Miami celebra el título de los Heat

Miami Heat celebra con un desfile en las calles de Miami el título de la NBA.

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: The Larry O'Brien Trophy sits on display during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: The Larry O'Brien Trophy sits on display during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat rides in a victory parade through the streets during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Oklahoma Thunder to win the NBA title. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat rides in a victory parade through the streets during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Oklahoma Thunder to win the NBA title. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Fans cheer as Miami Heat players pass by in a victory parade through the streets during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Oklahoma Thunder to win the NBA title. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Fans cheer as Miami Heat players pass by in a victory parade through the streets during a celebration for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat beat the Oklahoma Thunder to win the NBA title. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat celebrates during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat celebrates during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat celebrates during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat celebrates during a rally for the 2012 NBA Champion Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on June 25, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School. Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game: The Syracuse players are joining the Miami players in wearing these t-shirts today.
PHOTOS: Miami, Syracuse wear shirts honoring Florida shooting victims
Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School. Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game: The Syracuse players are joining the Miami players in wearing these t-shirts today.
Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School. Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game: The Syracuse players are joining the Miami players in wearing these t-shirts today.
PHOTOS: Miami, Syracuse wear shirts honoring Florida shooting victims
Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School. Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game: The Syracuse players are joining the Miami players in wearing these t-shirts today.
The Marlins' right-hander is happy he's still in Miami, despite the team's busy offseason that saw the departure of several stars.
Marlins' pitcher Dan Straily 'glad' Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich were traded
The Marlins' right-hander is happy he's still in Miami, despite the team's busy offseason that saw the departure of several stars.
Miami-Dade County government has opened a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as they seek to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County sues Jeffrey Loria over sale of Marlins
Miami-Dade County government has opened a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as they seek to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County government has opened a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as they seek to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County sues Jeffrey Loria over sale of Marlins
Miami-Dade County government has opened a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as they seek to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County Suing Fmr. & Current Miami Marlins Owners
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County Suing Fmr. & Current Miami Marlins Owners
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County Suing Fmr. & Current Miami Marlins Owners
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami-Dade County Suing Fmr. & Current Miami Marlins Owners
Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.
Miami Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter smiles as he watches the team during spring training baseball practice Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Miami-Dade County sues seeking money from sale of Marlins
Miami Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter smiles as he watches the team during spring training baseball practice Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ARCHIVO - En esta foto del 5 de julio de 2017, Edinson Vólquez lanza por los Marlins de Miami ante los Cardenales de San Luis. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
ARCHIVO - En esta foto del 5 de julio de 2017, Edinson Vólquez lanza por los Marlins de Miami ante los Cardenales de San Luis. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
ARCHIVO - En esta foto del 5 de julio de 2017, Edinson Vólquez lanza por los Marlins de Miami ante los Cardenales de San Luis. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
El director general de los Marlins de Miami, el ex pelotero Derek Jeter, sonríe al seguir los entrenamientos de primavera del equipo el miércoles 14 de febrero de 2018, en Jupiter, Florida. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
El director general de los Marlins de Miami, el ex pelotero Derek Jeter, sonríe al seguir los entrenamientos de primavera del equipo el miércoles 14 de febrero de 2018, en Jupiter, Florida. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
El director general de los Marlins de Miami, el ex pelotero Derek Jeter, sonríe al seguir los entrenamientos de primavera del equipo el miércoles 14 de febrero de 2018, en Jupiter, Florida. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
Jeffrey Loria, current Marlins owners being sued by Miami-Dade County
Jeffrey Loria, current Marlins owners being sued by Miami-Dade County
Jeffrey Loria, current Marlins owners being sued by Miami-Dade County
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Miami Marlins' Dan Straily warms up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Pitcher Dan Straily and Miami argued their arbitration case Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Straily, eligible for the first time, asked for a raise from $552,100 to $3.55 million from James Darby, Sylvia Skratek and Francis. The Marlins argued for $3,375,000. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Dan Straily, Brandon Maurer lose in salary arbitration
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Miami Marlins' Dan Straily warms up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Pitcher Dan Straily and Miami argued their arbitration case Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Straily, eligible for the first time, asked for a raise from $552,100 to $3.55 million from James Darby, Sylvia Skratek and Francis. The Marlins argued for $3,375,000. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
FILE- In this Sept. 22, 2017, file photo, Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett runs the bases after hitting a grand slam off Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello in the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati. Miami pitcher Dan Straily and Kansas City pitcher Brandon Maurer argued their salary arbitration cases Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, and Cincinnati second baseman Gennett awaits a hearing. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Dan Straily, Brandon Maurer lose in salary arbitration
FILE- In this Sept. 22, 2017, file photo, Cincinnati Reds' Scooter Gennett runs the bases after hitting a grand slam off Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello in the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati. Miami pitcher Dan Straily and Kansas City pitcher Brandon Maurer argued their salary arbitration cases Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, and Cincinnati second baseman Gennett awaits a hearing. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - In this July 5, 2017, file photo, Miami Marlins starting pitcher Edinson Volquez throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. Volquez has agreed to a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, returning to his original team with a chance to be a candidate for the rotation in 2019. The 34-year-old Volquez will not pitch this season while recovering from ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow last August. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Volquez returns to Rangers on minor deal while recovering
FILE - In this July 5, 2017, file photo, Miami Marlins starting pitcher Edinson Volquez throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. Volquez has agreed to a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, returning to his original team with a chance to be a candidate for the rotation in 2019. The 34-year-old Volquez will not pitch this season while recovering from ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow last August. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Fla. school shooting suspect was flagged to cops, FBI
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Fla. school shooting suspect was flagged to cops, FBI
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Fla. school shooting suspect was flagged to cops, FBI
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Fla. school shooting suspect was flagged to cops, FBI
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and FBI Miami field office special agent in charge, Robert Lasky, detail previous tips and calls they had received about Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
The Dolphins donated $100,000 to the Stoneman Douglas victims&#8217; fund set up by the Broward County Education Fund, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. The team made two separate $50,000 donations, because that was the maximum donation. The Dolphins&#8217; donations pushed the fund over $1 million. &#8220;Our hope is to encourage people to make [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/02/16/dolphins-donate-100000-to-victims-fund/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Dolphins donate $100,000 to victims’ fund
The Dolphins donated $100,000 to the Stoneman Douglas victims’ fund set up by the Broward County Education Fund, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. The team made two separate $50,000 donations, because that was the maximum donation. The Dolphins’ donations pushed the fund over $1 million. “Our hope is to encourage people to make [more]
The Dolphins donated $100,000 to the Stoneman Douglas victims&#8217; fund set up by the Broward County Education Fund, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. The team made two separate $50,000 donations, because that was the maximum donation. The Dolphins&#8217; donations pushed the fund over $1 million. &#8220;Our hope is to encourage people to make [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/02/16/dolphins-donate-100000-to-victims-fund/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Dolphins donate $100,000 to victims’ fund
The Dolphins donated $100,000 to the Stoneman Douglas victims’ fund set up by the Broward County Education Fund, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports. The team made two separate $50,000 donations, because that was the maximum donation. The Dolphins’ donations pushed the fund over $1 million. “Our hope is to encourage people to make [more]
<p>Marlins pitcher Dan Straily isn’t going to miss his teammates who asked to be traded during Miami’s winter fire sale. </p><p>Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich were shipped out of town after making it clear that they didn’t want to be part of the Marlins’ drastic rebuilding efforts. Straily, though, is looking forward to being one of the leaders on an inexperienced club. </p><p>“I’m glad they’re gone,” <a href="http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/22467754/marlins-pitcher-dan-straily-says-glad-giancarlo-stanton-christian-yelich-gone" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Straily told reporters on Friday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Straily told reporters on Friday</a>. “If they don’t want to be here, good for them.”</p><p>Not only is Straily happy to stick it out through the roster overhaul, he’s completely on board with the slash and burn strategy. </p><p>“I really agreed with what happened,” he said. “I feel like with the pieces they brought in, this might flip around a little quicker than people realize. I’m not saying today, but I’m excited to be here and try to mentor guys coming into the big leagues for the first time.”</p><p>Straily, 29, started 33 games for the Marlins last season and posted a 4.26 ERA. He and Jose Urena are the only two locks to make the starting rotation and will compete for the right to be the Opening Day starter. </p><p>A few of Straily’s current teammates have also asked to be traded but haven’t had their requests granted. Starlin Castro, acquired from the Yankees in the Stanton trade, wants out, as does catcher J.T. Realmuto.</p>
Marlins’ Dan Straily on Players Who Asked to Be Traded: ‘I’m Glad They're Gone’

Marlins pitcher Dan Straily isn’t going to miss his teammates who asked to be traded during Miami’s winter fire sale.

Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich were shipped out of town after making it clear that they didn’t want to be part of the Marlins’ drastic rebuilding efforts. Straily, though, is looking forward to being one of the leaders on an inexperienced club.

“I’m glad they’re gone,” Straily told reporters on Friday. “If they don’t want to be here, good for them.”

Not only is Straily happy to stick it out through the roster overhaul, he’s completely on board with the slash and burn strategy.

“I really agreed with what happened,” he said. “I feel like with the pieces they brought in, this might flip around a little quicker than people realize. I’m not saying today, but I’m excited to be here and try to mentor guys coming into the big leagues for the first time.”

Straily, 29, started 33 games for the Marlins last season and posted a 4.26 ERA. He and Jose Urena are the only two locks to make the starting rotation and will compete for the right to be the Opening Day starter.

A few of Straily’s current teammates have also asked to be traded but haven’t had their requests granted. Starlin Castro, acquired from the Yankees in the Stanton trade, wants out, as does catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Tour Confidential team talks about whether having an event in Mexico during the Florida portion of the tour leads to some big names skipping said event.
Should the PGA ditch WGC in Mexico in favor of a Miami event?
The Tour Confidential team talks about whether having an event in Mexico during the Florida portion of the tour leads to some big names skipping said event.
<p>Dwyane Wade was reportedly the first Cleveland Cavaliers player to question the legitimacy of Kevin Love&#39;s sickness that forced him to miss some games, <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2018/02/how_koby_altman_lebron_james_a.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.</p><p>Wade reportedly was the player who called the team meeting on Jan. 22. Love spoke to his teammates and explained his sickness. Head coach Ty Lue and general manager Koby Altman were also in attendance in the meeting.</p><p>Isaiah Thomas, who was a member of the Cavaliers at the time before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, was upset that Love did not show up to practice following a 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 20.</p><p>Wade is no longer with the Cavaliers after being traded to the Miami Heat following a flurry a deals by the Cavaliers. Vardon reports that Wade was the player who challenged Lue to disclose where Love had been when he missed practice. He adds that it was a &quot;wide-ranging, heated discussion in which virtually no one was immune from criticism.&quot;</p><p>The Cavaliers head into the All-Star break riding a four-game winning streak.</p>
Report: Dwyane Wade Was Among Cavaliers Players Who Questioned Kevin Love's Illness, Whereabouts

Dwyane Wade was reportedly the first Cleveland Cavaliers player to question the legitimacy of Kevin Love's sickness that forced him to miss some games, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

Wade reportedly was the player who called the team meeting on Jan. 22. Love spoke to his teammates and explained his sickness. Head coach Ty Lue and general manager Koby Altman were also in attendance in the meeting.

Isaiah Thomas, who was a member of the Cavaliers at the time before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, was upset that Love did not show up to practice following a 24-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 20.

Wade is no longer with the Cavaliers after being traded to the Miami Heat following a flurry a deals by the Cavaliers. Vardon reports that Wade was the player who challenged Lue to disclose where Love had been when he missed practice. He adds that it was a "wide-ranging, heated discussion in which virtually no one was immune from criticism."

The Cavaliers head into the All-Star break riding a four-game winning streak.

