Virginia travels to Duke on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN) for the marquee game of the college basketball weekend. Here’s how ESPN.com’s college basketball experts survey that and the assorted high games on the agenda enjoying out, while also weighing in on one of the most weekend’s pertinent concerns.
Myron Medcalf, senior college basketball author: Duke. Virginia has been presumably the most dominant team in The usa this season, and that lopsided glean over Virginia Tech this week punctuated the breathtaking effort for Tony Bennett’s program as much as now. But I’m selecting Duke, even though this can seemingly be with out Tre Jones, because I mediate presumably the most productive draw a team would possibly presumably even have an quite quite so much of against Virginia would be if it possessed a chain of freakish, long, versatile talents who would possibly presumably even (maybe) impose their will by incompatibility huge squad. I produce no longer mediate we now have seen presumably the most productive collective effort from Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and RJ Barrett yet, however I mediate we’re going to on Saturday.
Jeff Borzello, college basketball Insider: Virginia. Had Tre Jones been wholesome, I would have presumably long previous with Duke in a close one. With Jones seemingly out, in particular since or no longer it is Duke’s first game with out him, or no longer it is provocative to survey the Blue Devils operating cohesive offense against an elite half-court defense. The Cavaliers leisurely the tempo, protect close care of the ball and procure away with drives to the paint; appears like a recipe to beat Duke.
John Gasaway, college basketball author: Virginia, even though I think Mike Krzyzewski and the workers will procure the 5-day layoff between games to appropriate spend. Restful, right here’s what I will’t get around: Duke seemed unpleasant on offense in presumably the main half of the Texas Tech game very finest month, and that turn into with Jones. Correctly, the Cavaliers were doing the Texas Tech ingredient on D for a truly very long time, and, unlike the Red Raiders, Tony Bennett’s guys then turn around and create shots.
Jordan Schultz, Insider/analyst: Duke. The Blue Devils got a warning name in Monday night’s dwelling loss to Syracuse in OT, in particular with the ability expensive damage to freshman level guard Tre Jones. And, even though this would possibly presumably even be Tony Bennett’s simplest and most proficient team yet, procure a question to the younger Blue Devils to drive their draw into the open floor provocative satisfactory to head away the Hoos inclined in Cameron.
Medcalf: I will protect close Illinois going to Iowa and getting one other Big Ten glean on Sunday. After their 27-level glean over Minnesota on Wednesday, Brad Underwood’s squad somehow has a dose of self belief after a four-12 launch against a agenda ranked sixth general by Ken Pomeroy. Ayo Dosunmu, who has averaged 21.0 PPG over his very finest 5 games, is due for one other fine night in Iowa City, Iowa.
Borzello: Kentucky goes into Auburn and beats the Tigers. Are we certain Auburn is a high-three SEC team? The Tigers have lost their three toughest games this season: Duke, NC Notify and Ole Miss. I do know they haven’t lost a dwelling game within the previous two seasons, however I mediate the Wildcats can reach out with a glean. The main will seemingly be Ashton Hagans caring for the ball.
Gasaway: West Virginia shocks Kansas. The Mountaineers are 0-5 within the Big 12, however the one ingredient (successfully, rather worthy presumably the most productive ingredient) Bob Huggins’ males quiet produce is get offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are nothing particular on the defensive glass, and, besides, this would possibly presumably even merely be presumably the main outing to Morgantown for pretty a few KU guys no longer named Lagerald Vick.
Schultz: Notre Dame beats NC Notify in South Bend, handing the Wolfpack their 2d straight loss. Mike Brey’s membership has been near pretty a few fine wins no longer too long within the past, most no longer too long within the past in a seventy five-Sixty nine loss to North Carolina. No doubt, Kevin Keatts has flipped this as soon as-proud program, which currently ranks seventeenth within the nation, after very finest season’s match berth. Notre Dame, on the assorted hand, doesn’t turn the ball over — they’re 0.33 nationally with fewer than 10 per game — and repeatedly runs quality half-court offense. Discover for worthy of the linked to the Irish control the tempo from big identify Wolfpack level guard Markell Johnson and damage through with their simplest glean of the season.
Medcalf: Invoice Self, Kansas. I get it. It’s Invoice Self, and he has a high-10 recruiting class, and Dedric Lawson and the Jayhawks are repeatedly appropriate. But he has had a season of uncertainty attributable to Udoka Azubuike‘s injuries and Silvio De Sousa‘s suspension, and this team has quiet accrued wins over Tennessee, Marquette, Michigan Notify and Villanova. That is got to be appropriate for a neighborhood within the Coach of the 365 days convo.
Borzello: John Beilein, Michigan. I mediate it comes all of the trend down to Beilein or Texas Tech’s Chris Beard at this level, and the argument for Beilein is rather easy: The Wolverines have lost one in every of their very finest 32 games, the national title game against Villanova. Beilein lost three of his high 5 gamers from very finest season’s team, turn into barely ranked within the preseason Top 25, and yet is the seemingly No. 1 team within the nation after this weekend.
Gasaway: Rick Barnes, Tennessee. It turn into provocative 15 months within the past that the Volunteers were picked to abet out Thirteenth within the 2017-18 SEC. Now Barnes’ team is the league co-defending champion who provocative, by the trend, appears to be as if it would possibly maybe presumably also glean the 2019 national title. An SEC team is making us negate “Kentucky who?” Is that this COY ingredient even up for debate?
Schultz: Chris Beard, Texas Tech. What a job Chris Beard has finished in Lubbock. After guiding his Red Raiders to their first ever Elite Eight very finest season, he returns a truly finest better team, despite the lack of first-round draft quite quite so much of Zhaire Smith. Predominant, Beard has helped maximize the actual talents of rising wing Jarrett Culver — a Wood Award candidate — while also securing the nation’s No. 1-ranked defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
(Lines, published as they turn into available, from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.)