Can Duke beat Miami and stay in the ACC title race and other major weekend games

As conference play continues into the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season, we’re seeing some clear breakaways at the top of several leagues. Others see multiple teams battle it out for the best bid (see: the Big 12). Each match is important to the tournament selection committee.

Some of the key matches this weekend are an opportunity for some teams to try and get back into the rhythm. Some of them are an opportunity to extend their recent winning streaks. Some of them aren’t made or broken, but are simply guaranteed to be fun. Here’s what to watch and why.


12 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN

Why this game is important: Duke has a 3-5 record against Quad 1 teams, a Top 30 NET ranking and solid quality wins (Xavier, Iowa, Ohio State). But a 3-3 mark in their last six games and Jeremy Roach’s toe injury – he’s missed the last three games – means this Blue Devils side will have to avoid a rocky stretch to feel confident of securing a solid seed on this particular Sunday. A win over Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium (the Blue Devils are 9-0 at home this season) in a turbulent first season for new head coach John Scheer is significant.

Impact player: Isaiah Wong (16.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG 1.6 SPG) was a star for the Hurricanes team vying for the ACC crown. With Wong on the ground, Miami (10th in offensive efficiency adjusted over KenPom) has hit 57.3% of its shots inside the arc this season.

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Isaiah Wong brings out 3 pointers deep from downtown

Isaiah Wong brings out 3 pointers deep from downtown

Stats to know: Only Louisville has a higher turnover rate in an ACC game than Duke (20.2%), which has committed a turnover in every five possessions to date.

Predict the result: Duke 73, Miami 69


1 p.m. ET, Saturday, CBS

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Jalen Wilson reaches a career-high 36 points with a three-pointer

Kansas’ Jalen Wilson set a new career high in points with a three-pointer against Kansas State in overtime.

Why this game is important: The Jayhawks entered the weekend in a three-way tie for first place (with Iowa State and Kansas State) in the Big 12, but a TCU team that has been 1-3 in its last four games is aiming for a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament. A win on the road would be a significant addition to the Horned Frogs’ resume, but another loss could extend the ongoing slide that could eventually send them into the NCAA tournament bubble.

Impact player: Prior to the 2022-23 season, Bill Self challenged Jalen Wilson to play as an All-American. Wilson responded with numbers — 20.8 PPG, 8.9 RPG — that made him a true contender for the Wooden Award. After scoring 38 points in his team’s 83-82 loss at Kansas State on Tuesday, he may be the only player in the country who can catch Zack Eddy in the National Player of the Year race.

Stats to know: In Big 12 play, TCU ranks second with a 54.8% mark inside the arc, but last in the conference with a 24.7% mark from the three-point line.

Predict the result: Kansas 84, TCU 74


2 p.m. ET, Saturday, ESPN

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Cason Wallace rises for a powerful flow

Casson Wallace rallies to score an impressive win against Georgia.

Why this game is important: The Aggies are tied with Alabama for first place in the conference. They and the Wildcats, however, were included as Joe Lonardi’s “First Four Out” in the most recent category. Every game is now important to both of them.

Impact player: Cason Wallace, a projected first-round pick in this summer’s NBA draft, according to ESPN, has been crucial to Kentucky’s recent defensive turnaround. Its final two opponents, Tennessee and Georgia, failed to pass 100 points per 100 possessions. With Wallace on the floor in those two games, both teams have connected on only 29% of their 3-point attempts, hooplens.com states.

Stats to know: Texas A&M won five of the games in its seven-game winning streak by double digits. Predicted score: Kentucky 78, Texas A&M 70


No. 5 UCLA Bruins (17-2, 8-0 Pac-12) at No. 11 Arizona Wildcats (16-3, 5-3 Pac-12)

2 p.m. ET, Saturday, ABC

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Jaime Jacques Jr. is rising to a huge mass

Why this game is important: This may not be the hit-or-miss game in the Pac-12 championship race, because UCLA is so far ahead. But the winner of this game — UCLA is fifth and Arizona is 15th in the NET rankings — will boost their chances of competing for the top and second seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Impact player: Help Jaime Jaquez Jr. (16.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 SPG) The Bruins get to jump ahead of the pack in league games. He makes 58% of his shots on the edge and 49.5% of his shots inside the arc, per hoop-math.com.

Stats to know: UCLA is one of only two teams (the Alabama Crimson Tide being the other) that are undefeated at home and on the road. The Bruins’ only two losses this season—against Illinois and Baylor—have occurred at a neutral site.

Predict the result: UCLA 82, Arizona 78

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