A Guide To A LOADED Saturday of College Basketball

March is finally here. With that comes nice weather, MLB Spring Training, the Player’s Championship, but most importantly: March Madness. There is not a better two weeks in sports than the conference tournaments and the first round of the NCAA Tourney. It is crazy basketball where literally anything can happen. After UMBC upset UVA two years ago, literally any fucking thing is possible. Right here, I have everything you need to know on what to pay attention to today.

Conference Championship Games

The first bids for the tournament will be clinched today with the Mountain West and the Ohio Valley Conference playing their finals today. This is when it all begins. The madness always begins to unfold with the first teams clinching their spot in the 68 team bracket.

Mountain West Conference

Utah State (25-8) vs. San Diego State (30-1)

How and When to Watch
CBS @ 4:30 CT

SDSU has been on a magical run all season long. They were the last team in Division 1 to lose a game and they have spent about 10 weeks ranked in the top 10. They are a consensus number 1 seed in the tournament and that will not change if they win this game. It will change, however, if they are upset by a Utah State team fighting for it’s tournament life. Right now Team Rankings has them right on the outside looking in. Obviously that changes with a win today as they will get an automatic bid, but there is still a slight possibility they get in with a loss.

The Aggies are led by Senior PG Sam Merrill. Merrill leads the team in scoring at 19 per game and assists at 4 per game. He has been the go to guy for this team all season and that has showed in the MWC tourney. In two games he is averaging 28 PPG, 4 APG, and 3.5 RPG. The Aggies go as he goes, and he is going to need to come up HUGE today to be able to pull off the upset.

Scoring will be at a premium for the Aggies though as SDSU is third in the country allowing only 59 PPG on the season. They have allowed more than 70 points only 4 times this season and the most points scored against them is 76. For perspective, they have allowed less than 50 points in a game the same amount of times. 4. Their team defense has been incredible and is obviously a huge reason they are sitting at 30-1 right now.

Utah State will need all hands on deck, including Neemias Queta and Justin Bean. Bean is 20th in the nation averaging almost 4 offensive boards per game and he is going to need to be all over the offensive glass against the defensive minded Aztecs. Merrill is going to need all the help he can get from his second and third leading scorers.

San Diego State is also led by their PG in Malachi Flynn. Flynn averages 18 points and 5 assists per game this season and he is the leader of that phenomenal defense. Flynn averages two steals a game and his matchup with Sam Merrill is must watch. Guys like Matt Mitchell and Yanni Wetzell will need to step up big time for SDSU to complete the 31-1 season. Flynn’s matchup may get him gassed and he will need Mitchell and Wetzell to step up on the offensive end.

Not only will those two need to step up on the offensive end, but they will be responsible for keeping Justin Bean off the offensive glass. Wetzell is 6’10” and he will need to find Bean on every shot attempt by the Aggies. Even at almost 7 foot though, the Aussie struggle on the boards only averaging 6 boards in 28 minutes per game. He lacks the explosiveness to really go after the ball and that might bite him in the ass today.

Prediction

I think San Diego State gets some big stops down the stretch in a close game.
SDSU wins 72-68.

Ohio Valley Conference

Murray State (23-8) vs. Belmont (25-7)

How and When to Watch
ESPN2 @ 7:00 CT

Murray State and Belmont are perennially the two best teams in the OVC. Since 2010 one of these teams has repped the conference in the Big Dance 6 times, including Murray State for the last 2 years. Murray State really doesn’t fail to impress as they have recruited plenty of talent including absolute STUD Ja Morant. He did this to Belmont in the 2019 OVC Championship game…

I’m sure Belmont will be looking for some kind of revenge and this is the year they may actually get it. Belmont led the OVC in scoring offense with 80 PPG while also finishing second in scoring defense allowing only 68 PPG. They are 11th in the entire nation in scoring margin and it has been an impressive season for the Bruins to say the least.

The Belmont Bruins are led by guards Grayson Murphy and Adam Kunkel. Kunkel is their go to scorer averaging almost 17 a game while Murphy is probably their all around best player. He averages 10/8/6 and is constantly filling up the stat sheet.

