college basketball

Huge college basketball matchups looming to determine regular-season titles

March is right around the corner, which means the Madness is on the horizon, but there are some key late-February/early March matchups in conference schedules that will go a long way to determining regular-season titles and seeding for the conference tournament and Big Dance.ย 

This is the second part of a two-part series and will take a look at the key matchups in the Big 12, Big East, Pac-12, and SEC in the second part of this two-part series. Last week in part one we looked at the AAC, ACC, Atlantic 10, and Big 10.

One caveat to these important games left in the conference schedules is how each conference decides to make up missed games within each conference.ย 

Baylor is the team in the strangest predicament among teams in these conferences. The undefeated Bears have missed five games and could play as many as seven games in 15 days before the conference tournament, including a pair of games against second-place West Virginia. Oregon is in a similar position. They have not played either USC or UCLA this season. Those happen to be the two teams that sit atop the Pac-12 schedule. On the flip side, Xavier has played only 6 conference games.

Conference Schedule Favors Villanova in Big East

After a huge matchup between the top two teams in the Big East today when Villanova plays at second-place Creighton, the Wildcats will look to close out their seventh regular-season title in eight years. The Wildcats do have some games to make up, as many as six contests, but they own a three-game lead over Creighton, making Saturdayโ€™s tilt ultra important. Ironically, the Blue Jays have not missed one game this season due to Covid-19 reasons.

Standings (as of February 12, 2021)

  1. Villanova (8-1)
  2. Creighton (11-4)
  3. Xavier (4-2)
  4. Seton Hall (8-5)

Important Games:
Villanova – February 20 @ UConn, February 23 vs St. Johnโ€™s, March 3 vs Creighton;
Creighton – February 27 @ Xavier, March 3 @ Villanova;
Xavier – February 16 @ St. Johnโ€™s, February 27 vs Creighton; Plus a slew of makeups;
Seton Hall – March 3 vs UConn, March 6 @ St. Johnโ€™s

Big East Conference Tournament
The Big East Conference Tournament will be played March 10-13 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Baylor Has Three Game Lead in Big 12

We went seven-deep in the Big 12 because Oklahoma State is seventh in the league, but ranked 23rd in the country. Kansas is not ranked but has the second-most wins in the conference. Baylor has a three-game cushion but will play a slew of games in a short time frame. Texas may have as high a ceiling as anyone other than Baylor come NCAA Tournament time but their remaining conference schedule is brutal.

Standings (as of February 12, 2021)

  1. Baylor (9-0)
  2. West Virginia (7-3)
  3. Oklahoma (7-4)
  4. Kansas (8-5)
  5. Texas (6-4)
  6. Texas Tech (6-5)
  7. Oklahoma State (5-6)

Important Games:

Baylor – February 20 vs Oklahoma State; February 27 @ Kansas; Makeups TBA with West Virginia (2) and Texas Tech;
West Virginia – February 20 @ Texas, Makeups with Baylor (2);
Oklahoma – February 16 vs Texas, February 25 and 27 against Oklahoma State;
Kansas – February 20 vs Texas Tech, February 23 @ Texas, February 27 vs Baylor;
Texas – February 16 @ Oklahoma, February 20 West Virginia, February 23 vs Kansas, February 27 @ Texas Tech, and a makeup with Baylor;
Texas Tech – February 20 @ Kansas, February 22 @ Oklahoma State, February 27 vs Texas

Big 12 Conference Tournament
The Big 12 Conference Tournament is scheduled to be played March 10-13 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Pac 12 Likely Will Be Battle of Los Angeles

The Pac 12 is a three-horse race with a pecking order of USC, UCLA with Colorado looming on the outside hoping for a photo finish. USC already owns a road win over crosstown rival UCLA and hosts the Bruins in the final regular-season game of the conference schedule on March 6, 2021. Colorado is two games back and hosts both USC and UCLA in late February with a chance to make up ground. Oregon is playing their best basketball of the season, but has not played either of the Los Angeles schools as of yet and is not slated to as of this time.

Standings (as of February 12, 2021)

  1. USC (10-2)
  2. UCLA (9-3)
  3. Colorado (10-4)
  4. Oregon (6-3)

Important Games:
USC – February 25 @ Colorado; March 6 vs UCLA;
UCLA – February 27 @ Colorado; March 6 @ USC;
Colorado – February 18 @ Oregon, February 25 vs USC, February 27 vs UCLA;
Oregon – February 18 vs Colorado, February 25 @ Stanford

Pac-12 Conference Tournament
The Pac-12 Conference Tournament is scheduled for March 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Just Like Football, SEC Conference Schedule Runs Through Alabama

Alabama owns the SEC in football. The same can be said for basketball, at least in this 2020-2021 season. More than two-thirds of the way through the conference schedule, the Crimson Tide own a three-game lead. More importantly, they face only one team in the top eight of the current conference standings. There are five teams tied for second in the loss column heading into Saturdayโ€™s conference schedule slate. They are Tennessee, Arkansas, LSU, Florida, and Missouri. The Tigers (Missouri) are the only team to beat Alabama in conference play. The SEC has been fortunate from a loss of game standpoint. Only the Gators have missed more than one game in conference play to date. As noted below, the conference schedule does not have the leaders facing off down the home stretch.

Standings (as of February 12, 2021)

  1. Alabama (11-1)
  2. Tennessee (7-4)
  3. Arkansas (7-4)
  4. LSU (7-4)
  5. Florida (6-4)
  6. Missouri (6-4)

Important Games:
Alabama – February 24 @ Arkansas;
Tennessee – February 20 vs Kentucky;
Arkansas – February 16 vs Florida, February 24 vs Alabama, February 27 vs LSU;
LSU – February 27 @ Arkansas;
Florida – February 16 @ Arkansas, February 27 @ Kentucky, March 3 vs Missouri;
Missouri – March 3 vs Florida


Featured image from USC basketball Twitter page.

By skirck2