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College Basketball Weekly Watch List: January 3-January 7

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College Basketball Weekly Watch List: January 3-January 7

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As we bring in the new year and college basketball inches towards March, programs are beginning to make their cases for a spot in the tournament while others are ready to consider their season a bust. Conference play is now underway, which will present some blockbuster match-ups from here on out. This week teams such as Oklahoma, Virginia, and even Butler will have a chance to prove themselves on the national stage, while Texas A&M, Villanova and Arizona State look to rebound after tough losses. Just like after every week, things are going to look a lot different once this week is complete in college basketball.


North Carolina at Florida State:

It is no secret that the North Carolina Tar Heels have been shaky as of late. This is the team that lost to Wofford and barely squeaked by Wake Forest on their home court. Joel Berry II is continuing to play good, but not at the level head coach Roy Williams needs him to be at in this time of year. Luke Maye, who you may remember from last year when he beat Kentucky at the buzzer in the Elite 8, has helped keep the defending champions afloat in the top 25, but will need help from his teammates in order to take down the Seminoles on the road. As for Florida State, they are coming off a loss to Duke at Cameron Indoor, but may have earned a moral victory as they nearly beat the Blue Devils in arguably the toughest venue n college basketball. FSU does a great job of spacing the floor leading to more open shots. They don’t necessarily have one main scorer, but look for C.J Walker to make a difference Wednesday evening. It is never easy to go against a team as good as North Carolina, but Florida State is playing better basketball and will be on their home court in Tallahassee. My prediction is the Seminoles will pull off the upset.

Virginia at Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech may not be ranked, but they definitely could be a tournament team at the end of the year. A win over one of their biggest rivals would most certainly be a resume builder. The Hokies are a three-loss team, with their worst loss coming at the hands of Saint Louis. They only have one win against a power six school (Iowa), which is concerning as they get set to play the #8 team in the country. Ahmed Hill needs to have a big night in order for the Hokies to pull the upset along with some help from Justin Bibbs and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. On the other side, Virginia has gotten off to a great start with only one loss, but still hasn’t proven to me that they are of top ten caliber. In their most recent game against Boston College, the Hokies only won by a point at home and have only played one ranked opponent, in which they lost to. I am putting the Cavaliers on upset alert, and a Virginia Tech win wouldn’t completely stun me, but I am still giving Virginia the edge in this one.

Games To Watch:

North Carolina at Florida State

Kentucky at LSU

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Virginia at Virginia Tech

Marquette at Providence


Florida State beats North Carolina

Kentucky beats LSU

Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State

Virginia beats Virginia Tech

Marquette beats Providence  



Besides Purdue, the Michigan State Spartans have seemingly been the only team in the Big Ten that looks legitimate. The number one team in the nation will welcome Maryland to East Lansing Thursday night as they look to retain their status as the top team in the country. If you haven’t heard of Miles Bridges, then you have probably been living under a rock. The sophomore stud is averaging 17 points a game and has been the biggest reason why the Spartans are top ranked in the country. Meanwhile, Maryland has lost three games, all of which have been by five points or less. Anthony Cowan Jr. and Justin Jackson are some of the Terrapins’ finest, but will both have to have season-high numbers to beat Michigan State on the road. This game will stay close in the first half, but the Spartans will pull away in the final twenty minutes.

Games to Watch:

Maryland at Michigan State

Cincinnati at Temple

Arizona at Utah


#1 Michigan State beats Maryland

Temple beats #19 Cincinnati

Arizona beats Utah  



Oregon at Oregon State:

Ever since this happened to Oregon, they have not been able to gain their mojo back. After reaching the Final Four last year, the Ducks haven’t been the same. In fact, ESPN predicts that their chances of making it to March Madness is quite slim. With Pac-12 play now underway, a win over their in state rivals could change things for the better. Payton Pritchard and Elijah Brown have been the two most dynamic Ducks on offense and have played solid on the defensive end as well. Neither player will need to have a huge night in order to beat the Oregon State Beavers as they are destined for yet another quiet year. If the Ducks fail to win Friday night, their confidence will be shot and their chances of them rebounding and making the tournament will be slim to none.

