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10 To Watch: Saturday’s Top College Hoops

Can C.J. Fair and Syracuse pile some more misery on the Tar Heels?

Can C.J. Fair and Syracuse pile some more misery on the Tar Heels?

Saturday’s extensive schedule of college basketball comes packed with high quality action and potential drama.

From the nation’s best teams trying to prove their worth to some deep-rooted rivalry games, if you’re planning on catching some hoops on Saturday you won’t be disappointed.

Here are 10 games that are worth tuning in for or, at the very least, checking in with when the NFL Playoffs go to commercial.

Let’s start with the five best games featuring ranked teams.

1. North Carolina at No. 2 Syracuse

12:00 p.m. ET – You’d have to have been living under a rock to not know about the inconsistent play of North Carolina (10-5, 0-2 ACC). Wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky have been followed by losses to Wake Forest and Miami in league play. Can Roy Williams’ side steady the ship?

No. 2 Syracuse (15-0, 2-0 ACC) is making a huge impact in its first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Unbeaten through 15, the Orange will look to send the Tar Heels into a 0-3 tempest when they make their first ever visit to the Carrier Dome Saturday lunchtime.

(Game odds)

2. No. 25 Kansas State at No. 18 Kansas

2:00 p.m. ET – The Big 12 schedule this weekend is a corker, but this rivalry showdown between ranked sides looks like the tastiest serving of action. No. 25 Kansas State (12-3, 2-0 Big 12) comes into the game having won 10 on the bounce. No. 18 Kansas (10-4, 1-0 Big 12) meanwhile is simply looking to build some chemistry after a disappointing start to the year. The Jayhawks are big favorites entering the game thanks to a terrific record at Allen Fieldhouse and a 9-1 record against the Wildcats in the last 10, but you’d be right to be anxious about Kansas’ chances.

(Game odds)

3. No. 9 Iowa State at Oklahoma

12:00 p.m. ET – The Big 12’s best team, at the moment at least, No. 9 Iowa State (14-0, 2-0 Big 12) will look to remain unbeaten on the season, but a tough road trip to Norman and a showdown with Oklahoma (12-3, 1-1 Big 12) might spoil that perfect record. The Sooners will be seeking revenge after being dumped out of the Big 12 Tournament by the Cyclones last March. If you’re looking for a betting tip, nine of the last 10 games between the sides have seen the total go over.

(Game odds)

4. Minnesota at No. 5 Michigan State

2:15 p.m. ET – Barring an out-of-sorts loss to UNC, No. 5 Michigan State (14-1, 3-0 Big Ten) would in all likelihood be ranked first or second in the nation. The Spartans can look to climb a spot or two Saturday as they hose Minnesota (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten). A win for the Gophers – all three losses of which have been against quality opposition – on Saturday would be headline material, especially considering they’ve dropped eight of the last 10 against Michigan State.

(Game odds)

5. No. 16 Duke at Clemson

2:00 p.m. ET – In its first true road game of the season, No. 16 Duke (12-3, 1-1 ACC) fell 79-77 to Notre Dame. Kike Krzyzewski and thBlue Devils will hope it’s a different story at Littlejohn Coliseum on Saturday. Clemson (10-4, 1-1 ACC) will look to snap a five-game losing streak against Duke on Saturday. The Tigers have also dropped eight of the last 10. But with Duke looking somewhat vulnerable, can Clemson sneak in and steal a win?

(Game odds)

Can Jabari Parker and Duke win on the road in Clemson?

Can Jabari Parker and Duke win on the road in Clemson?

It’s easy to get caught up in the ins and outs of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, but there are some real gems outside of that portion of the schedule. Here are the top five.

6. Ole Miss at Mississippi State

4:00 p.m. ET – Can you say rivalry? Ole Miss (10-4, 1-0 SEC) will make the journey to Starkville to take on long-time rivals, Mississippi State (10-4, 0-1 SEC). The Rebels are favored by 1.5 but the Bulldogs have taken seven of the last 10. How will it play out at Humphrey Coliseum?

(Game odds)

7. Texas Tech at Texas

8:00 p.m. ET – Can you say more rivalry? Both Texas (11-4, 0-2 Big 12) and Texas Tech (8-7, 0-2 Big 12) have begun the Big 12 campaign 0-2, giving each a little more impetus to pick up the W in this one. Of course, the Longhorns have won 10 straight and 17 of the last 18 meetings, giving them a huge edge heading into the game in Austin.

(Game odds)

8. Utah State at Nevada

8:00 p.m. ET – After going 5-8 in non-conference play, Nevada (8-8, 3-0 MWC) has surprisingly won its opening three Mountain West games. The Wolf Pack will face its toughest challenge yet when Utah State (11-3, 1-1 MWC) arrives in Reno. Nevada snapped a five-game losing streak against the Aggies last year, defeating Saturday’s opponent twice.

(Game odds)

9. Virginia at North Carolina State

5:00 p.m. ET – A pair of 11-win sides face off Saturday as Virginia (11-4, 2-0 ACC) travels to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State (11-4, 1-1 ACC). The Cavaliers are expected to be contenders in the ACC this season while the Wolfpack is predicted to fall away after an impressive season a year ago. A win for NC State, who has taken two of three from Virginia, would be a big early statement.

(Game odds)

10. Army at Navy

4:00 p.m. ET – It might not come with the pomp and pageantry of its football equivalent and you might not get to bet on the game, but if you’re looking for a couple hours of patriotic pride you’d struggle to do better than to watch Army (7-7, 3-0 Patriot) and Navy (6-8, 1-2 Patriot) do battle in Annapolis, Md.

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