Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
With the calendar turning March, it’s undoubtedly, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for college basketball fans.
The countdown has begun with barely two weeks until Selection Sunday. With some teams wrapping up their conference seasons and others still in heated races, Saturday’s college basketball slate has a large offering of intense matchups. Here’s the best showdowns:
No. 21 Butler at No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth | Saturday, noon, ESPN2
About the Bulldogs (22-6, 9-4 Atlantic 10): Butler fell out of first place in the conference with a recent four-point loss to Saint Louis, its second loss to the Billikens. The Bulldogs haven’t waltzed through the A-10 as some had expected after a strong non-conference schedule that included an overtime win vs. Indiana and a victory against Marquette. If Butler wants to stay alive in the league race, it will need to get past VCU on the road. Rotnei Clarke (17 points a game) continues to perform well in his final season after transferring from Arkansas.
About the Rams (22-6, 10-3): VCU can’t afford to slip up if it intends to challenge league leader Saint Louis, which has a half-game lead on the Rams in A-10 standings. This won’t be an easy matchup against a team with a similar pedigree. After back-to-back losses to Richmond and La Salle, VCU has won six of its last seven, with the lone loss coming by 14 points at Saint Louis. Coach Shaka Smart’s “havoc” press defense discomforts teams, but the Rams’ scoring is what has improved (more than 77points a game). Four players average in double figures, including Treveon Graham (15.6 points a game) and Juvonte Reddic (14.4 points a game).
The matchup: This is the showdown that college basketball fans have been waiting to see since Butler and VCU joined the A-10. It pits two of the country’s brightest young coaches (Brad Stevens and Smart) and two programs that have transformed from midmajor Cinderellas to perennial NCAA tournament participants.
Our pick: VCU
No. 9 Louisville at No. 12 Syracuse | Saturday, noon, CBS
About the Cardinals (23-5, 11-4 Big East): Despite a five-overtime loss to Notre … [For more on Top 5: The best upcoming college hoops games, click here.]