|Andrew Wiggins’ huge dunk versus rivals, Kansas State|
Virginia Cavaliers (12-4) vs (16) Duke Blue Devils (12-4)
Virginia has had a dream start in ACC play going 3-0 thus, and winning each of those games by an average of 18.6 points per game. Virginia hangs its hat on the defensive side of the floor, where they allow only 55.9 points per game, which ranks them third in the NCAA. Duke will have to keep an eye on Virginia’s leading scorer, Joe Harris, who only averages 10.7 points per game, but he is capable of hitting threes (shoots about 41% from behind the arc).
Duke has been a bit up and down in its last three games, going 1-2 and just not playing great defense. Jabari Parker is no doubt the star of this team, but he also has a very good supporting cast in Rodney Hood, Quinn Cook and Andre Dawkins, just to name a few. A surprising stat is that the Blue Devils have only turned the ball over a total of 18 times in three games, which means they are protecting the ball very well. If Duke can get their three point shooters going, the Virginia defense could have a long day because the Blue Devils have five players shooting over 40% from three and have the 21stbest scoring team in the nation.
Prediction: Duke Blue Devils by 10
(18) Kansas Jayhawks (11-4) vs (9) Iowa State Cyclones (14-1)
It was a statement game on Saturday for the Jayhawks, as they defeated their rivals, Kansas State by 26 points. Living in Toronto, I have been able to watch a lot of the Kansas games this year, and I feel that in Saturday’s game, it was the best showing by highly touted freshman, Andrew Wiggins, who finished with 22 points and five rebounds on 7/13 shooting. That being said, this Kansas team is much more than Wiggins. Joel Embiid has been very impressive, not only on the defensive end where he can alter shots and grab rebounds, but also on the offensive end, where he has shown a silky smooth jump shot at times. The Jayhawks are a very good shooting team and they will need all the points they can get against a very solid Iowa State team. Selden Jr. and Tharpewill need to be at their best and not commit turnovers, if Kansas has any chance at getting the “W” at the Hilton Coliseum.
The heart and soul of this Iowa State team, DeAndre Kane, will not play in this game due to an ankle injury he sustained in Iowa State’s narrow defeat to the Oklahoma Sooners. Kane was having his best year in the NCAA averaging 16 points, seven rebounds and 6 assists. One of the players, who will need to step up in Kane’s absence, will be Toronto native, Melvin Ejim, who is having a solid season himself, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds. This Iowa State team can flat out score, as they average 86 points per game, which is good for 6thin the nation and the Cyclones also rank 1st in the nation with 19 assists a game. Kansas should also be very cautious of Naz Long, another Canadian player, who can stretch out the defense and hit the three (shots 45%).
This should be a very high scoring game, even with DeAndre Kane out.
Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks by 5
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.