The Baylor Bears have held onto to the stop spot in the rankings for five straight weeks, longer than any other team this NCAA basketball season. They’ve done it thanks in part to the longest winning streak in Big 12 history; Baylor is undefeated since stumbling against Washington in the second game of the season. Along the way they’ve gone 6-0 against ranked opponents, including a 67-55 defeat of then #3 Kansas on January 11.
Now, with less than three weeks left in the regular season, we’ve got a rematch on Saturday at noon on ESPN. Kansas has been ranked #6 or better all season, but is just 3-3 against other ranked teams. The winner of this game will move into first place in the Big 12, almost certainly will be atop next week’s rankings, and gains the inside track for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Other than that, it’s just another game.
Here’s a look at the college basketball action coming to Sling this week…
Tuesday, February 18
Illinois Fighting Illini (16-9) vs #9 Penn State Nittany Lions (20-5)
6:30pm ET on FS1
The Illini got knocked out of the top 25 Saturday with their 72-57 loss to Rutgers — their fourth straight defeat — as they collectively shot just 31.1% from the floor. The Nittany Lions reeled off their eighth straight win Saturday, a 77-61 victory over Northwestern, with Lamar Stevens scoring a game high 23 points.
#1 Baylor Bears (23-1) vs Oklahoma Sooners (16-9)
9pm ET on ESPN 2
Jared Butler scored 21 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the Bears to their Big 12 record-tying 22nd consecutive win, this one a 70-59 defeat of #14 West Virginia. The Sooners fell Saturday 87-70 to the #3 Kansas Jayhawks, despite a 27-12 effort from Kristian Doolittle.
Wednesday, February 19
#21 Butler Bulldogs (19-7) vs #16 Seton Hall Pirates (18-7)
6:30pm ET on FS1
Butler went down Saturday thanks to a hail of Georgetown 3-pointers, as the Hoyas hit 10-of-15 from beyond the arc en route to a 73-66 win. Thanks to back-to-back losses to Creighton (87-82) and Providence (74-71), Seton Hall tied Louisville with the biggest tumble in the rankings, falling 6 spots to #16.
#6 Duke Blue Devils (22-3) vs NC State Wolfpack (16-9)
9pm ET on ESPN
The Blue Devils shooting percentage from the field, 3-point line and charity stripe was 57-46-86 on Saturday, translating to a 94-60 cakewalk against Notre Dame. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack made just 2-of-19 3-pointers Sunday in their 71-68 loss to Boston College.
Thursday, February 20
San Francisco Dons (17-10) vs #2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-1)
11pm ET on ESPN 2
Jimbo Lull scored 16 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dropped 4 dimes, had 2 steals and 2 blocks on Friday to lead the Dons to 70-61 win over Santa Clara. On Saturday, Filip Petrusev posted 27 points to go with 12 boards — both game highs — in Gonzaga’s 89-77 win over Pepperdine.
Saturday, February 22
#3 Kansas Jayhawks (22-3) vs #1 Baylor Bears (23-1)
Noon ET on ESPN
The Jayhawks bested the Sooners 87-70 on Saturday, as Udoka Azubuike scored 15 points and grabbed 17 boards. The Bears are holding opponents to a 2-point shooting percentage of just 42.4%, the sixth-lowest in the country and giving up the fifth-lowest points per game.
#8 Florida State Seminoles (21-4) vs NC State Wolfpack (16-9)
4pm ET on ACC Network
The ‘Noles barely survived a seesaw battle against Syracuse on Saturday, but emerged victorious, 80-77, as Patrick Williams came off the bench to lead the team with 17 points. Nearly 40 years later, I still can’t believe NC State won the national title against a Houston Cougars team that featured Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
#2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-1) vs #23 Brigham Young Cougars (21-7)
10pm ET on ESPN 2
Twenty years into ‘Zags head coach Mark Few’s career, his winning percentage of .828 is the highest ever by a coach in the tournament era. And yet his 594 wins put him at just 41st all-time; with two more victories he’ll tie the great John Thompson. Yoeli Childs’ dunk Saturday with 8 seconds to play provided the margin of victory in BYU’s 72-71 win over San Diego. BYU will be the first ranked opponent Gonzaga has faced in more than two months.
Sunday, February 23
#21 Butler Bulldogs (19-7) vs #15 Creighton Bluejays (20-6)
4pm ET on FS1
Since opening the season 15-1 and climbing to #5 in the rankings, the Bulldogs have gone 4-6 and fallen 16 spots. The Bluejays jumped 8 spots in the rankings, thanks to an 87-82 win over then #10 Seton Hall and a 93-64 beatdown of DePaul.