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Miami Marlins&#39; Dan Straily warms up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Straily says he&#39;s glad he wasn&#39;t part of the team&#39;s fire sale and wants to be a cornerstone of the rebuilding effort under new CEO Derek Jeter. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Marlins pitcher Straily glad he wasn't among those traded
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Miami Marlins' Dan Straily warms up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Straily says he's glad he wasn't part of the team's fire sale and wants to be a cornerstone of the rebuilding effort under new CEO Derek Jeter. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
<p>This is, without a doubt, the best weekend to date of the college basketball season. We have five games featuring two ranked teams, including one that pits two that found themselves on the top line when the Selection Committee revealed its top-16 teams last weekend. What’s more, for the first time in 2018, the action starts on Friday and carries all the way through Sunday afternoon. No matter what time you turn on your TV this weekend, you’ll find at least one college hoops game with significant NCAA tournament implications. Get ready for a fun 48 hours.</p><h3>No. 16 Rhode Island at St. Bonaventure</h3><p><strong>Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2</strong></p><p>It is not a stretch to say this game could make or break St. Bonaventure’s season. If the Bonnies win, they’ll pick up a fourth Quadrant 1 victory that happens to be against a team ticketed for a high seed. If they lose, they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 tournament without a win against a team likely to get an at-large bid to the dance. It’s shaping up to be a strong bubble this year—with teams like St. Bonaventure, Houston, Washington, Kansas State and others, all of which have strong profiles—looking like they’ll land just barely on the right or wrong side of it. All those other teams, however, have wins against certain tournament squads. The Bonnies need this one to join that group, but it’s going to be awfully hard to get. If it happens, it’ll likely be on the backs of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley.</p><p><strong>St. Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 75</strong></p><h3>Texas at No. 23 Oklahoma</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>One of Saturday’s first games we have our eye on features two teams desperate for a win. Texas has lost three straight and four of five, including home games with fellow bubble teams Kansas State and Baylor. The Longhorns have five Q1 wins, so they’re still safe for now, but a couple more losses could change that. The Sooners, meanwhile, are reeling, losing four straight, five of six and seven of nine. They won’t be in any real danger of dropping out of the tournament field, but it is beyond time to significantly recalibrate their postseason expectations. Texas won the first meeting between these teams two weeks ago, forcing Trae Young to miss 12 of his 14 three-point attempts and exposing the reality of Oklahoma’s flawed offense. Young or bust isn’t going to get it done. In Oklahoma’s defense, six of their seven recent losses have come on the road. They should be able to figure this one out in Norman.</p><p><strong>Oklahoma 81, Texas 72</strong></p><h3>Syracuse at Miami</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, CBS</strong></p><p>Alright Syracuse, you want to prove you’re one of the 36 best at-large candidates in the country? Here’s an opportunity to get a road win against a likely tournament team that is without its most dynamic player. The Hurricanes are 3-2 since losing Bruce Brown, but two of those wins came against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, while one of the losses was to Boston College. This is going to be a slow, plodding affair, though Miami would be wise to try to speed up a Syracuse team that struggles to get good looks and needs a predictable pace to get its 2-3 zone set. The Orange’s best offense this season has been a missed shot, but the Hurricanes are third in ACC play in defensive-rebounding rate. Even without Brown, this is a bad matchup for the punch-less Orange.</p><p><strong>Miami 67, Syracuse 59</strong></p><h3>Providence at Butler</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, FOX</strong></p><p>We could forgive Butler for near losses to Xavier and Villanova. Dropping a home game to lowly Georgetown is another story. Bouncing back against a solid Providence team at home on Saturday is critical. The Bulldogs played one of their worst games of the season the first time these teams played, a 70-60 Providence win. Kamar Baldwin fired up 22 shots in that game, while Kelan Martin was 3-for-14 from the floor. Providence is coming off a huge home win over Villanova and making a trip to Indianapolis to take on a strong, semi-desperate Butler team three days later is a lot to ask. The Bulldogs should get back on track.</p><p><strong>Butler 78, Providence 69</strong></p><h3>Alabama at Kentucky</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS</strong></p><p>The NIT is, without question, a possible outcome for the Wildcats. They’ve lost four straight games and have a nightmarish schedule ahead, with matchups against Arkansas, Missouri and Florida looming after Alabama. Quite simply, the Wildcats just don’t generate consistent offense, all too often looking totally out of sync and seemingly without a plan to take advantage of their strengths. They can often rely on having the best athlete, if not the best player, on the floor, but that won’t be the case with Collin Sexton in town on Saturday. The Wildcats have more than enough size and athleticism to give him fits, but they aren’t likely to shut him down entirely. Their one significant advantage in this game is on the boards, where the Crimson Tide struggle on both ends of the floor.</p><p><strong>Kentucky 64, Alabama 62</strong></p><h3>No. 21 Texas A&#38;M at Arkansas</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN</strong></p><p>The Aggies got their season back on track with four straight wins, including a huge one at Auburn, so we can forgive their loss at Missouri earlier this week. This is a big game for the Razorbacks, who are on the right side of the bubble for now, but have a brutal remaining schedule. After hosting A&#38;M this weekend, they’ll play Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Missouri to wrap up the regular season, with the games against the Crimson Tide and Tigers on the road. A 1-4 or 0-5 stretch is absolutely in play and could knock them out of the tournament field. Arkansas doesn’t have the offense to consistently win in the half court against the Aggies defense, which is ranked fourth in kenpom.com’s adjusted efficiency. But if the Razorbacks can get stops, their offense—which is dangerous in transition—can get out and run and get easy buckets before the Aggies can get set. That’s the path to victory for the Razorbacks. I’m not so sure they’ll be able to traverse it.</p><p><strong>Texas A&#38;M 70, Arkansas 67</strong></p><h3>No. 3 Villanova at No. 4 Xavier</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX</strong></p><p>Villanova looked unbeatable as recently as two weeks ago, but the Wildcats are suddenly reeling after losing two of three in advance of their toughest test of the season. Xavier hasn’t lost since falling at Villanova more than a month ago, ripping off nine straight wins since then. The Musketeers are undefeated at home this season, with wins over Cincinnati and Baylor, as well as every meaningful team in the Big East other than Villanova. Phil Booth torched the Musketeers for 21 points the first time these teams met, but he won’t be out there for the rematch. Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, meanwhile, combined to shoot just 6-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-10 from distance. This is the game of the weekend and it’s a pretty strong weekend. You don’t want to miss it.</p><p><strong>Xavier 87, Villanova 85</strong></p><h3>No. 20 West Virginia at No. 13 Kansas</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>Both of these teams look capable of going on Final Four runs <em>and</em> losing in the first weekend of the tournament. The Jayhawks won the first meeting between the two in Morgantown behind 17 points from Svi Mykhailiuk and 16 from Devonte’ Graham. What’s most troubling for the Mountaineers is that the Jayhawks were perfectly capable of playing at the former’s desired pace, winning a game in which they scored just 1.03 points per possession, in part by holding their opponents to 0.96 points per possession. The Mountaineers did almost everything they would want to do to a team like Kansas, most notably forcing turnovers on 18.8% of possessions, and they still couldn’t win. At home. That does not bode well for them this weekend.</p><p><strong>Kansas 78, West Virginia 69</strong></p><h3>No. 7 Texas Tech at Baylor</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU</strong></p><p>Don’t lose this game in the sea of great matchups this weekend. Both Texas Tech and Baylor are surging of late, though that means different things to each, given where they started and their respective ceilings. The Red Raiders have won seven straight games and could threaten the top line depending on how they end the season. The Bears were left for dead three weeks ago, but have won four straight, including victories over Kansas and Texas, and are now firmly in the at-large picture, even earning one of the final spots in our field of 68 <a href="https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/02/15/bracket-watch-xavier-villanova-florida-state-oklahoma-missouri" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in the latest Bracket Watch" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in the latest Bracket Watch</a>. A win on Saturday would likely vault the Bears higher up the seed list, but they’ll have to find a way to slow down Keenan Evans. Baylor is a much different team than the first time these two met back in December, but, for what it’s worth, Texas Tech coasted to a 24-point victory in that game. This one will be closer, but the Red Raiders are simply too tough on the defensive end for a limited Bears offense.</p><p><strong>Texas Tech 64, Baylor 58</strong></p><h3>No. 14 North Carolina at Louisville</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>This is a huge game for Louisville’s tournament chances. The Cardinals haven’t defeated a likely tournament team since January 10 when they won at Florida State, although their win three days later over Virginia Tech looks better now than it did then. Still, Louisville is at least one good win away from the dance and even that might not get the job done. The Tar Heels have kicked their offense into high gear, winning their last four games while averaging 89.3 points per game and scoring no fewer than 1.22 points per possession in any of the four. The Cardinals must find a way to slow the Tar Heels down, at least in some respect. Put simply, they can’t keep up with a team scoring 1.2 points per possession.</p><p><strong>North Carolina 83, Louisville 75</strong></p><h3>Marquette at Creighton</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 10 p.m. ET</strong></p><p>Marquette’s fate is not yet sealed but it needs resumé-building wins, and it needs them now. Saturday night’s game would absolutely qualify, with Creighton all but a lock for the big dance. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that they should be comfortable with the pace and style of this game, with both of these teams heavily tilted to the offensive side of the floor. The bad news is that they’re going to have to figure out a way to outscore the pairing of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, because it’s safe to say a defense as woeful as Marquette’s isn’t going to slow them down. Creighton isn’t necessarily known for its defense, either, but it does do a decent job against three-point shooters, which could make things tricky for Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey.</p><p><strong>Creighton 92, Marquette 82</strong></p><h3>No. 12 Duke at No. 11 Clemson</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 1 p.m., ACC Network</strong></p><p>Clemson is 4-2 since losing Donte Grantham, an achievement that absolutely deserves recognition. Having said that, three of the wins came against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, while the losses were at Virginia and Florida State. The Tigers did beat North Carolina at home, thanks in large part to making 15 of their 30 attempts from behind the arc. They’ll likely need to follow a similar script to beat Duke, but it’s hard to see that unfolding. What’s more, the Blue Devils are more equipped to attack the Tigers undermanned frontcourt than the Tar Heels were, with Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter as the most efficient 1-2 interior punch in the country. That Clemson remains dangerous without its best player is impressive, but Duke is an entirely new beast for the Grantham-less Tigers.</p><p><strong>Duke 82, Clemson 74</strong></p><h3>No. 8 Ohio State at No. 22 Michigan</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS</strong></p><p>Forget about football, we’ve got a huge basketball game between these two bitter rivals on Sunday. These teams met way back on Dec. 4, with the Buckeyes scoring a 71-62 win in Columbus. Keita Bates-Diop has gone on to make himself the favorite for the Big Ten Player of the Year since then and his individual matchup with Charles Matthews will be worth whatever it takes to get yourself in front of a TV for this game. The two are both lethal interior scorers for wing players, and it was Bates-Diop who won the first clash, scoring 18 points while leading the effort to hold Matthews to four on 2-for-9 shooting. A win in Ann Arbor put the regular season Big Ten championship firmly within Ohio State’s sights, with their two remaining regular season games against Rutgers and Indiana. Michigan, however, has the right personnel to make that difficult, with Mo Wagner a particularly tough cover for Ohio State’s bigs.</p><p><strong>Michigan 71, Ohio State 70</strong></p><h3>Houston at Temple</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network</strong></p><p>The weekend ends with a couple of big games in the AAC. Up first is a pair of bubble teams, both of which would bolster their resumés with a win on Sunday. Houston moved itself into the group of teams likely to make the tournament after beating Cincinnati at home on Thursday. We can’t yet call the Cougars a lock, but as they avoid disaster, we’re confident they’ll be in in the dance. Temple, meanwhile, lost a close game to Wichita State on Thursday, and is in need of at least one more win over a tournament-quality team. This is their last chance for one in the regular season. The first meeting between these teams was a doozy, with Houston holding on for a 76-73 win.</p><p><strong>Houston 70, Temple 66</strong></p><h3>No. 19 Wichita State at No. 5 Cincinnati</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>The loss to Houston was Cincinnati’s first since Dec. 9, and now it has to turn right around and play host to a Wichita State team that finally seems to be finding its stride on offense. It will be interesting to see how Mick Cronin and the Bearcats handle Landry Shamet. The teams primary point guards, Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome, give up six and four inches, respectively, to Shamet. Cronin could use Jarron Cumberland as a point guard, but he hasn’t shown a ton of willingness to not have one of Jenifer or Broome on the floor. That’s one of the games within this game that will help determine the outcome. The other is how Wichita State’s front court trio of Rashard Kelly, Shaq Morris and Markis McDuffie handles Gary Clark. This is the first time these teams have played this season, with the return matchup looming in two weeks in Wichita.</p><p><strong>Cincinnati 75, Wichita State 70</strong></p>
Picks: No. 3 Villanova vs. No. 4 Xavier Showdown Headlines Weekend of Ranked Matchups

