The Lineup (2.12.18): Big-12 bubble watch/ UNC looking to finish strong/ Southern, MEAC top teams battle

By: Patrick O'Brien

This is what to look for around college basketball on this Monday.

  1. Tar Heels looking to finish off 3-game outing strong

It has been a good week for the reigning National Champions, taking down their two rivals in Duke and NC State in the last five days.  But it doesn’t end there, as this will be their third game in the last five days when they take on the Fighting Irish, a team they barely beat by one the last go around.  The Heels have to be careful though, as the starters for Notre Dame have been coming on, especially the guard play and outside shooting.  Notre Dame is also looking for their third straight win in hopes to finish out the season strong, as the Irish have hit 26 three-pointers in their last two games and have averaged 90 points per game.

  1. Big-12 teams battling for NCAA tournament berth

On Monday night, it will be a battle in the Big-12 for teams that are looking to make the NCAA tournament.  TCU and West Virginia matchup in Morgantown, as these two teams have a solid chance of making the tournament as of right now but have struggled as of late in conference play.  TCU cruised past Texas over the weekend but have gone 4-4 in their last eight games.  West Virginia’s weekend loss at home is only the tip of the iceberg for the Mountaineers, as WVU has a 3-6 record in their last nine games and continue to search for answers, oddly enough at home.

Baylor and Texas also matchup Monday, as these two may be looking on the outside right now but are looking to finish strong making their case.  Baylor started that off right with their weekend win against Kansas and have now won three in a row.  Now the Bears take on the Longhorns, a team they defeated earlier in the season in hopes to continue their winning-streak before heading into their matchup against Texas Tech.  Consistency may be the word though to look for with Texas, as well as getting over the hump.  After a lack-luster showing against TCU and having two of their last three losses come by only five points, the Longhorns are hoping to find ways to secure some big wins to end the season.

  1. Battle of top teams in Southern Conference

East Tennessee State and UNC-Greensboro have proven that they are a force to reckon with and are the top two teams in the Southern conference.  ETSU sits on top with a 22-4 overall record and undefeated in conference play, already holding a win against UNCG at home.  Now they travel to Greensboro to take on UNCG, a team that sits at 19-6 overall and 10-2 in the conference. 

It will be an interesting difference in styles on Monday, as ETSU ranks 23rd in the nation inside the arc percentage wise and ranks 32nd in the nation in effective field-goal percentage.  The Spartans showcase though how troubling they can be behind the arc, ranking 19th in the country in percentage points from behind the arc.  Even though it may not ultimately shift the Southern Conference, ETSU could almost wrap up the regular-season conference or UNCG could make it much more interesting.

  1. MEAC Conference on the line

In their only meeting on the year, Savannah State and North Carolina A&T battle it out for the top spot in the MEAC Conference on Monday.  Savannah State has now won eight in a row behind their high-powered offense, ranking 7th in the nation in points per game (88.5).  NC A&T have stumbled as of late, going 3-2 in their last five but hope to reclaim the top overall spot.  The Aggies are looking to prove that they can make their second appearance in the NCAA tournament, their first since 2013 while Savannah State has never made the tournament, even after claiming their first regular-season title in 2012.