Games To Watch:

Wisconsin at Rutgers

Northwestern at Penn State

Oregon at Oregon State


Wisconsin beats Rutgers

Penn State beats Northwestern

Oregon beats Oregon State



Kansas at TCU:

It is safe to say that Jayhawk fans are getting nervous. Kansas has won the past 13 Big-12 conference championships and is one more title away from the college basketball record. But as of now it doesn’t like they are going to do it. KU lost to a decent Texas Tech team at home on Tuesday by more than they should have. They have been extremely inconsistent, especially from beyond the three point arc. Meanwhile, as they try to figure things out, teams such as Oklahoma and West Virginia are tearing it up in the conference. The Jayhawks will look to turn things around in their favor Saturday against the TCU Horned Frogs. If three point shooting isn’t working for KU, they need to get the ball down low in the paint to Udoka Azubuike. For the Frogs–who upset the Jayhawks in the first round of the Big-12 tournament last year–Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky have been seemingly unstoppable. As long as they get an A+ effort from the rest of their team, they could definitely lead TCU to their second straight win over Kansas. Although it has already happened once this year, it is quite rare to see the Jayhawks lose twice in a row. Bill Self will do what’s needed this week to help the players adjust and prepare for their game against the #16 team in the nation and will walk away with a win Saturday night.

Oklahoma at West Virginia:

Want watch Steph Curry again at the college level? Well look no further! Trae Young of the Oklahoma Sooners has been absolutely ridiculous this year. He is averaging an incredible 29.6 points per game and is making shots from the parking lot. Move aside Marvin Bagley, there is a new Wooden Award favorite. Teams have done all they can, but nobody has been able to shut down Young. That’s where this matchup gets interesting. The Mountaineers arguably have the best defense in the nation. Will somebody finally find an answer for this guy? It’s simple if the Mountaineers can shut down Young and score a fair amount of points, they will win this game. If not, forget it. Young is going to make it rain in Morgantown. In my opinion, WVU, backed by their home crowd, will finally find the key to beating this red-hot Sooners team.

North Carolina at Virginia:

The North Carolina Tar Heels’ huge week ends in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels have two big road games that could either send them back into the top ten, or perhaps out of the top 25. Meanwhile, Virginia is looking to prove that they can maintain a top ten spot. A lot is on the line in this game. Kyle Guy and Devon Hall have been mammoth for the Cavaliers and will both need to have high scoring games in order to defeat the defending champions. North Carolina, on the other hand, has three players that all have insane potential, but need perform to it in order to win. Joel Berry has had a shaky start and he, along with Kenny Williams, will need to be cool in the clutch if this game is close towards the end of the game. As far as Luke Maye, he just needs to keep doing his thing. The junior has played the best for the Tar Heels and is definitely on the Cavaliers’ radar. This game has the makings of a classic, but in the end, I like the Tar Heels earning the victory with a game-winning shot in the final seconds.

Games To Watch:

Seton Hall at Butler

Marquette at Villanova

Kansas at TCU

North Carolina at Virginia

Oklahoma at West Virginia  (Blockbuster of the Week)

Kentucky at Tennessee


Butler beats Seton Hall

Villanova beats Marquette

Kansas beats TCU

North Carolina beats Virginia

West Virginia beats Oklahoma

Kentucky beats Tennessee  



Florida State at Miami:

Miami has stepped back into the shadows after their recent loss to New Mexico State. They will be at home against a very experienced Florida State team. They Hurricanes have only played one ranked team this season (Minnesota), which was way back on November 29. Miami won’t know what they have coming, especially if Florida State defeats North Carolina. The ‘Canes will need huge games from Bewan Huell and Bruce Brown Jr. in order to have a chance. Yes, they are at home, so they have that going for them, but otherwise FSU will have all the momentum going into the game, eventually leading to a victory capping off a huge week for the Seminoles.

Games To Watch:

Michigan State at Ohio State

Florida State at Miami

Arizona State at Utah


Michigan State beats Ohio State

Florida State beats Miami

Arizona State beats Utah

This is going to be yet another crazy week in college basketball. There are plenty of good match-ups throughout the week as teams look to improve their resumes heading into March. With so many top 25 teams in action against other stellar programs, who knows what the rankings will look like next Monday.

Previous weeks record:



Overall record:



About the Writer
Joe Thomas, Author

Joe Thomas is a staff writer for The Forest Scout who has a burning passion for sports. He covers high school football, hockey and baseball along with...

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College Basketball Weekly Watch List: January 3-January 7