College basketball’s top matchups to watch: Hunter Dickinson, Trayce Jackson-Davis duel headlines packed slate
Qualifying Sunday is four weeks and two days away and teams across the country are struggling for a variety of reasons. The Big Ten championship race is almost over (thanks, Purdue, for ruining the fun), and Alabama looks about to run away with the SEC crown. The Pac-12 race is like a two-man duel between Arizona and UCLA while the ACC, Big East and Big 12 reach their peak levels of absurdity and so many teams still stand a real chance with the regular season just a few weeks. calendar.
Lots of other programs are trying to improve resumes ahead of March Madness. There are only a few opportunities left to earn tasty Quad 1 victories.
Saturday’s roster is absolutely loaded from top to bottom with key matches that can rock banner hunter teams and “Oh my God, we’re in a bubble” teams.
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Let’s take a look at eight of the hottest head-to-heads between some of college basketball’s biggest stars.
Trace Jackson-Davies of Indiana vs. Hunter Dickinson of Michigan
WHO: No. 18 in Indiana (17-7, 8-5 in the Big Ten) in Michigan (14-10, 8-5)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 6 evening Eastern European time ESPN
Scoop: Jackson-Davies and Dickinson are the top two big men in the Big Ten. They fought duels frequently throughout their fairy careers. Everyone left bloodied and beaten. Last year, Dickinson edged out Jackson-Davis with 25 points in the first round. Jackson-Davies returned it to Dickinson with 24 points in the 2022 Big Ten tournament. Hopes for the NCAA Tournament in Michigan are on thin ice, so expect Dickinson to make an incredible effort. But it’s the best basketball Jackson-Davies has played all year. Dickinson at times struggled to defend himself in space, and Jackson-Davies kept everyone divided for over a month.
Tiger Campbell of UCLA vs. Will Richardson of Oregon
WHO: No. 7 UCLA (20-4, 11-2 in Pac-12) in Oregon (15-10, 9-5)
When: Saturday, 11 Feb. 10 evening Eastern European time ESPN
Scoop: Campbell and Richardson know each other very well. The veteran guards have matched up with each other time and time again throughout their fabulous tenure. UCLA needs to take care of business to get ahead of hot Arizona in the race for the Pac-12 championship. Oregon has slowly returned to the bubble, and a quad 1 victory over UCLA will likely put The Ducks in the Big Dance picture. Campbell and Jaylen Clark are some of the toughest defensemen in the country. Richardson is the head snake in Oregon’s offense, and he’s facilitating at a career-high pace. If Campbell shuts down Richardson, Oregon’s attack could drag on for a long time.
Jeremy Roach of Duke vs. Rhys Beekman of Virginia
WHO: Duke (17-7, 8-5 in ACC) at No. 8 Virginia (18-4, 10-3)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 4 evening Eastern European time ESPN
scoop: Roach returned to Duke’s roster, and in five games in a row, the Blue Devils looked much more connected. Then on Monday, Miami literally blew Duke’s doors open. On Saturday, Duke faces a big bout against a veteran Virginia backcourt. Beekman is a nasty ball-handling defender who can take your lunch for 40 minutes. Duke’s two-man game with Roach and ACC Freshman of the Year leader Kyle Filipowski was excellent, but Beekman alone can blow this fight up with his ability to just turn down a watch. Whoever wins the Beekman-Roach match will most likely decide the Virginia-Duke winner.
Terrence Shannon Jr. of Illinois vs. Caleb McConnell of Rutgers
WHO: No. 24 Rutgers (16–8, 8–5 in the Big Ten) in Illinois (16–7, 7–5)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 2 Evening Eastern European Time FS1
scoop: Second place in the Big Ten is like a baton that a bunch of different teams in the league keep passing. Both Rutgers and Illinois are battling for the relay, and it’s a matchup between one of the nation’s top-scoring transfers (Shannon) and one of the nation’s elite quarterbacks (McConnell). Shannon hasn’t had any of his patented explosive games in a long time, but McConnell is a game for really good scorers. Shannon has a lightning-fast first step and opposing coaches call him the best athlete in the league. McConnell counterattacks with a big wingspan, amazing instincts and an average competitive streak. If McConnell forces Shannon to have an ineffective filming night, Rutgers could walk out with that seemingly slippery stick.
UConn’s Adama Sanogo vs Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner
WHO: No. 21 UConn (19-6, 8-6 in the Big East) to No. 23 Creighton (16-8, 10-3)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 2 evening Eastern European time LISA
scoop: Sanogo completely gave Kalkbrenner the business in UConn’s 69-60 win over Creighton in early January. The Husky’s star big man eviscerated Kalkbrenner, scoring 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Creighton’s center scored just nine points in 32 minutes. You know Kalkbrenner wanted revenge. Omaha will appear during UConn visits, and Kalkbrenner has the tools to ask Sanogo questions. It’s a showdown between two of the Big East’s best big men and two conference teams that can hold the highest NCAA tournament caps. Take popcorn.
Brandon Miller of Alabama vs. Johnny Broom of Auburn
WHO: No. 3 Alabama (21-3, 11-0 in SEC) in Auburn (17-7, 7-4)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 2 evening Eastern European time ESPN
scoopA: Miller was the best freshman in the country, and far from it. At 6’9″ and 200 pounds, Wing has been an elite 3-point sharpshooter this season, but you can’t sleep on his cutting ability either. Miller is second on the team in shooting under the basket. But the free cheese on the edge is something Broom just refuses to give up without a fight. The Morehead State transfer is one of the best punch blockers in the SEC and he throws even more punches. Miller will test Auburn’s elite defense under the rim.
Joe Toussaint of West Virginia vs. Marcus Carr of Texas
WHO: West Virginia (15-9, 4-7 in Big 12) 5th in Texas (19-5, 8-3)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 12:00 ET. ESPN2
scoop: Three weeks ago, Texas exited the WVU Coliseum 69-61 because Carr was the best player on the court. The Texas veteran scored 23 points on just 14 shots. He added three passes. West Virginia bulldog quarterback Joe Toussaint did not compete in the first match. Toussaint played just 10 minutes and quickly saddled up three fouls. Bob Huggins needs Toussaint to stay out of trouble to slow down Carr and those Texas guards. Toussaint has been one of WVU’s top defensemen this season. Like it or not, the judging will have a lot to say in this outcome. Toussaint hasn’t come across a manual check he wouldn’t want to use and it will stay in your grill for 94 feet. If officials allow Toussaint to show physicality with Carr, it could really change the outcome of Saturday for two teams in the NCAA Tournament.
PJ Hall of Clemson vs. Armando Backot of North Carolina
WHO: Clemson (18-6, 10-3 in ACC) in North Carolina (15-9, 7-6)
When: Saturday, February 11th. 2 evening Eastern European time ESPN2
scoop: Clemson and North Carolina have to go into Saturday’s duel very desperately for two different reasons. Clemson lost two games in a row, and his lead in the ACC standings was gone, and his NCAA Tournament resume was also in jeopardy. North Carolina is comfortable with the bubble. Both big men need to show themselves big. Hall and Backot are the two top fives in the ACC. Each of them gave each other 24 points in a single match last season. Hall’s ability to get out of the game and muck up three-pointers is causing problems for Backot. Backot can come down on the other end and line up 10+ times against Hall. This is an exciting heavyweight fight with serious consequences.