Depending on how much the national rankings change this coming week, there are currently only five games featuring Top 25 teams scheduled for Sunday and Monday. The highest ranked teams that will take the court include the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes hosting the 20th-ranked Michigan Wolverines Sunday at 1:00 p.m. (ET) on CBS and the second-ranked Missouri Tigers visiting the Texas Longhorns the following day in the second game of ESPN’s Big Monday doubleheader at 9:00 p.m. (ET).
The Buckeyes (18-3 overall, 6-2 in conference play) are in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings with Michigan (16-5, 6-2) and the 10th-ranked Michigan State Spartans (17-4, 6-2). They have won three straight following a 79-74 road loss to the Illinois llini (15-5, 4-3) back on January 10.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines have alternated wins and losses in their last five games, ending a five-game road losing streak with a 66-64 victory against the Purdue Boilermakers (14-7, 4-4) last Tuesday. That win also was their first game in the last six that went ‘over’ the total.
Ohio State has won the past five meetings with Michigan along with seven of eight. However, the Wolverines have covered the spread in each of the last six games between the teams, staying within double digits in the past four.
Three other games including Top 25 teams are scheduled for Sunday, including the 24th-ranked Connecticut Huskies (14-5, 4-3) against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-8, 5-3) at noon (ET) in a Big East battle, the seventh-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (17-3, 4-1) against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-12, 1-5) at 6:00 p.m. (ET) in an ACC affair and the 16th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers (16-5, 4-5) against the Iowa Hawkeyes (11-10, 3-5) at 6:00 p.m. (ET) in Big Ten play.
In Big 12 action on Monday, Missouri (18-2, 5-2) figures to drop in the rankings but should at least stay in the Top 10 and possibly the Top 5 despite falling 79-72 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-10, 3-4) on the road last Wednesday. The Tigers will be coming off a home game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-12, 0-7) on Saturday but face a Texas team that is 12-1 at home this season.
The Longhorns (13-7, 3-4) snapped a three-game skid with a 62-55 home win against the Iowa State Cyclones (14-6, 4-3) last Tuesday but had a tough road matchup with the sixth-ranked Baylor Bears (18-2, 5-2) on Saturday. Texas lost 84-73 to Missouri at home in the first meeting this year on January 14, failing to cover the 9 ½-point spread with the total going ‘over’ 143 points.
The first game of ESPN’s Big Monday doubleheader tips off at 7:00 p.m. and features basketball’s version of the “Backyard Brawl” between the Big East’s West Virginia Mountaineers (15-6, 5-3) and Pittsburgh Panthers (12-9, 1-7). The Mountaineers will be back home after playing two in a row on the road, including a trip to visit the third-ranked Syracuse Orange (21-1, 8-1) on Saturday. They had lost 78-62 in their previous game against the St. John’s Red Storm (9-11, 3-6) on Wednesday.
The Panthers ended an eight-game losing streak with an 86-74 home win against the Providence Friars (12-9, 1-7) last Wednesday. They have been one of the most disappointing teams in the country but saw point guard Trayvon Woodall put together his best performance in more than two months against Providence, as he scored 17 points and dished out nine assists after battling through groin and abdominal injuries. Pitt hosted the ninth-ranked Georgetown Hoyas (16-3, 6-2) on Saturday.