Here is what to know in college basketball for Saturday, Feb. 3:
In the noon hour:
Duke at St. John’s, 12 p.m. ET, FOX: The Blue Devils have as much, if not more, room for growth than any other team in the country. They are getting healthier and generally thrive in the Garden. But this will be a good test for Duke’s on-ball defense on the perimeter.
Oklahoma State at Kansas, 12 p.m. ET, CBS: Look for the Jayhawks to finally put together a run. It just seems like as the calendar turns to February, this will be the time for a Kansas march toward another Big 12 title.
Cincinnati at UConn, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2: The Bearcats are going to run away with the American title. Book it. UConn needs to show it can rise up and meet a challenge. They are overmatched, but they still have heart. Still, they can have offensive dry spells, and the Bearcats are the worst team to starve against.
Notre Dame at NC State, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Irish are clinging barely to stay on the bubble. The Wolfpack are a trendy pick to be a lock. This is where they prove that they are ready for prime time by beating a team they should, not just rising up against a perceived favorite.
Houston at UCF, 12 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Cougars played Cincinnati extremely well but couldn’t keep them from charging ahead. Houston needs to avoid a two-game skid if it has any faint hopes of catching the Bearcats. Houston gets one more chance against the Bearcats on Feb. 15.
In the 2 p.m. hour:
Texas Tech at TCU, 2 p.m. ET, ESPNU: TCU has put itself in a danger zone and then back on the bubble, but beating the Red Raiders would do wonders for its overall profile. Chris Beard has done a masterful job creating a defensive culture in Lubbock.
Clemson at Wake Forest, 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network: OK, Clemson, you knocked off North Carolina at home. Now go and win a game that, in the past, you wouldn’t have. This will be a big test for the Tigers.
Kentucky at Missouri, 2 p.m. ET, CBS: The Tigers are suddenly a viable bubble team after winning at Alabama. Kentucky squeezed out a home win over Vanderbilt. Someone needs momentum off this one.
Missouri, what’s good? We in here. pic.twitter.com/mJOP4q5zNd— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 3, 2018
Miami at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Canes have an NCAA resume, the Hokies do not — yet. But Virginia Tech can improve its bubble status by holding serve at home.
South Carolina at Texas A&M, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN2: This is the ultimate bubble game. The Gamecocks have looked the part at times (see: wins over Kentucky and at Florida). The Aggies have had their moments but most came in the non-conference. The winner stays afloat, the loser gets closer to moving to the edge of the bubble.
Minnesota at Michigan, 2:30 p.m ET, FOX: Richard Pitino still believes the Gophers can be a factor. They have the talent to do so, but now they will be a spoiler team. Michigan should be safe, but seeding will take a hit if they were to lose more at home.
B1G game tomorrow at #CrislerLIVE vs. Minnesota@JohnBeilein, @moritz_weasley & @JordanPoole_2 preview the match-up as knows each of the remaining 7 games are important#GoBlue pic.twitter.com/UElpe1KsHq— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) February 2, 2018
Providence at Marquette, 2:30 p.m. ET, FS1: The last time these two met, Markus Howard went for 52. This is a good bet that Ed Cooley will have the Friars locked in on Howard a second time around. The Golden Eagles desperately need significant wins in the Big East to show they are tourney worthy.
In the 3 p.m. hour:
Arkansas at LSU, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: The Hogs have the home resume locked up, but the road is a bit light. They could use as many as they can get. The Tigers have been an SEC pest, but have lacked consistency of late.
In the 4 p.m. hour:
Virginia at Syracuse, 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network: The Orange have stymied the Cavs before (see: Elite Eight) but this Virginia team is more diverse offensively and seems to be playing even tighter D. This will be yet another test for the Cavs to show they can/should be ACC regular-season champs. Syracuse needs a quality win, home or road.
Purdue at Rutgers, 4 p.m., ET, BTN: The RAC is sold out. This is the Scarlet Knights Super Bowl. Purdue has a showdown set for Wednesday against Ohio State and Rutgers is trying to spoil the show -- but they don’t have an Isaac Haas in the middle to combat the Boilers anchor.
Kansas State at West Virginia, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2: The Mountaineers have lost three in a row. That seems hard to believe, but it's true. Kansas State is the perpetual bubble team that needs as much help as it can get.
Alabama at Florida, 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network: The Tide stumbled at home against Mizzou. Florida lost at Georgia. Both teams need to find their mojo again and for the Tide, that means defense and for the Gators, that’s draining 3s. But both are teams that could be dangerous in March.
Florida State at Louisville, 4 p.m ET, ACC Network: Louisville won the first meeting by four and a sweep would create more distance between the two in the bid quest. The Cardinals have the better shot for a top-four finish and a win against the Seminoles would be another potential tiebreaker.
Georgetown at Xavier, 6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network: The Musketeers have a top two lines profile. Win this game and it keeps the needle moving in that direction.
Ole Miss at Tennessee, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network: Pay attention to Tennessee. This could be a second weekend team.
RISE&FIRE pic.twitter.com/Q2JsvnngXc— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) February 2, 2018
Iowa at Penn State, 6 p.m. ET, BTN: The Nittany Lions are clinging to hopes that they can get a bid. They must beat more elite Big Ten teams and can’t lose to teams below them in the standings.
Georgia at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Bulldogs got new bid life with a win over Florida. They could lose it by losing in Starkville.USC at UCLA, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2: The Trojans have made up for the poor non-conference performance with a solid Pac-12 start. The Bruins desperately need to be more consistent to make a case.
Oklahoma at Texas, 6:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: This is appointment viewing. Stars, stars, stars. Trae Young and Mo Bamba are special players. Just enjoy this one between two teams that will be in the field.
St. Bonaventure at Duquesne, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network: I kept the Bonnies on the board due to their overall numbers. Beat a quality Dukes team in Pittsburgh and the case gets a wee bit better.
UNLV at Boise State, 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network: The Broncos have the look of an NCAA team, but they MUST hold serve at home to have a chance.
Nevada at Colorado State, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Wolf Pack are the clear favorites to win the MWC, but Boise State is hoping for one slip up before they meet again.
Michigan State at Indiana, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Spartans have started slowly in two straight games, only to come back and beat Maryland on the road and Penn State at home. They can’t afford to get in another hole against the scrappy Hoosiers.
Vanderbilt at Auburn, 8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: The SEC favorites — yes, I said that — just need to continue to win at home since the road slate is going to get tougher in the next few weeks. But Vanderbilt is a real hard out as Kentucky discovered earlier in the week.
Saint Mary’s at San Diego, 9 p.m. ET: Danger. Danger. Danger. The Gaels have to go into the Slim Gym and escape with a road win. That’s not easy with a Torerors team that is vastly improved from a year ago.
BYU at Gonzaga, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2: The Cougars have played the Zags extremely well in Spokane since joining the league. But there is no way Gonzaga could lose two home games, right? Can’t see it.
Arizona at Washington, 10:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12: One of the best games of the night is one of the last. The Huskies beat Arizona State. If they get the sweep of the Arizona schools then a bid will look even stronger. Arizona has the size to disrupt the zone and the ability to get in the lane. Still, the joint should be jumping for this one.