This is, without a doubt, the best weekend to date of the college basketball season. We have five games featuring two ranked teams, including one that pits two that found themselves on the top line when the Selection Committee revealed its top-16 teams last weekend. What’s more, for the first time in 2018, the action starts on Friday and carries all the way through Sunday afternoon. No matter what time you turn on your TV this weekend, you’ll find at least one college hoops game with significant NCAA tournament implications. Get ready for a fun 48 hours.

No. 16 Rhode Island at St. Bonaventure

Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

It is not a stretch to say this game could make or break St. Bonaventure’s season. If the Bonnies win, they’ll pick up a fourth Quadrant 1 victory that happens to be against a team ticketed for a high seed. If they lose, they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 tournament without a win against a team likely to get an at-large bid to the dance. It’s shaping up to be a strong bubble this year—with teams like St. Bonaventure, Houston, Washington, Kansas State and others, all of which have strong profiles—looking like they’ll land just barely on the right or wrong side of it. All those other teams, however, have wins against certain tournament squads. The Bonnies need this one to join that group, but it’s going to be awfully hard to get. If it happens, it’ll likely be on the backs of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley.

St. Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 75

Texas at No. 23 Oklahoma

Saturday, noon ET, ESPN

One of Saturday’s first games we have our eye on features two teams desperate for a win. Texas has lost three straight and four of five, including home games with fellow bubble teams Kansas State and Baylor. The Longhorns have five Q1 wins, so they’re still safe for now, but a couple more losses could change that. The Sooners, meanwhile, are reeling, losing four straight, five of six and seven of nine. They won’t be in any real danger of dropping out of the tournament field, but it is beyond time to significantly recalibrate their postseason expectations. Texas won the first meeting between these teams two weeks ago, forcing Trae Young to miss 12 of his 14 three-point attempts and exposing the reality of Oklahoma’s flawed offense. Young or bust isn’t going to get it done. In Oklahoma’s defense, six of their seven recent losses have come on the road. They should be able to figure this one out in Norman.

Oklahoma 81, Texas 72

Syracuse at Miami

Saturday, noon ET, CBS

Alright Syracuse, you want to prove you’re one of the 36 best at-large candidates in the country? Here’s an opportunity to get a road win against a likely tournament team that is without its most dynamic player. The Hurricanes are 3-2 since losing Bruce Brown, but two of those wins came against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, while one of the losses was to Boston College. This is going to be a slow, plodding affair, though Miami would be wise to try to speed up a Syracuse team that struggles to get good looks and needs a predictable pace to get its 2-3 zone set. The Orange’s best offense this season has been a missed shot, but the Hurricanes are third in ACC play in defensive-rebounding rate. Even without Brown, this is a bad matchup for the punch-less Orange.

Miami 67, Syracuse 59

Providence at Butler

Saturday, noon ET, FOX

We could forgive Butler for near losses to Xavier and Villanova. Dropping a home game to lowly Georgetown is another story. Bouncing back against a solid Providence team at home on Saturday is critical. The Bulldogs played one of their worst games of the season the first time these teams played, a 70-60 Providence win. Kamar Baldwin fired up 22 shots in that game, while Kelan Martin was 3-for-14 from the floor. Providence is coming off a huge home win over Villanova and making a trip to Indianapolis to take on a strong, semi-desperate Butler team three days later is a lot to ask. The Bulldogs should get back on track.

Butler 78, Providence 69

Alabama at Kentucky

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

The NIT is, without question, a possible outcome for the Wildcats. They’ve lost four straight games and have a nightmarish schedule ahead, with matchups against Arkansas, Missouri and Florida looming after Alabama. Quite simply, the Wildcats just don’t generate consistent offense, all too often looking totally out of sync and seemingly without a plan to take advantage of their strengths. They can often rely on having the best athlete, if not the best player, on the floor, but that won’t be the case with Collin Sexton in town on Saturday. The Wildcats have more than enough size and athleticism to give him fits, but they aren’t likely to shut him down entirely. Their one significant advantage in this game is on the boards, where the Crimson Tide struggle on both ends of the floor.

Kentucky 64, Alabama 62

No. 21 Texas A&M at Arkansas

Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN

The Aggies got their season back on track with four straight wins, including a huge one at Auburn, so we can forgive their loss at Missouri earlier this week. This is a big game for the Razorbacks, who are on the right side of the bubble for now, but have a brutal remaining schedule. After hosting A&M this weekend, they’ll play Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Missouri to wrap up the regular season, with the games against the Crimson Tide and Tigers on the road. A 1-4 or 0-5 stretch is absolutely in play and could knock them out of the tournament field. Arkansas doesn’t have the offense to consistently win in the half court against the Aggies defense, which is ranked fourth in kenpom.com’s adjusted efficiency. But if the Razorbacks can get stops, their offense—which is dangerous in transition—can get out and run and get easy buckets before the Aggies can get set. That’s the path to victory for the Razorbacks. I’m not so sure they’ll be able to traverse it.

Texas A&M 70, Arkansas 67

No. 3 Villanova at No. 4 Xavier

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX

Villanova looked unbeatable as recently as two weeks ago, but the Wildcats are suddenly reeling after losing two of three in advance of their toughest test of the season. Xavier hasn’t lost since falling at Villanova more than a month ago, ripping off nine straight wins since then. The Musketeers are undefeated at home this season, with wins over Cincinnati and Baylor, as well as every meaningful team in the Big East other than Villanova. Phil Booth torched the Musketeers for 21 points the first time these teams met, but he won’t be out there for the rematch. Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, meanwhile, combined to shoot just 6-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-10 from distance. This is the game of the weekend and it’s a pretty strong weekend. You don’t want to miss it.

