I made some progress last weekend. Limited progress.
I hit the two-point Oklahoma win over West Virginia -- not the score, though -- and I guessed Iowa’s 82-point total in its win over Michigan.
Should have picked Clemson, though. And Notre Dame over Duke, I guess.
But hey, it’s a winning record. For the weekend.
This weekend, however, could ruin everything. We’ll see.
Last week: 3-2
No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor, 12 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN: Ignore the bandages that both teams will sport in this matchup in Waco. The Bears needed double overtime to dismiss Kansas State on Wednesday night. And Oklahoma was the No. 1 team in America on Monday morning for the first time since the 1989-90 season, and it was the same squad that ended up on the wrong end of an 82-77 loss at Iowa State that night. The Big 12 is tough, man. A win would help Baylor maintain its post as the top team in the league. An Oklahoma victory likely would lock the Sooners into a tie for first place with the other two-loss squads in the conference. But the top 3-point-shooting team in America will open up a lead late against a Baylor team that’s 0-6 all time against top-ranked opponents (19.8 points-per-game margin, per ESPN Stats & Info research). Plus, there’s only one Buddy Hield.
Prediction: Oklahoma 85, Baylor 82
No. 7 Maryland at No. 11 Michigan State, 6:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN: For the first time since the 2006-07 season, Michigan State has lost three consecutive games (the team lost four in a row that season). A foot injury has sidelined Lourawls Nairn Jr. for the past two games, and his absence will impact Saturday’s matchup. Maryland is the only Big Ten squad with five players averaging double digits. Diamond Stone looks like a lottery pick. But the Terps struggled in previous road losses to Michigan and North Carolina. And now they’re on their way to a cauldron to face a Michigan State squad that’s desperate for a win. The Spartans’ past three opponents have shot 66 free throws combined. Maryland is shooting 76.1 percent from the charity stripe, a top-10 mark. That’s a problem for MSU. But not enough of an issue to keep Tom Izzo’s squad from ending this losing streak.
Prediction: Michigan State 77, Maryland 76
No. 16 Providence at No. 4 Villanova, 12:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, FOX: A massive winter storm on the East Coast pushed this game back a day. But that won’t change the fireworks in this crucial Big East matchup. This game pits the Big East’s most efficient offense (Nova) against its most efficient defense (Providence). Expect a tight game. But Nova has showcased its poise in tough wins over Georgetown, Seton Hall and Butler. Providence clearly has a high ceiling, but Kris Dunn’s 25 turnovers in his past five games should be a concern for the program’s fans.
Prediction: Villanova 68, Providence 65
Texas at No. 3 Kansas, 2 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN: The Longhorns defeated West Virginia in Morgantown this week, even though Isaiah Taylor finished 0-for-8. Significant win for the Longhorns and Shaka Smart. And now they’ll travel to Allen Fieldhouse to face a Kansas team that just stumbled in a lopsided loss at Oklahoma State. Hard to imagine Texas handing Bill Self his 10th loss at the Phog, however, when the Longhorns are shooting just 63 percent from the free throw line.
Prediction: Kansas 89, Texas 82
No. 22 Purdue at No. 9 Iowa, 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Big Ten Network: With 2:20 to go in the first half of their first meeting this season, Purdue held a 37-18 lead over Iowa. Game over, right? No. With 7:33 remaining in the game, a 70-63 home loss for the Boilermakers, Dom Uhl’s 3-pointer gave Iowa a 48-46 edge. That massive swing positioned Iowa to complete the most impressive Big Ten road win of the season and set the Hawkeyes up to make a serious run at the Big Ten title. They will start Sunday’s game the way they finished the first outing.
Prediction: Iowa 74, Purdue 70
No. 12 Arizona at California, 8:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN: Cuonzo Martin’s squad is desperate for a signature win, but the Bears must chase that key victory without senior Tyrone Wallace, who is out with a broken hand. Still, Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown will carry Cal to the quality win that has eluded the program all season.
Prediction: California 79, Arizona 77