CBB Preview: Gonzaga Makes It 3 in Row as Conference Play Gets Into Full Swing

The Gonzaga Bulldogs held onto the top sot in the rankings for a third straight week, the first team to do so all season, and the road ahead looks pretty smooth. All 14 of the ‘Zags remaining opponents are from the West Coast Conference, of which only Mount St. Mary’s has managed to crack the top 25. Will a soft schedule cost them when March Madness rolls around? They’ve made the tournament the previous 21 years in a row without a title, the longest such streak in NCAA history.

Tuesday, January 7
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-3) vs #12 Maryland Terrapins (11-3)
7pm ET on ESPN
It was a tough week for Ohio State, who not only lost to Clemson in the College Football Playoffs, but also saw the basketball team drop their second straight, falling on Friday 61-57 to Wisconsin, despite Kaleb Wesson’s 22-13 effort. The Terps moved up three spots on the strength of Saturday’s 75-59 win over Indiana, with Jalen Smith putting up team highs in points and rebounds with 19 and 8, respectively.

#4 Baylor Bears (11-1) vs #22 Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-3)
9pm ET on ESPN
The Bears benefitted on Saturday from a full-blown collapse of the Texas offense, as the Longhorns hit just 3 of 16 from beyond the arc and 5 of 15 from the charity stripe, handing Baylor a 59-44 victory. Texas Tech smoked Oklahoma State on Saturday, 85-50, with Cowboys hitting just 28.8 percent from the floor to Texas Tech’s 54.5 percent.

Wednesday, January 8
#10 Florida State Seminoles (13-2) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-5)
7:30pm ET on ACCNX Florida State pulled off an upset on Saturday, beating then #7 Louisville 78-65 in Louisville, with M.J. Walker coming off the bench to score 23 points. Wake Forest climbed out of a 14-point hole on Saturday to beat Pitt 69-65 as Ismael Massoud came off the bench to score a team high 14 points.

#2 Duke Blue Devils (13-1) vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-7)
9pm ET on ACC
Duke won on Saturday, beating Florida 95-62, but lost Wendell Moore Jr. indefinitely after the freshman forward broke his hand late in the game and subsequently underwent surgery. Georgia Tech joined the parade on Saturday of teams that have beaten UNC this season, winning 96-83, led by Jose Alvarado’s 25 points, 8 assists and 6 steals.

Thursday, January 9
#21 Memphis Tigers (12-2) vs #23 Wichita State Shockers (13-1)
7pm ET on ESPN2
The Tigers tumbled 12 spots in the rankings after losing on Saturday to Georgia, 65-62, due in no small part to having made just 11 of 20 free throws. The Shockers built a 15-point halftime lead before coasting to a 74-54 win Saturday over Ole Miss, behind a game-high 29 points from sophomore guard Erik Stevenson.

Purdue Boilermakers (9-6) vs #19 Michigan Wolverines (10-4)
7pm ET on FS1
The Boilermakers spent their Sunday laying bricks, as they hit 25 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the free throw line en route to a 63-37 loss to Illinois, as Sasha Stefanovic led the team in scoring with eight points. The Wolverines dropped seven spots after losing Sunday 87-69 to Michigan State, as they made just 5 of 23 from downtown, while the Spartans hit 7 of 15.

Friday, January 10
#12 Maryland Terrapins (12-2) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (10-4)
7pm ET on FS1
The Terps are about to find out what their really made of as they head into the hard part of conference play, as 6 of their last 16 games are against ranked opponents. Iowa fell out of the top 25 following their 89-86 loss on Sunday to Penn State after being up 76-71 with 5:24 to play, thereby wasting a 34-12 effort from Luka Garza.

#6 Butler Bulldogs (14-1) vs Providence Friars (9-6)
9pm ET on FS1
Sean McDermott led the way for Butler with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the team’s 71-57 win on Saturday over Creighton. The Friars blew a 10-point lead over DePaul with six minutes to play on Sunday, before salvaging a 66-65 victory on Nate Watson’s last-second free throw.

Saturday, January 11
#13 Louisville Cardinals (11-3) vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-4)
2pm ET on ESPN
Jordan Nwora scored 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough as Arizona fell 78-65 to Florida State, as his teammates managed to shoot just 27.7 percent from the field. The Irish had three guys scored 20+ in the team’s 88-87 win Sunday over Syracuse, with John Mooney posting game-highs in points, 28, and rebounds, 14.

Arizona State Sun Devils (9-5) vs #9 Oregon Ducks (12-3)
10:30pm ET on PAC12
The Sun Devils fell to the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday, 75-47, as they hit just 3 of 21 from three-point land and 8 of 19 from the charity stripe. Payton Pritchard again led the way for the Ducks on Saturday, with 19 points, four rebounds and five assists in a 69-64 win over Utah.

Sunday, January 12
#21 Memphis Tigers (12-2) vs South Florida Bulls (8-7)
4pm ET on ESPN2
The Tigers are 3-1 since the NCAA drove freshman James Wiseman out of school and into the NBA draft. Laquincy Rideau posted a 17-8-6 in the Bulls’ 75-60 win on Sunday over UConn. Rideau now leads the American Athletic Conference in games, field goal attempts, steals, turnovers, and fouls.

#24 Arizona Wildcats (11-3) vs Oregon State Beavers (11-3)
10pm ET on FS1
On Sunday, the ‘Cats rebounded from dropping three of four by crushing Arizona State 75-47 as Zeke Nnaji’s 17-11 were both team highs. The Beavers beat Colorado on Sunday, 76-68, with Ethan Thompson having team highs in points, rebounds and assists with 24-9-5.

Stats through Monday, courtesy of SRCBB