Xavier 87, Villanova 85

No. 20 West Virginia at No. 13 Kansas

Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

Both of these teams look capable of going on Final Four runs and losing in the first weekend of the tournament. The Jayhawks won the first meeting between the two in Morgantown behind 17 points from Svi Mykhailiuk and 16 from Devonte’ Graham. What’s most troubling for the Mountaineers is that the Jayhawks were perfectly capable of playing at the former’s desired pace, winning a game in which they scored just 1.03 points per possession, in part by holding their opponents to 0.96 points per possession. The Mountaineers did almost everything they would want to do to a team like Kansas, most notably forcing turnovers on 18.8% of possessions, and they still couldn’t win. At home. That does not bode well for them this weekend.

Kansas 78, West Virginia 69

No. 7 Texas Tech at Baylor

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Don’t lose this game in the sea of great matchups this weekend. Both Texas Tech and Baylor are surging of late, though that means different things to each, given where they started and their respective ceilings. The Red Raiders have won seven straight games and could threaten the top line depending on how they end the season. The Bears were left for dead three weeks ago, but have won four straight, including victories over Kansas and Texas, and are now firmly in the at-large picture, even earning one of the final spots in our field of 68 in the latest Bracket Watch. A win on Saturday would likely vault the Bears higher up the seed list, but they’ll have to find a way to slow down Keenan Evans. Baylor is a much different team than the first time these two met back in December, but, for what it’s worth, Texas Tech coasted to a 24-point victory in that game. This one will be closer, but the Red Raiders are simply too tough on the defensive end for a limited Bears offense.

Texas Tech 64, Baylor 58

No. 14 North Carolina at Louisville

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

This is a huge game for Louisville’s tournament chances. The Cardinals haven’t defeated a likely tournament team since January 10 when they won at Florida State, although their win three days later over Virginia Tech looks better now than it did then. Still, Louisville is at least one good win away from the dance and even that might not get the job done. The Tar Heels have kicked their offense into high gear, winning their last four games while averaging 89.3 points per game and scoring no fewer than 1.22 points per possession in any of the four. The Cardinals must find a way to slow the Tar Heels down, at least in some respect. Put simply, they can’t keep up with a team scoring 1.2 points per possession.

North Carolina 83, Louisville 75

Marquette at Creighton

Saturday, 10 p.m. ET

Marquette’s fate is not yet sealed but it needs resumé-building wins, and it needs them now. Saturday night’s game would absolutely qualify, with Creighton all but a lock for the big dance. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that they should be comfortable with the pace and style of this game, with both of these teams heavily tilted to the offensive side of the floor. The bad news is that they’re going to have to figure out a way to outscore the pairing of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, because it’s safe to say a defense as woeful as Marquette’s isn’t going to slow them down. Creighton isn’t necessarily known for its defense, either, but it does do a decent job against three-point shooters, which could make things tricky for Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey.

Creighton 92, Marquette 82

No. 12 Duke at No. 11 Clemson

Sunday, 1 p.m., ACC Network

Clemson is 4-2 since losing Donte Grantham, an achievement that absolutely deserves recognition. Having said that, three of the wins came against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, while the losses were at Virginia and Florida State. The Tigers did beat North Carolina at home, thanks in large part to making 15 of their 30 attempts from behind the arc. They’ll likely need to follow a similar script to beat Duke, but it’s hard to see that unfolding. What’s more, the Blue Devils are more equipped to attack the Tigers undermanned frontcourt than the Tar Heels were, with Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter as the most efficient 1-2 interior punch in the country. That Clemson remains dangerous without its best player is impressive, but Duke is an entirely new beast for the Grantham-less Tigers.

Duke 82, Clemson 74

No. 8 Ohio State at No. 22 Michigan

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Forget about football, we’ve got a huge basketball game between these two bitter rivals on Sunday. These teams met way back on Dec. 4, with the Buckeyes scoring a 71-62 win in Columbus. Keita Bates-Diop has gone on to make himself the favorite for the Big Ten Player of the Year since then and his individual matchup with Charles Matthews will be worth whatever it takes to get yourself in front of a TV for this game. The two are both lethal interior scorers for wing players, and it was Bates-Diop who won the first clash, scoring 18 points while leading the effort to hold Matthews to four on 2-for-9 shooting. A win in Ann Arbor put the regular season Big Ten championship firmly within Ohio State’s sights, with their two remaining regular season games against Rutgers and Indiana. Michigan, however, has the right personnel to make that difficult, with Mo Wagner a particularly tough cover for Ohio State’s bigs.

Michigan 71, Ohio State 70

Houston at Temple

Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

The weekend ends with a couple of big games in the AAC. Up first is a pair of bubble teams, both of which would bolster their resumés with a win on Sunday. Houston moved itself into the group of teams likely to make the tournament after beating Cincinnati at home on Thursday. We can’t yet call the Cougars a lock, but as they avoid disaster, we’re confident they’ll be in in the dance. Temple, meanwhile, lost a close game to Wichita State on Thursday, and is in need of at least one more win over a tournament-quality team. This is their last chance for one in the regular season. The first meeting between these teams was a doozy, with Houston holding on for a 76-73 win.

Houston 70, Temple 66

No. 19 Wichita State at No. 5 Cincinnati

Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

The loss to Houston was Cincinnati’s first since Dec. 9, and now it has to turn right around and play host to a Wichita State team that finally seems to be finding its stride on offense. It will be interesting to see how Mick Cronin and the Bearcats handle Landry Shamet. The teams primary point guards, Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome, give up six and four inches, respectively, to Shamet. Cronin could use Jarron Cumberland as a point guard, but he hasn’t shown a ton of willingness to not have one of Jenifer or Broome on the floor. That’s one of the games within this game that will help determine the outcome. The other is how Wichita State’s front court trio of Rashard Kelly, Shaq Morris and Markis McDuffie handles Gary Clark. This is the first time these teams have played this season, with the return matchup looming in two weeks in Wichita.