On the other side Murray State is led by PG Tevin Brown. Brown is fifth in the OVC in scoring at 18 per game while also leading the Racers in assists. Ja Morant is not walking through that door and the Racers will need Brown to be the star today to pull the upset.

Prediction

The teams split their 2 regular season meetings with the home team winning both games. I think Belmont gets enough scores against Murray State’s top ranked defense to get in the Big Dance for the first time since 2015.
Belmont wins 68-61

Regular Season Finales

North Carolina at Duke

How and When to Watch
ESPN @ 5:00 CT

The best rivalry in all of sports will take center stage tonight. Especially after the last instant classic they played in.

No matter where these two teams are in the rankings, this game is always a fucking classic! Both teams always come to play and I expect nothing different tonight.

Cole Anthony and Garrison Brooks have been playing their best ball of the season over the last 3 games averaging 24 and 27 PPG respectively. North Carolina as a team has looked its best in the last week or two and they are fighting for seeding in the ACC tournament. No matter the outcome tonight UNC will have to win 5 games in 5 days to get a spot in the Dance. They need Cole Anthony to his best Kemba Walker impression in the next week.

Duke is fighting to get back on the 2 line and a loss tonight will not help their case. The Blue Devils have not looked great lately losing 3 of their last 5 with all 3 losses coming to unranked (at the time) opponents.

UNC-Duke is always appointment television so just do yourself a favor and watch this game.

Louisville @ Virginia

How and When to Watch
ESPN @ 3:00 CT

Boston College at Florida State

How and When to Watch
ACC Network @ 3:30 CT

These two games are together because Florida State and Louisville are currently tied atop the ACC. Obviously Louisville has a much tougher task ahead as traveling to Virginia is always tough. Louisville will need Jordan Nwora to be an anomaly today against defensive powerhouse UVA. FSU is going to win and L’ville will need Nwora to be fucking HUGE if they want to have a chance against the Cavaliers.

Big East

Seton Hall at Creighton

How and When to Watch
FOX @ 1:30 CT

Villanova at Georgetown

How and When to Watch
FOX @ 11:00 CT

These games are moot if Seton Hall beats Creighton. Seton Hall would win the Big East Regular Season Championship. If Creighton wins though, they would clinch at least a share of the Big East. If Creighton wins and Villanova had beaten Georgetown, all 3 teams (SH, Crei, Vill) would share the title.

Seton Hall will need Myles Powell to be huge for the Pirates to win their first sole conference championship since 1993.

Creighton on the other hand needs big show outs from Ty-Shon ALexander and Marcus Zegarowski. Those 2 need to outdo their season average of 17 and 15 per night for Creighton to clinch a share of the title.

I think Myles Powell shows why he is a candidate for national player of the year in a huge win for the Pirates.

Big 12

Baylor at West Virginia

How and When to Watch
ESPN+ @ 12:00 CT

Kansas at Texas Tech

How and When to Watch
ESPN @ 1:00 CT

KU is 16-1 in the Big 12 while Baylor is 15-2. Both teams have extremely tough road matchups today and KU can clinch the sole Big 12 Championship with a win. Baylor needs a KU loss to clinch a share of the title.

Texas Tech has not been playing well of late, losing 3 in a row to OU, Texas, and Baylor. Kansas is going to fucking feast on their poor play and there may be nobody playing better in the entire country than Udoka Azubuike. Even with a dud against KSU, Azubuike is averaging 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks over his last 4 games.

Give me Azubuike and KU to clinch the Big 12 with a big road win over TTU. This KU team is going to be the favorite heading into the tourney and for good fucking reason. They are so balanced and having a dominant big man is a blessing in March.

Big 10

The Big 10 finishes up tomorrow so I will get something out early tomorrow morning because that conference is jam packed at the top. Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan State, and Illinois all have a shot at a share of the Big 10 title. Wisconsin is in action today on the road at Indiana and with a win guarantees themselves a share of the championship.

Tomorrow Maryland hosts Michigan, Illinois hosts Iowa, and MSU hosts OSU. A loaded Sunday on top of a loaded Saturday. What more can you ask for?!

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