Top-ranked Hoosiers set to tangle with No. 4 Spartans
With just a couple of weeks to go before the onset of March Madness college basketball games take on added importance, with conference races and the scrambling for postseason berths. Here's a quick look at what's happening this week in college hoops, with some NCAA championship futures odds to ponder.
This week's action begins Monday night, as it often does, in the Big East as No. 16 Pittsburgh hosts No. 21 Notre Dame (7 pm ET, ESPN). And in a battle for first place in the Patriot League 21-5 Bucknell visits 18-6 Lehigh (7 pm ET, CBS Sports Network).
In early betting the Panthers were favored by 10 points over the Irish, and the Mountain Hawks were favored by a point and a half over the Bison.
Tuesday night features a bevy of big games. In a huge matchup in the Big Ten No. 1 Indiana visits No. 4 Michigan State (7 pm ET, ESPN); in the Atlantic 10 first-place VCU visits second-place St. Louis (9 pm ET, CBS Sports Network). Down in the SEC No. 5 Florida visits 18-7 Missouri (9 pm ET, ESPN); in the ACC No. 2 Miami, which is still undefeated in conference play and 15-5 ATS on the season, hosts 18-7 Virginia (9 pm ET, ESPN2); and in a Beehive State rivalry bout 19-8 BYU hosts 18-6 Utah State (9 pm ET).
Wednesday night 18-8 Minnesota tries to enhance its NCAA tournament credentials when it visits No. 18 Ohio State (7 pm ET, Big Ten Network). Down in the Big 12 Baylor, at 16-9, and 17-8 Iowa State will both try to do the same thing when they meet in Waco (9 pm ET, ESPNU). Staying in the Big 12 No. 9 Kansas, which has won two straight after losing three in a row, visits No. 14 Oklahoma State (9 pm ET, ESPN2). Out in the Mountain West No. 22 Colorado State hits Vegas to play 19-7 UNLV (10:15 pm ET, CBS Sports Network). And in the WCC No. 3 Gonzaga hosts 19-8 Santa Clara (11 pm ET, ESPNU).
Finally, Thursday's slate includes an intriguing Atlantic 10 matchup as 18-6 La Salle, trying to make the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years, takes on 17-8 Temple at the Liacouras Center (7 pm ET, CBS Sports Network). In the Big East 19-7 Cincinnati visits 17-7 UConn (7 pm ET, ESPN). And back out in the West Coast Conference 22-5 St. Mary's hosts 19-8 BYU (11 pm ET, ESPN2).
On the Big Dance championship futures market Indiana and Miami lead the betting at +450, followed by, among others, Florida at +600, Gonzaga at +900, Kansas and Michigan State at +1200 and Pitt and Minnesota at +4000.