Cincinnati 75, Wichita State 70

<p>This is, without a doubt, the best weekend to date of the college basketball season. We have five games featuring two ranked teams, including one that pits two that found themselves on the top line when the Selection Committee revealed its top-16 teams last weekend. What’s more, for the first time in 2018, the action starts on Friday and carries all the way through Sunday afternoon. No matter what time you turn on your TV this weekend, you’ll find at least one college hoops game with significant NCAA tournament implications. Get ready for a fun 48 hours.</p><h3>No. 16 Rhode Island at St. Bonaventure</h3><p><strong>Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2</strong></p><p>It is not a stretch to say this game could make or break St. Bonaventure’s season. If the Bonnies win, they’ll pick up a fourth Quadrant 1 victory that happens to be against a team ticketed for a high seed. If they lose, they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 tournament without a win against a team likely to get an at-large bid to the dance. It’s shaping up to be a strong bubble this year—with teams like St. Bonaventure, Houston, Washington, Kansas State and others, all of which have strong profiles—looking like they’ll land just barely on the right or wrong side of it. All those other teams, however, have wins against certain tournament squads. The Bonnies need this one to join that group, but it’s going to be awfully hard to get. If it happens, it’ll likely be on the backs of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley.</p><p><strong>St. Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 75</strong></p><h3>Texas at No. 23 Oklahoma</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>One of Saturday’s first games we have our eye on features two teams desperate for a win. Texas has lost three straight and four of five, including home games with fellow bubble teams Kansas State and Baylor. The Longhorns have five Q1 wins, so they’re still safe for now, but a couple more losses could change that. The Sooners, meanwhile, are reeling, losing four straight, five of six and seven of nine. They won’t be in any real danger of dropping out of the tournament field, but it is beyond time to significantly recalibrate their postseason expectations. Texas won the first meeting between these teams two weeks ago, forcing Trae Young to miss 12 of his 14 three-point attempts and exposing the reality of Oklahoma’s flawed offense. Young or bust isn’t going to get it done. In Oklahoma’s defense, six of their seven recent losses have come on the road. They should be able to figure this one out in Norman.</p><p><strong>Oklahoma 81, Texas 72</strong></p><h3>Syracuse at Miami</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, CBS</strong></p><p>Alright Syracuse, you want to prove you’re one of the 36 best at-large candidates in the country? Here’s an opportunity to get a road win against a likely tournament team that is without its most dynamic player. The Hurricanes are 3-2 since losing Bruce Brown, but two of those wins came against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, while one of the losses was to Boston College. This is going to be a slow, plodding affair, though Miami would be wise to try to speed up a Syracuse team that struggles to get good looks and needs a predictable pace to get its 2-3 zone set. The Orange’s best offense this season has been a missed shot, but the Hurricanes are third in ACC play in defensive-rebounding rate. Even without Brown, this is a bad matchup for the punch-less Orange.</p><p><strong>Miami 67, Syracuse 59</strong></p><h3>Providence at Butler</h3><p><strong>Saturday, noon ET, FOX</strong></p><p>We could forgive Butler for near losses to Xavier and Villanova. Dropping a home game to lowly Georgetown is another story. Bouncing back against a solid Providence team at home on Saturday is critical. The Bulldogs played one of their worst games of the season the first time these teams played, a 70-60 Providence win. Kamar Baldwin fired up 22 shots in that game, while Kelan Martin was 3-for-14 from the floor. Providence is coming off a huge home win over Villanova and making a trip to Indianapolis to take on a strong, semi-desperate Butler team three days later is a lot to ask. The Bulldogs should get back on track.</p><p><strong>Butler 78, Providence 69</strong></p><h3>Alabama at Kentucky</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS</strong></p><p>The NIT is, without question, a possible outcome for the Wildcats. They’ve lost four straight games and have a nightmarish schedule ahead, with matchups against Arkansas, Missouri and Florida looming after Alabama. Quite simply, the Wildcats just don’t generate consistent offense, all too often looking totally out of sync and seemingly without a plan to take advantage of their strengths. They can often rely on having the best athlete, if not the best player, on the floor, but that won’t be the case with Collin Sexton in town on Saturday. The Wildcats have more than enough size and athleticism to give him fits, but they aren’t likely to shut him down entirely. Their one significant advantage in this game is on the boards, where the Crimson Tide struggle on both ends of the floor.</p><p><strong>Kentucky 64, Alabama 62</strong></p><h3>No. 21 Texas A&#38;M at Arkansas</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN</strong></p><p>The Aggies got their season back on track with four straight wins, including a huge one at Auburn, so we can forgive their loss at Missouri earlier this week. This is a big game for the Razorbacks, who are on the right side of the bubble for now, but have a brutal remaining schedule. After hosting A&#38;M this weekend, they’ll play Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Missouri to wrap up the regular season, with the games against the Crimson Tide and Tigers on the road. A 1-4 or 0-5 stretch is absolutely in play and could knock them out of the tournament field. Arkansas doesn’t have the offense to consistently win in the half court against the Aggies defense, which is ranked fourth in kenpom.com’s adjusted efficiency. But if the Razorbacks can get stops, their offense—which is dangerous in transition—can get out and run and get easy buckets before the Aggies can get set. That’s the path to victory for the Razorbacks. I’m not so sure they’ll be able to traverse it.</p><p><strong>Texas A&#38;M 70, Arkansas 67</strong></p><h3>No. 3 Villanova at No. 4 Xavier</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX</strong></p><p>Villanova looked unbeatable as recently as two weeks ago, but the Wildcats are suddenly reeling after losing two of three in advance of their toughest test of the season. Xavier hasn’t lost since falling at Villanova more than a month ago, ripping off nine straight wins since then. The Musketeers are undefeated at home this season, with wins over Cincinnati and Baylor, as well as every meaningful team in the Big East other than Villanova. Phil Booth torched the Musketeers for 21 points the first time these teams met, but he won’t be out there for the rematch. Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, meanwhile, combined to shoot just 6-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-10 from distance. This is the game of the weekend and it’s a pretty strong weekend. You don’t want to miss it.</p><p><strong>Xavier 87, Villanova 85</strong></p><h3>No. 20 West Virginia at No. 13 Kansas</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>Both of these teams look capable of going on Final Four runs <em>and</em> losing in the first weekend of the tournament. The Jayhawks won the first meeting between the two in Morgantown behind 17 points from Svi Mykhailiuk and 16 from Devonte’ Graham. What’s most troubling for the Mountaineers is that the Jayhawks were perfectly capable of playing at the former’s desired pace, winning a game in which they scored just 1.03 points per possession, in part by holding their opponents to 0.96 points per possession. The Mountaineers did almost everything they would want to do to a team like Kansas, most notably forcing turnovers on 18.8% of possessions, and they still couldn’t win. At home. That does not bode well for them this weekend.</p><p><strong>Kansas 78, West Virginia 69</strong></p><h3>No. 7 Texas Tech at Baylor</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU</strong></p><p>Don’t lose this game in the sea of great matchups this weekend. Both Texas Tech and Baylor are surging of late, though that means different things to each, given where they started and their respective ceilings. The Red Raiders have won seven straight games and could threaten the top line depending on how they end the season. The Bears were left for dead three weeks ago, but have won four straight, including victories over Kansas and Texas, and are now firmly in the at-large picture, even earning one of the final spots in our field of 68 <a href="https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/02/15/bracket-watch-xavier-villanova-florida-state-oklahoma-missouri" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in the latest Bracket Watch" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in the latest Bracket Watch</a>. A win on Saturday would likely vault the Bears higher up the seed list, but they’ll have to find a way to slow down Keenan Evans. Baylor is a much different team than the first time these two met back in December, but, for what it’s worth, Texas Tech coasted to a 24-point victory in that game. This one will be closer, but the Red Raiders are simply too tough on the defensive end for a limited Bears offense.</p><p><strong>Texas Tech 64, Baylor 58</strong></p><h3>No. 14 North Carolina at Louisville</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>This is a huge game for Louisville’s tournament chances. The Cardinals haven’t defeated a likely tournament team since January 10 when they won at Florida State, although their win three days later over Virginia Tech looks better now than it did then. Still, Louisville is at least one good win away from the dance and even that might not get the job done. The Tar Heels have kicked their offense into high gear, winning their last four games while averaging 89.3 points per game and scoring no fewer than 1.22 points per possession in any of the four. The Cardinals must find a way to slow the Tar Heels down, at least in some respect. Put simply, they can’t keep up with a team scoring 1.2 points per possession.</p><p><strong>North Carolina 83, Louisville 75</strong></p><h3>Marquette at Creighton</h3><p><strong>Saturday, 10 p.m. ET</strong></p><p>Marquette’s fate is not yet sealed but it needs resumé-building wins, and it needs them now. Saturday night’s game would absolutely qualify, with Creighton all but a lock for the big dance. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that they should be comfortable with the pace and style of this game, with both of these teams heavily tilted to the offensive side of the floor. The bad news is that they’re going to have to figure out a way to outscore the pairing of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, because it’s safe to say a defense as woeful as Marquette’s isn’t going to slow them down. Creighton isn’t necessarily known for its defense, either, but it does do a decent job against three-point shooters, which could make things tricky for Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey.</p><p><strong>Creighton 92, Marquette 82</strong></p><h3>No. 12 Duke at No. 11 Clemson</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 1 p.m., ACC Network</strong></p><p>Clemson is 4-2 since losing Donte Grantham, an achievement that absolutely deserves recognition. Having said that, three of the wins came against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, while the losses were at Virginia and Florida State. The Tigers did beat North Carolina at home, thanks in large part to making 15 of their 30 attempts from behind the arc. They’ll likely need to follow a similar script to beat Duke, but it’s hard to see that unfolding. What’s more, the Blue Devils are more equipped to attack the Tigers undermanned frontcourt than the Tar Heels were, with Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter as the most efficient 1-2 interior punch in the country. That Clemson remains dangerous without its best player is impressive, but Duke is an entirely new beast for the Grantham-less Tigers.</p><p><strong>Duke 82, Clemson 74</strong></p><h3>No. 8 Ohio State at No. 22 Michigan</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS</strong></p><p>Forget about football, we’ve got a huge basketball game between these two bitter rivals on Sunday. These teams met way back on Dec. 4, with the Buckeyes scoring a 71-62 win in Columbus. Keita Bates-Diop has gone on to make himself the favorite for the Big Ten Player of the Year since then and his individual matchup with Charles Matthews will be worth whatever it takes to get yourself in front of a TV for this game. The two are both lethal interior scorers for wing players, and it was Bates-Diop who won the first clash, scoring 18 points while leading the effort to hold Matthews to four on 2-for-9 shooting. A win in Ann Arbor put the regular season Big Ten championship firmly within Ohio State’s sights, with their two remaining regular season games against Rutgers and Indiana. Michigan, however, has the right personnel to make that difficult, with Mo Wagner a particularly tough cover for Ohio State’s bigs.</p><p><strong>Michigan 71, Ohio State 70</strong></p><h3>Houston at Temple</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network</strong></p><p>The weekend ends with a couple of big games in the AAC. Up first is a pair of bubble teams, both of which would bolster their resumés with a win on Sunday. Houston moved itself into the group of teams likely to make the tournament after beating Cincinnati at home on Thursday. We can’t yet call the Cougars a lock, but as they avoid disaster, we’re confident they’ll be in in the dance. Temple, meanwhile, lost a close game to Wichita State on Thursday, and is in need of at least one more win over a tournament-quality team. This is their last chance for one in the regular season. The first meeting between these teams was a doozy, with Houston holding on for a 76-73 win.</p><p><strong>Houston 70, Temple 66</strong></p><h3>No. 19 Wichita State at No. 5 Cincinnati</h3><p><strong>Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN</strong></p><p>The loss to Houston was Cincinnati’s first since Dec. 9, and now it has to turn right around and play host to a Wichita State team that finally seems to be finding its stride on offense. It will be interesting to see how Mick Cronin and the Bearcats handle Landry Shamet. The teams primary point guards, Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome, give up six and four inches, respectively, to Shamet. Cronin could use Jarron Cumberland as a point guard, but he hasn’t shown a ton of willingness to not have one of Jenifer or Broome on the floor. That’s one of the games within this game that will help determine the outcome. The other is how Wichita State’s front court trio of Rashard Kelly, Shaq Morris and Markis McDuffie handles Gary Clark. This is the first time these teams have played this season, with the return matchup looming in two weeks in Wichita.</p><p><strong>Cincinnati 75, Wichita State 70</strong></p>
Picks: No. 3 Villanova vs. No. 4 Xavier Showdown Headlines Weekend of Ranked Matchups

