The calendar has turned to February, and by golly, that gets us one step closer to March Madness. That means conference races are heating up, tourney résumé’s are being built out, and as a result, games from here out in the regular season have a heightened level of significance.
In the Big 12 on Monday, that looks to be especially true as No. 2 Baylor — one of three unbeaten teams remaining — faces its highest-ranked opponent of the year when it takes on the sixth-ranked Texas Longhorns. It’s a game with seeding implications and conference title implications, as Baylor and Texas are 1-2 in the league’s standings.
There’s a number of consequential games on top Tuesday and our college hoops panel has picks for every game — Baylor-Texas among them — so dive in below and fade or follow as you please.
No. 2 Baylor at No. 6 Texas
When: 7 p.m. | Where: Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TexasTV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Baylor has won every game this season but two by double figures and is in the midst of one of the all-time great Big 12 runs, though it has yet to face a team as talented and experienced as Texas. But — and no disrespect here to Texas — will it even matter? The concern here is that UT has been shorthanded of late dealing with COVID issues and, while it is expected to be at full strength, it’s fair to predict the team won’t be totally in sync from the jump. Also a bit worried that Baylor can on any given night look like the best team in the sport, regardless of competition. I’m trusting Texas to cover despite all those circumstances — it is 3-1 against the number as a dog this season — but feel like betting against Baylor to lose is a risky proposition no matter the venue or competition. Prediction: Baylor 76, Texas 71 — Kyle Boone
When: 7 p.m. | Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, IowaTV: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Iowa is 8-2 against the number as a home favorite this season, while Michigan State is 1-2 against the number as a road underdog. Iowa is 12-4 on the season with the second-most efficient offense in college hoops, while Michigan State — losers of six of its last eight — is 8-6 and slipping quickly into irrelevance. Laying the points with Iowa and trusting this offense bounces back to form after two consecutive losses. Prediction: Iowa 90, Michigan State 75. — Kyle Boone
When: 7 p.m. | Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Tennessee is a total enigma, with a blowout win over Kansas on Saturday capping a month in which it lost to Florida by 26 and to Missouri at home by nine. And the big question around the Vols centers around their offense. That’s why I’m siding Tennessee here, after Ole Miss was beat handily in consecutive games against Arkansas and Georgia. If Tennessee gets to 70 it’ll win with the way its defense has played this season. I like my odds there with the recent struggles Ole Miss has had on both ends of the floor. Prediction: Tennessee 70, Ole Miss 64 — Kyle Boone
When: 7 p.m. | Where: Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South CarolinaTV: ACC Network | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
North Carolina has won six of its last eight, and meanwhile, Clemson meanwhile has lost four of its last five. These teams are drifting two vastly different directions. Add in UNC’s dominance in this series — it is 133-22 all-time — and I feel like the only choice here is to take UNC and lay the points, even on the road. This Clemson team isn’t right and after Duke beat it like a drum by 26 points on Saturday, I’m not sure a two-day layover will solve its problems. Prediction: North Carolina 74, Clemson 64. — Kyle Boone
When: 9 p.m. | Where: Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IndianaTV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Illinois is coming off a big win over Iowa and has won two-straight after losing two-straight. But it has at times this season followed up big performances with duds, and I’m just going to bet on this being one of those times. Additionally, Indiana needs a win to boost its resume and really solidify its standing as a tourney team. I’m sprinkling a little on this moneyline as an underdog bet. Prediction: Indiana 73, Illinois 71 — Kyle Boone
So who wins every college basketball game today? And which underdogs pull off stunning upsets? Visit SportsLine now to get picks for every game, all from the unbiased model that simulates every game 10,000 times, and find out.