I went 2-3 with Wednesday's picks, moving to 105-106-3 on the season. This isn't the last weekend of regular season games, but it may be the most meaningful. By this time next week, most of the conference tournament seeds will be sorted out and the weekend games will be mere formalities. This week, though, this week, there are still rivalries to be battled through and title hopes to be ruined or fulfilled. That's a fantastic recipe for quality college basketball, and I'll be locked to the screen.
As always, all times Eastern. Let's do this!
4:00pm CBS: No. 3 Missouri (+8) @ No. 5 Kansas
No more Missouri vs. Kansas. No more border wars. No more belligerent text messages between me and that inbred Show-Me-Stater that once served as my groomsman. This is the final Big XII meeting between Missouri and Kansas, with both teams ranked Top 5 nationally, with Kansas ahead in the standings but Missouri having won the first matchup. It's the two most underrated players in the country (Marcus Denmon and Phil Pressey) vs. the innate Jayhawk drive to win a ninth straight conference title. Everything about this screams slugfest, and nothing about this screams nine-point win. I'm gonna miss it.
Plenty more picks after the jump...
12:00pm CBS: Vanderbilt @ No. 1 Kentucky (-2)
Right now, Kentucky can beat anyone in the country by thirteen points at home. They could beat the Monstars by thirteen at home, and that's twelve points better than MJ did it. For chrissakes, elastic Anthony Davis & Co. were down by thirteen at Mississippi State and still won by nine. Vandy can't hang.
2:00pm CBS: UCLA (+4) @ Arizona
So after the whole Reeves Nelson debacle, can we agree that UCLA has essentially salvaged the season? The Bruins are 6-2 in their last eight Pac-12 games and beat Arizona by seven back in early January. Solomon Hill, Kyle Fogg and the Arizona squad are markedly better at home. Are they twelve points better? I'm not sure.
4:00pm ESPN/ESPN3: No. 7 North Carolina (-3.5) @ Virginia
For all their potential, Virginia is 0-3 against ranked ACC opponents and don't exactly rise to the occasion. Kendall Marshall and the Tar Heels have the best offense in the country, besides maybe Missouri, and they're run wild even against the snail's pace of the Cavaliers.
9:00pm ESPN/ESPN3: No. 2 Syracuse (-4.5) @ Connecticut
Exactly one week ago, No. 13 Marquette won at UCONN by 15 points. And with Syracuse rolling and the Huskies still reeling, there's no reason to think that this one will be any closer.