By: Patrick O'Brien
Check out what to watch for around college basketball on Tuesday.
- Oklahoma looking to end struggles, while Red Raiders looking to remain No. 1 in Big-12
The Sooners and Red Raiders meet again as two Top-25 teams but times have changed since the early matchup in January. The last time these two met in Oklahoma, the Sooners’ defense shut down Texas Tech while Trae Young scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half to help propel Oklahoma to the 75-65 win over then No. 8 Texas Tech.
Now the Sooners come in losers of three straight and have gone 2-6 in their last eight, barely staying above .500 in conference play. Now in search of a desperate win, they go up against the Red Raiders who have won six straight and looking to hold their lead in the Big-12.
Texas Tech’s defense has picked up as of late, limiting their opponents to under 60 points in their last two outings but the Red Raiders struggled last time offensively vs. the Sooners. The defense will look to step up again and slow down the Sooners, who play a high tempo offense, are 8-1 when shooting over 50 percent and are 4-1 against Top-10 teams this season.
- SEC teams put their winning-streak on the line
Two of the hottest teams in the SEC meet up on Tuesday, as Texas A&M who recently entered back into the Top-25 this week, hits the road to take on Missouri. Both teams have won four straight in conference play and both are making a push for the NCAA tournament.
The Aggies come in facing yet another tough road with J.J. Caldwell being dismissed from the team, Jay Jay Chandler being suspended, and Duane Wilson suffering a season-ending injury. Even with three key losses, Texas A&M still possesses the power to continue their streak.
Some key matters to watch in this one is the frontcourt of both teams, as Missouri Jordan Barnett, Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon match up against DJ Hogg, Robert Williams and Tyler Davis. Hogg, Williams and Davis got the best in the first matchup and are coming off a 38-point, 27-rebound win vs. Kentucky. But the Aggies’ defense will have to defend the three, as Missouri is among the best from deep.
- Virginia hoping to bounce back vs. Canes
Virginia had their 15-game win streak snapped this past Saturday against the Hokies but the Cavs find themselves ranked No.1 in the country for the first time since December of 1983. The Hurricanes has had their struggles on the road but sit at 9-1 at home in Coral Gables, as head coach Jim Larranaga matches up against his old program.
Larranaga was assistant coach at Virginia from 1979-1986 and was part of the staff the last time the Cavaliers were ranked No. 1.
But when these two meet, it has been a grind-it-out of game, with Miami holding a 12-9 all-time record vs. Virginia and a 7-1 record in Coral Gables. Nevertheless, in nine of their last 10 meetings, it has been determined by single digits, including four in overtime.
- Round 2 between Collin Sexton and Tremont Waters
The two top point guards face off once again, as Sexton and the Crimson Tide took round one with a 74-66 win on the road vs. LSU. Tremont Waters did have a solid outing with 19 points while also helping force Sexton into nine turnovers. But Sexton has been stepping up his game of late, especially against top-tier teams.
Waters on the other hand has not fared so well, scoring single-digits in three of his last five, all of which have been losses for the Tigers. In four of those games, Waters shot under 25 percent and went 7-for-32 combined from behind the arc in the last five outings.
Consistency though will be the key factor to watch as the Crimson Tide have gone 0-3 in their last three games against unranked teams, compared to 3-0 vs. Top-25 teams.