This is, without a doubt, the best weekend to date of the college basketball season. We have five games featuring two ranked teams, including one that pits two that found themselves on the top line when the Selection Committee revealed its top-16 teams last weekend. What’s more, for the first time in 2018, the action starts on Friday and carries all the way through Sunday afternoon. No matter what time you turn on your TV this weekend, you’ll find at least one college hoops game with significant NCAA tournament implications. Get ready for a fun 48 hours.

No. 16 Rhode Island at St. Bonaventure

Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

It is not a stretch to say this game could make or break St. Bonaventure’s season. If the Bonnies win, they’ll pick up a fourth Quadrant 1 victory that happens to be against a team ticketed for a high seed. If they lose, they’ll head into the Atlantic 10 tournament without a win against a team likely to get an at-large bid to the dance. It’s shaping up to be a strong bubble this year—with teams like St. Bonaventure, Houston, Washington, Kansas State and others, all of which have strong profiles—looking like they’ll land just barely on the right or wrong side of it. All those other teams, however, have wins against certain tournament squads. The Bonnies need this one to join that group, but it’s going to be awfully hard to get. If it happens, it’ll likely be on the backs of Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley.

St. Bonaventure 77, Rhode Island 75

Texas at No. 23 Oklahoma

Saturday, noon ET, ESPN

One of Saturday’s first games we have our eye on features two teams desperate for a win. Texas has lost three straight and four of five, including home games with fellow bubble teams Kansas State and Baylor. The Longhorns have five Q1 wins, so they’re still safe for now, but a couple more losses could change that. The Sooners, meanwhile, are reeling, losing four straight, five of six and seven of nine. They won’t be in any real danger of dropping out of the tournament field, but it is beyond time to significantly recalibrate their postseason expectations. Texas won the first meeting between these teams two weeks ago, forcing Trae Young to miss 12 of his 14 three-point attempts and exposing the reality of Oklahoma’s flawed offense. Young or bust isn’t going to get it done. In Oklahoma’s defense, six of their seven recent losses have come on the road. They should be able to figure this one out in Norman.

Oklahoma 81, Texas 72

Syracuse at Miami

Saturday, noon ET, CBS

Alright Syracuse, you want to prove you’re one of the 36 best at-large candidates in the country? Here’s an opportunity to get a road win against a likely tournament team that is without its most dynamic player. The Hurricanes are 3-2 since losing Bruce Brown, but two of those wins came against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest, while one of the losses was to Boston College. This is going to be a slow, plodding affair, though Miami would be wise to try to speed up a Syracuse team that struggles to get good looks and needs a predictable pace to get its 2-3 zone set. The Orange’s best offense this season has been a missed shot, but the Hurricanes are third in ACC play in defensive-rebounding rate. Even without Brown, this is a bad matchup for the punch-less Orange.

Miami 67, Syracuse 59

Providence at Butler

Saturday, noon ET, FOX

We could forgive Butler for near losses to Xavier and Villanova. Dropping a home game to lowly Georgetown is another story. Bouncing back against a solid Providence team at home on Saturday is critical. The Bulldogs played one of their worst games of the season the first time these teams played, a 70-60 Providence win. Kamar Baldwin fired up 22 shots in that game, while Kelan Martin was 3-for-14 from the floor. Providence is coming off a huge home win over Villanova and making a trip to Indianapolis to take on a strong, semi-desperate Butler team three days later is a lot to ask. The Bulldogs should get back on track.

Butler 78, Providence 69

Alabama at Kentucky

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

The NIT is, without question, a possible outcome for the Wildcats. They’ve lost four straight games and have a nightmarish schedule ahead, with matchups against Arkansas, Missouri and Florida looming after Alabama. Quite simply, the Wildcats just don’t generate consistent offense, all too often looking totally out of sync and seemingly without a plan to take advantage of their strengths. They can often rely on having the best athlete, if not the best player, on the floor, but that won’t be the case with Collin Sexton in town on Saturday. The Wildcats have more than enough size and athleticism to give him fits, but they aren’t likely to shut him down entirely. Their one significant advantage in this game is on the boards, where the Crimson Tide struggle on both ends of the floor.

