We have finally reached the month of March, and that means that college basketball takes center stage. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is always one of the most significant sporting events of the year, but the final week of the regular season will provide plenty of drama as well.
The March Madness bubble is starting to get a bit crowded, and the race for the four number 1 seeds is heating up as well. Here are some of the best college basketball games of the week to watch out for.
Tuesday, March 2: Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Wolverines
The top two teams in the Big Ten Conference will finally meet up on Tuesday night when the Michigan Wolverines host the Illinois Fighting Illini. This game was supposed to be played weeks ago but was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns within the Michigan program.
The Wolverines have lost just one game this season, and they are in line to win the Big Ten regular-season championship. Illinois has four conference losses, but they have been on a tear of late.
Both teams can really score, but Michigan is the much better defensive team. This game will also feature two of the best big men in the country, and points in the paint could be hard to come by.
Illinois could be without All-American Ayo Dosunmu, and that would be a massive blow. The Fighting Illini will keep this game close, but Michigan is not losing on their home floor.
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Wednesday, March 3: Creighton Blue Jays at Villanova Wildcats
The Big East Conference has had some very interesting results this season, including the first matchup between Creighton and Villanova. The Bluejays picked up an 86-70 win in that first meeting, and revenge will be on the mind of Villanova.
Creighton is an elite offensive team that is capable of scoring 80 points per game, but Villanova can really defend. The Wildcats don’t have a true offensive star, but this is a team that plays well together.
Look for this to be a much closer game than the first meeting, and it will be Villanova that will have the edge this time around.
Saturday, March 6: Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio State Buckeyes
Illinois and Ohio State will likely be battling for the final number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when they meet up on Saturday. Ohio State picked up an 87-81 win over Illinois earlier this season, and there is not much separation between these two teams.
Illinois has become a much better defensive team since that game, but they are still giving up some points. EJ Liddell of Ohio State dominated that first meeting, but look for Illinois and Kofi Cockburn to get some revenge.
If Ayo Dosunmu is able to return to the lineup for this game, then Illinois should have a slight edge. Dosunmu already has a pair of triple-doubles this season, and he shines when on the biggest stage.
This game will be tight but look for Illinois to get some revenge.
Saturday, March 6: Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels
Duke and North Carolina are usually battling it out for the ACC regular-season title in this meeting, but that isn’t the case this time around. A spot in the NCAA Tournament could be on the line on Saturday night when these two ACC rivals meet up.
North Carolina earned a win over Duke in the first meeting of the year, and the Blue Devils will be looking for revenge. Neither team has been strong on the defensive end of the floor this season, and that could lead to a high-scoring affair.
UNC won the first meeting by a score of 91-87, and this game should play out in a similar fashion. Duke needs this game more, but it will be North Carolina that sweeps the season series from their rival.