Katz was also joined by CBS Sports' Seth Davis, San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher, and Notre Dame's Mike Brey on this podcast.
Katz was 4-2 with his predictions last week to improve his overall record to 15-5. So, let's get to it. Here were Andy Katz's predictions and final results for his games to watch this week in college basketball:
The Golden Gophers enter this matchup undefeated at 6-0. Illinois is 4-2 after a three-game stretch where they faced three tough teams. The Illini emerged 1-2 as they took down No. 21 Duke but fell to both No. 2 Baylor and No. 16 Missouri. Katz thinks Illinois will bounce back and get its first conference win of the year at home.
Katz's pick: Illinois
Result: Correct! Illinois, 92-65.
Both teams come into this matchup 2-2. The Blue Devils have beaten Coppin State and Bellarmine but have fallen to high-quality foes like No. 4 Michigan State and No. 13 Illinois. The Irish have knocked off Kentucky on the road and Detroit, but like Duke, have lost to two Big Ten teams — the Spartans and No. 20 Ohio State. Katz likes the Irish in this matchup though, citing their win over Kentucky in Rupp Arena as a major confidence booster.
Katz's pick: Notre Dame
Result: Wrong. Duke, 75-65
Both the Red Raiders and the Jayhawks are on a roll. Kansas has won six straight games since falling to No. 1 Gonzaga in their first game of the season and Texas Tech has carved out a four-game win streak of their own after falling to No. 6 Houston. Katz likes the Red Raiders to make an early statement in the Big 12.
Katz's pick: Wrong. Kansas, 58-57
The West Coast is the best coast, at least that's what UCLA legend Bill Walton will tell you. This particular West Coast matchup does offer something exciting though because the Aztecs have emerged as one of the best teams (almost) no one expected this season. San Diego State (5-0) is No. 15 in Andy Katz's latest Power 36 rankings. Wins over UCLA and Arizona State have impressed Katz and he doesn't see the Aztecs slowing down anytime soon.
Katz's pick: Wrong. BYU, 72-62
There are a lot of variables at play in this top-5 matchup. The Zags haven't played a game since Dec. 2 but the Hawkeyes haven't played a game outside of Iowa City all season. Both teams are undefeated in this potential Final Four preview, but Katz likes Gonzaga to pull off a close win.
Katz's pick: Correct! Gonzaga, 99-88.
Both UCLA and Kentucky enter this matchup unranked — uncommon when these two powerhouse programs typically get together. This game is in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the CBS Sports Classic and will be tests for both teams to get a much-needed win. UK has lost four straight, starting the season 1-4. With that skid, Katz likes the Bruins. He doesn't see Calipari and company getting it together in time for this game.
Katz's pick: UCLA
The Buckeyes and Tar Heels face off in Cleveland this Saturday in the other game of the CBS Sports Classic. Katz likes Carolina to get the win here although UNC has lost both of its ranked games this season. He sees UNC's depth and size as too much to handle for the Buckeyes, especially with OSU's Seth Towns and EJ Lidell still potentially out with injuries.
Katz's pick: North Carolina
Editor's note: Matchups for Saturday's CBS Sports Classic have been flipped. Here's the new schedule. Both games will be on CBS:
- No. 22 North Carolina vs. Kentucky at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
- No. 20 Ohio State vs. UCLA at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS: Creighton, West Virginia, Tennessee climb in Power 36 for Dec. 14
The Cardinals and Badgers will make-up their ACC/Big Ten challenge game on Saturday. This will be Louisville's first game since Dec. 1. The Cards look to come back with a top-tier win over one of the best teams in the Big Ten. But, because of that downtime, Katz likes the Badgers' experience to get the win over Louisville at home.
Katz's pick: Correct! Wisconsin, 85-48.
It'll be another tough week for the Illini this week. Last week Illinois went 1-1 beating Duke but falling to Missouri on the road. This week, they'll face Minnesota and then travel to New Jersey to face the Scarlet Knights. Two Big Ten matchups equal two big-time victories, Katz thinks. He sees Illinois as the better team in this game, even on the road.
Katz's pick: Wrong. Rutgers, 91-88.
SURGING SOPHOMORES: The numbers show these sophomores have made a leap in 2020-21
Oklahoma State and freshman phenom Cad Cunningham will travel to Austin to take on the Longhorns on Sunday. The Cowboys will be looking to improve on their potentially undefeated record — they'll face TCU the Tuesday before this game. Katz sees Texas as the overall better team in this matchup though. They have more experience against better teams this season and have more experience on the floor with their veteran team.
Katz's pick: Correct! Texas, 77-74.
Speaking of pauses, No. 17 Virginia will be coming off about two weeks rest when the Cavs play Villanova in Madison Square Garden this weekend. Virginia's last game was against Kent State on Dec. 4. 'Nova, on the other hand, could be 6-1 coming into this game with a win over Big East foe Butler earlier in the week. Katz likes the 'Hoos here. He thinks they need a big win, and with no fans in Madison Square Garden, he thinks UVA can pull off the upset on a true neutral court.
Katz's pick: Virginia