Duke vs. Virginia Headlines the Top College Basketball Games to Watch in Week 11

    There's a chance that both of the country's two remaining undefeated teams, Michigan and Virginia, could lose in challenging conference road games this

    January 13, 2019

    There’s a chance that both of the country’s two remaining undefeated teams, Michigan and Virginia, could lose in challenging conference road games this week. Week 11 of the college basketball season also features a rematch of Virginia’s only ACC loss last season as well as a showdown between two of the top teams in the SEC.

    Here’s a look at some of the best games this week.


    Virginia Tech at Virginia, 8 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 15

    Undefeated Virginia (15-0) hasn’t faced an offense as efficient as that of Virginia Tech (14-1) and the Hokies have faced a defense as efficient as that of the Cavaliers. The two in-state rivals are tied with Duke for first place in the ACC and they’ll meet as top-10 teams in Charlottesville, where Virginia Tech handed Virginia its only home loss and its only loss to a conference foe last season.

    The Hokies made 11-of-29 three-point attempts (37.9%) in the upset on the road but a repeat performance from deep will be hard to come by. Even though Virginia Tech shoots better than 42 percent from three, Virginia has the best three-point defense in the country. Its opponents shoot just 24.5 percent from three.

    Even though Virginia Tech has the offensive firepower to score in the 80s with regularity this season, the Hokies will be comfortable playing at Virginia’s 353rd-ranked tempo.


    Iowa State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. ET, Wednesday, January 16

    The Big 12’s most efficient offense and most efficient defense will square off in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday, where first-place Texas Tech will host an Iowa State team that’s one of five schools in the conference with a 2-2 Big 12 record entering Monday.

    Two of the conference’s premier players – Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver and Iowa State’s Marial Shayok – will go head-to-head in a matchup of efficient 6-6 forwards. They rank second and third, respectively, in kenpom.com’s list top Big 12 players behind Kansas’ Dedric Lawson.

    Iowa State has a 3-1 advantage against Texas Tech since Texas Tech Coach Chris Beard arrived in Lubbock in 2016. But the Raiders, whose only loss this season came on a neutral floor to Duke, are a six-point favorite, according to kenpom.com.


    Maryland at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m. ET, Friday, January 18

    Ohio State will try to end a three-game skid at home against Maryland on Friday after having five days off since its last game against Iowa. Returning to Columbus should be a welcome change for the Buckeyes after back-to-back road losses but this game is far from a gimme since the Terrapins are the hottest team in the Big Ten outside of Michigan and Michigan State.

    Maryland has won five in a row and it’s in third place in the conference with a 5-1 record. While the Terps haven’t beaten a team that ranks in the top 50 on kenpom.com on the road this season, they’ve proven their ability to win away from home with back-to-back double-digit wins over Rutgers and Minnesota on the road.

    Maryland will host Wisconsin on Monday before traveling East. It might be an overstatement to call this a “must-win” game for Ohio State but the Buckeyes are backed in a corner and they could really use a win before traveling to Nebraska and Michigan at the end of the month.


    Michigan at Wisconsin, 12 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 19

    If you’re trying to predict when Michigan will lose its first game of the season, you’ll want to keep a close eye on this noon tip in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday. The Wolverines have a 50 percent chance of winning, according to kenpom.com, which is their lowest percent until they travel to East Lansing in their regular season finale.

    Wisconsin has lost three of its last four games so maybe it’s not the right time to buy stock in the Badgers but they played Virginia even in the final 30 minutes of their game at the Battle 4 Atlantis and they took Marquette to overtime on the road.

    Few teams take care of the ball better than the Badgers and they shoot almost 40 percent from three as a team, so if those trends continue next weekend and if Ethan Happ has another 30-point, 12-rebound, five-assist standout performance, there’s a reasonable scenario in which Wisconsin hands Michigan its first loss.

    If Michigan wins, it’s still unlikely the Wolverines will go undefeated in the regular season but it would leave only a handful of remaining matchups in which it’d be a reason to pick their opponent to win.


    Kentucky at Auburn, 4 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 19

    This game features the team picked to win the SEC in the preseason media poll (Kentucky) traveling to face a reigning SEC co-champion (Auburn). There’s still lots of basketball to be played but the loser will likely fall two games behind Tennessee, the other conference co-champion last season that’s currently tied with Ole Miss and South Carolina atop the SEC standings.

    The advanced metrics love Auburn, which is ranked No. 11 on kenpom.com with the nation’s No. 10 offense and No. 36 defense, but the Tigers have lost to the three toughest opponents they’ve played. Auburn’s best wins are against Washington, Arizona and Murray State, so a win over Kentucky would immediately become its best win of the season.

    Kentucky owns a neutral-court win over North Carolina and a road win at Louisville, showing how good the Wildcats can be when they get rolling, but they lost their last SEC road game against an Alabama team that’s inferior to Auburn.


    Virginia at Duke, 6 p.m. ET, Saturday, January 19

    Saturday night’s game in Durham has the makings to be on the short list of the best college basketball games in the regular season. Virginia is the defending ACC regular season and tournament champion, which only lost once to a conference foe last season, but Duke will be the higher-ranked team in the AP poll and the Blue Devils have certainly received more media attention thanks to their freshman class of Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones.

    But assuming Virginia beats Virginia Tech at home on Tuesday, the Cavaliers will be undefeated entering Cameron Indoor Stadium. Virginia has the country’s No. 1 three-point defense, No. 2 effective field goal defense and a strong defensive rebounding pedigree to combat Duke’s Williamson-led attack on the offensive glass.

    These are the top two teams on kenpom.com with Duke at No. 1 and Virginia at No. 2. Both team’s offensive and defensive efficiency ranks in the top six nationally.

    A Duke win could confirm the Blue Devils’ AP poll ranking as the No. 1 team in the country while a Virginia victory would prove that the ACC still runs through Charlottesville even if the Blue Devils have a historically talented freshman class.


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