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Basketball

VIEWER’S GUIDE: Oklahoma vs. Texas the game of the day

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Morning Block

A Good One: Butler at Georgetown | 11:00 AM, CBS

The UNF NCAA Tournament “Dance Card,” one of my favorite resources this time of year, gives Butler a 6.95% chance of making the Big Dance with its current résumé. The Bulldogs will have one more shot at a road win Saturday morning to help their case. Georgetown has been remarkably overmatched in just about every game its played in since Jan. 30 (1-6 in that span) and probably needs to win out — including a win at Villanova — to even have a glimmer of hope on Selection Sunday. Great backcourt matchup here.

KenPom Line: Hoyas by 1

MATCHUP OF THE DAY: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera vs. Roosevelt Jones

A Better One: Arizona at Utah | 1:00 PM, ESPN

I don’t know how much you can sleep on a team like Arizona, but for my money, Sean Miller has his guys primed for a deep tournament run this year. Wednesday’s loss at Colorado was the Wildcats’ first road loss in nearly five weeks and their first loss period since Jan. 30. But it’s a four horse race for the Pac-12 regular season crown, and nobody has been hotter than Utah, winners of five straight and 10 of 12. Keep an eye on three-point shooting here. Arizona doesn’t take many, but the Utes are 294th nationally in 3P% defense.

KenPom Line: Utes by 3

Matchup to Watch: Kyle Kuzma vs. Ryan Anderson 

GAME OF THE DAY: Oklahoma at Texas | 1:00 PM, CBS

The game o’ the day tips off on CBS, meaning you’ll get to listen to that unmistakable CBS college basketball theme music that sends tingles down your spine. You know what sends tingles down my spine? Buddy Hield. A win for Texas and a West Virginia loss in Stillwater would vault the Longhorns into a tie for 2nd in the Big 12 behind Kansas… but just remember that Hield is basically superhuman and averages over 27 points in his eight conference road games. Eric Davis is UT’s best defender — if he draws Hield, watch that matchup.

KenPom Line: Sooners by 1

Matchup to Watch: Eric Davis vs. Buddy Hield

Afternoon Block

A Good One: Notre Dame at Florida State | 3:00 PM, ESPN2

It’s hard to find two more opposite styles of basketball being played this weekend, except for maybe the 5:30 showdown between Virginia and North Carolina. What everyone is beginning to learn about Notre Dame this season is that defense is pretty much optional, but Mike Brey runs some of the most patient and efficient half court offensive sets we’ve seen in college basketball in a long time. The new-look, run-and-gun Seminoles have lost five straight and need to win nearly every game between now and the selection show to get a bid.

KenPom Line: Seminoles by 1

Matchup to Watch: Malik Beasley vs. Bonzie Colson

A Better One: North Carolina at Virginia | 5:30 PM, ESPN

Unstoppable force meets immovable object here. It’s always fun when the contrasting styles of Tony Bennett and Roy Williams get together, and Ol’ Roy is looking for his first win in Charlottesville since February 25, 2012. In that game, the Cavaliers imposed their will (61 possessions), but the Tar Heels came out on top 54-51. Don’t expect the same kind of result on Saturday — these Cavs can score from any spot on the floor. Noteworthy stat: point distribution. UNC scores 62.1% of its points on two-pointers (2nd nationally). But UVA allows just 46.6% of opposing teams’ points to be scored inside the arc. Not many.

KenPom Line: Cavaliers by 5

Matchup to Watch: Anthony Gill vs. Brice Johnson

The Best One: Kentucky at Vanderbilt | 3:00 PM, CBS

Make no mistake, Vanderbilt is far better than its 17-11 record indicates. What Kentucky has to avoid is another poor showing on the road (3-6 on the year), as they maintain just a one-game lead on Texas A&M and South Carolina with three games to play (and Vandy a game behind them). With their current résumé, Dance Card gives the Commodores nearly a 70% chance to earn an automatic bid. Beating Kentucky would certainly solidify it.

KenPom Line: Commodores by 1

Matchup to Watch: Wade Baldwin vs. Tyler Ulis

Evening Block

A Good One: Arkansas at Tennessee | 6:30 PM, SEC Network

Neither the Volunteers nor the Razorbacks will be dancing this year without an SEC Tournament title, but, well, as I’m typing this I’m realizing there’s hardly any entertainment value here. Oh well. But here’s a fun stat for you: Rick Barnes has lost 26 of his last 46 conference games as a head coach, however, he was 14-6 in home games during that span.

KenPom Line: Razorbacks by 3

Matchup to Watch: Armani Moore vs. Jabril Durham

A Better One: Florida at LSU | 7:30 PM, ESPN

Given the preseason hype, it’s a little surreal to be talking about LSU needing a miracle to make the dance, but that’s where we are. Even stranger, that’s where Ben Simmons is — a likely No. 1 overall draft pick who may bolt for the NBA without playing a single minute of NCAA Tournament basketball. The Tigers’ résumé is brutal, and they have three double-digit losses since Feb. 10. Florida is on the bubble and has a date with Kentucky in Gainesville next Tuesday. The Gators can’t get caught looking ahead here in Baton Rouge. These are two of the worst three-point shooting teams in the SEC, so expect this one to be decided in the paint.

KenPom Line: Tigers by 2

Matchup to Watch: As usual, Ben Simmons against an entire team

The Best One: Gonzaga at BYU | 7:00 PM, ESPN2

When Pepperdine has a chance to make some noise in the conference tournament, you know the WCC is in a down year. This is the “worst” (relatively speaking) Gonzaga team to ever visit Provo, and BYU is undoubtedly licking its chops to knock off the Bulldogs for a second time this season. A win for the Cougars and a St. Mary’s loss at San Francisco would win BYU the WCC regular season title and further a résumé that needs some serious, serious help to earn Dave Rose & Co. an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

KenPom Line: Cougars by 2

Matchup to Watch: Kyle Collinsworth vs. Josh Perkins

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Austin Narber

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