College basketball is on its slow trajectory to being the focus of sports at least for a little bit. We’re about a month away from the United States sports viewing public turning the page to hoops. As we inch closer, there are still a ton of compelling matchups on a slate that features four games between ranked opponents on Saturday, January 16.
Before, during and after the NFL’s doubleheader on Saturday, there will be college basketball games going on all across the country, making for a multiple-TV setup type of weekend. Here’s a look at some of the games to watch and one to avoid.
The game of the day will be the No. 2 Baylor Bears going on the road to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders, ranked 15th in the country at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. The Bears remain unbeaten this year and won every single game by double digits so far including four Big 12 games. Baylor might be the most balanced team in college basketball based on offensive and defensive efficiency, but the Bears will be tested on Saturday.
If Baylor can find a way to win this game by double digits, that would be the most impressive feat yet for this team. Texas Tech won three games in a row including a two-point win over the Texas Longhorns on the road Wednesday night. The Red Raiders play great defense with the seventh best efficiency on that side of the floor in the country, and they will slow the game down to their pace. The Red Raiders rank 236th in possessions per game.
This game will tip off at 4 p.m. ET and can be see on ESPN or streamed on the WatchESPN app.
Maybe it’s not fair to call a game between a pair of ranked teams an underrated matchup, but it’s an early start in the Big Ten and I say it qualifies. We’re going to Champaign for a noon ET tip off to start the college basketball day when the 14th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini take on the 21st-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
After blowing out the Duke Blue Devils earlier this season, Illinois lost two of its next three games, but the Fighting Illini appear back on track. They won four in a row before having their streak snapped on Sunday with a three-point loss to Maryland. On the other side, Ohio State lost two of three before winning each of its last two games, coming off a 10-point win over Northwestern on Wednesday night.
This is a matchup between two of the better offenses in the country. Illinois ranks 13th in offensive efficiency, while Ohio State checks in at No. 19 in this category.
This game can be seen on FOX or streamed on Fox Sports Go.
For the worst game of the day, we’ll stick with one of the major college basketball conferences in the country. Regardless of your TV setup, none of them need to be focused on the matchup between the UCLA Bruins and Washington Huskies.
This isn’t because of the Bruins, as they’re playing quite well in their second season under Mick Cronin. This is 100% because of this Washington team, which is really struggling this year. The Huskies started out the season losing by 34 points to Baylor, and it hasn’t gotten much better since then. Washington is 1-10 overall and 0-6 in conference play. The lone win for the Huskies came against Seattle University back on December 9.
This game will start at 5 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network, making it very easy for you to avoid at all costs.