Cincinnati vs UCF

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Cincinnati vs UCF live

Three have already been, so just three remain. One of those three is the Peach Bowl, which will pit the final undefeated FBS team, the UCF Golden Knights, against the SEC West Champion Auburn Tigers. Can UCF stay undefeated or will Auburn bounce back from a loss in the SEC Championship game?

Gus Malzahn has done a good job at the Jordan Hare. Despite some murmurs that Malzahn was on the hot seat this season, the Tigers are looking strong and this season was ultimately another sign of that.

Those murmurs and groans were getting loud after the first three weeks. They dispatched of Georgia Southern in their season opener and then faced the Clemson Tigers the following week. That game was ugly, for Auburn’s offense. They lost 14-6 in a game that saw Jarrett Stidham receive hit after hit. They followed that up with a very poor 24-10 win against FCS side Mercer. Auburn didn’t look that good.

With Alabama, LSU, and Georgia still on the schedule, things didn’t look good for Malzahn and the Tigers. However, that didn’t seem to faze them. The Tigers rolled through the rest of their schedule, scoring 40+ points in all but two games. Of those nine games, they won eight. Despite losing to LSU, 27-23, they stomped the undefeated and number one ranked Bulldogs, 40-17.

Wisconsin vs Purdue

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Purdue approaches Tuesday’s home game against Wisconsin, the team is doing all it can to ignore superlatives and focus on basketball.

Purdue (17-2, 6-0 Big Ten) will look to tie the best 20-game start in program history with a win over the Badgers, and its best since the 1987-88 season.

Ranked No. 3 in the most recent polls and riding a 13-game win streak, the Boilermakers received one of 65 first-place votes, the first such vote since 1994 when Purdue reached the Final Four.

Senior center Isaac Haas, who averages 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, thinks the best way to block out distracting storylines is to work even harder.

“Rankings don’t mean anything right now,” Haas said. “We could lose every game from here on out and we’d be nothing. We’d be a big letdown. I don’t think we want that for ourselves, we don’t want that for our community … you just keep your head down and realize that it doesn’t really mean anything until March.”

Wisconsin (9-9, 2-3) has lost two in a row after defeating Indiana 71-61 on Jan. 2 but the Badgers still presents plenty of distractions of their own, including first team All-Big Ten forward Ethan Happ.

Happ averages 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field. He has six double-doubles this season and also leads Wisconsin in assists, averaging 3.4 per game.


MSU vs Duke Basketball

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MSU vs Duke Basketball live

college basketball rankings will tip off at 7 Tuesday at the United Center in Chicago for the seventh installment of the annual event — No. 4 Kansas takes on No. 5 Kentucky in the nightcap — and the fact it happens to be a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 is just one layer of what makes it such an intriguing early-season game.

Michigan State still remembers how poorly it played in the Champions Classic last season — Miles Bridges, in particular — when it got blown out by Kentucky in the first chance for a standout freshmen class to show what it was made of. They don’t intend to let the big stage get to them again this time.

There’s the showdown between two of the top freshmen in the country — Duke’s Marvin Bagley against Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr.

And then there’s the pitting of Hall of Fame coaches — Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. It’s one that Krzyzewski has dominated, winning 10 of 11 games against Izzo, and one that doesn’t sit well with the Spartans’ coach, whose only win over the Blue Devils came in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

“Every day,” Izzo said Monday when asked how often he thinks of his record against the Blue Devils. “It doesn’t sit very well with me. The truth of it is they’ve beaten us. There have been some fights, very few one-sided games. But that’s the next step for us. We have to learn to win big games on big stages. There’s no bigger stage than this tournament. There’s no bigger stage than playing Duke.”