Kentucky 64, Alabama 62

No. 21 Texas A&M at Arkansas

Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN

The Aggies got their season back on track with four straight wins, including a huge one at Auburn, so we can forgive their loss at Missouri earlier this week. This is a big game for the Razorbacks, who are on the right side of the bubble for now, but have a brutal remaining schedule. After hosting A&M this weekend, they’ll play Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Missouri to wrap up the regular season, with the games against the Crimson Tide and Tigers on the road. A 1-4 or 0-5 stretch is absolutely in play and could knock them out of the tournament field. Arkansas doesn’t have the offense to consistently win in the half court against the Aggies defense, which is ranked fourth in kenpom.com’s adjusted efficiency. But if the Razorbacks can get stops, their offense—which is dangerous in transition—can get out and run and get easy buckets before the Aggies can get set. That’s the path to victory for the Razorbacks. I’m not so sure they’ll be able to traverse it.

Texas A&M 70, Arkansas 67

No. 3 Villanova at No. 4 Xavier

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX

Villanova looked unbeatable as recently as two weeks ago, but the Wildcats are suddenly reeling after losing two of three in advance of their toughest test of the season. Xavier hasn’t lost since falling at Villanova more than a month ago, ripping off nine straight wins since then. The Musketeers are undefeated at home this season, with wins over Cincinnati and Baylor, as well as every meaningful team in the Big East other than Villanova. Phil Booth torched the Musketeers for 21 points the first time these teams met, but he won’t be out there for the rematch. Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, meanwhile, combined to shoot just 6-for-21 from the floor, including 2-for-10 from distance. This is the game of the weekend and it’s a pretty strong weekend. You don’t want to miss it.

Xavier 87, Villanova 85

No. 20 West Virginia at No. 13 Kansas

Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

Both of these teams look capable of going on Final Four runs and losing in the first weekend of the tournament. The Jayhawks won the first meeting between the two in Morgantown behind 17 points from Svi Mykhailiuk and 16 from Devonte’ Graham. What’s most troubling for the Mountaineers is that the Jayhawks were perfectly capable of playing at the former’s desired pace, winning a game in which they scored just 1.03 points per possession, in part by holding their opponents to 0.96 points per possession. The Mountaineers did almost everything they would want to do to a team like Kansas, most notably forcing turnovers on 18.8% of possessions, and they still couldn’t win. At home. That does not bode well for them this weekend.

Kansas 78, West Virginia 69

No. 7 Texas Tech at Baylor

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Don’t lose this game in the sea of great matchups this weekend. Both Texas Tech and Baylor are surging of late, though that means different things to each, given where they started and their respective ceilings. The Red Raiders have won seven straight games and could threaten the top line depending on how they end the season. The Bears were left for dead three weeks ago, but have won four straight, including victories over Kansas and Texas, and are now firmly in the at-large picture, even earning one of the final spots in our field of 68 in the latest Bracket Watch. A win on Saturday would likely vault the Bears higher up the seed list, but they’ll have to find a way to slow down Keenan Evans. Baylor is a much different team than the first time these two met back in December, but, for what it’s worth, Texas Tech coasted to a 24-point victory in that game. This one will be closer, but the Red Raiders are simply too tough on the defensive end for a limited Bears offense.

Texas Tech 64, Baylor 58

No. 14 North Carolina at Louisville

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

This is a huge game for Louisville’s tournament chances. The Cardinals haven’t defeated a likely tournament team since January 10 when they won at Florida State, although their win three days later over Virginia Tech looks better now than it did then. Still, Louisville is at least one good win away from the dance and even that might not get the job done. The Tar Heels have kicked their offense into high gear, winning their last four games while averaging 89.3 points per game and scoring no fewer than 1.22 points per possession in any of the four. The Cardinals must find a way to slow the Tar Heels down, at least in some respect. Put simply, they can’t keep up with a team scoring 1.2 points per possession.

North Carolina 83, Louisville 75

Marquette at Creighton

Saturday, 10 p.m. ET

Marquette’s fate is not yet sealed but it needs resumé-building wins, and it needs them now. Saturday night’s game would absolutely qualify, with Creighton all but a lock for the big dance. The good news for the Golden Eagles is that they should be comfortable with the pace and style of this game, with both of these teams heavily tilted to the offensive side of the floor. The bad news is that they’re going to have to figure out a way to outscore the pairing of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, because it’s safe to say a defense as woeful as Marquette’s isn’t going to slow them down. Creighton isn’t necessarily known for its defense, either, but it does do a decent job against three-point shooters, which could make things tricky for Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey.

Creighton 92, Marquette 82

No. 12 Duke at No. 11 Clemson

Sunday, 1 p.m., ACC Network

Clemson is 4-2 since losing Donte Grantham, an achievement that absolutely deserves recognition. Having said that, three of the wins came against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, while the losses were at Virginia and Florida State. The Tigers did beat North Carolina at home, thanks in large part to making 15 of their 30 attempts from behind the arc. They’ll likely need to follow a similar script to beat Duke, but it’s hard to see that unfolding. What’s more, the Blue Devils are more equipped to attack the Tigers undermanned frontcourt than the Tar Heels were, with Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter as the most efficient 1-2 interior punch in the country. That Clemson remains dangerous without its best player is impressive, but Duke is an entirely new beast for the Grantham-less Tigers.

Duke 82, Clemson 74

No. 8 Ohio State at No. 22 Michigan

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Forget about football, we’ve got a huge basketball game between these two bitter rivals on Sunday. These teams met way back on Dec. 4, with the Buckeyes scoring a 71-62 win in Columbus. Keita Bates-Diop has gone on to make himself the favorite for the Big Ten Player of the Year since then and his individual matchup with Charles Matthews will be worth whatever it takes to get yourself in front of a TV for this game. The two are both lethal interior scorers for wing players, and it was Bates-Diop who won the first clash, scoring 18 points while leading the effort to hold Matthews to four on 2-for-9 shooting. A win in Ann Arbor put the regular season Big Ten championship firmly within Ohio State’s sights, with their two remaining regular season games against Rutgers and Indiana. Michigan, however, has the right personnel to make that difficult, with Mo Wagner a particularly tough cover for Ohio State’s bigs.

Michigan 71, Ohio State 70

Houston at Temple

Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

The weekend ends with a couple of big games in the AAC. Up first is a pair of bubble teams, both of which would bolster their resumés with a win on Sunday. Houston moved itself into the group of teams likely to make the tournament after beating Cincinnati at home on Thursday. We can’t yet call the Cougars a lock, but as they avoid disaster, we’re confident they’ll be in in the dance. Temple, meanwhile, lost a close game to Wichita State on Thursday, and is in need of at least one more win over a tournament-quality team. This is their last chance for one in the regular season. The first meeting between these teams was a doozy, with Houston holding on for a 76-73 win.

Houston 70, Temple 66

No. 19 Wichita State at No. 5 Cincinnati

Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN

The loss to Houston was Cincinnati’s first since Dec. 9, and now it has to turn right around and play host to a Wichita State team that finally seems to be finding its stride on offense. It will be interesting to see how Mick Cronin and the Bearcats handle Landry Shamet. The teams primary point guards, Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome, give up six and four inches, respectively, to Shamet. Cronin could use Jarron Cumberland as a point guard, but he hasn’t shown a ton of willingness to not have one of Jenifer or Broome on the floor. That’s one of the games within this game that will help determine the outcome. The other is how Wichita State’s front court trio of Rashard Kelly, Shaq Morris and Markis McDuffie handles Gary Clark. This is the first time these teams have played this season, with the return matchup looming in two weeks in Wichita.

Cincinnati 75, Wichita State 70

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