Saturday Preview: Battles for ACC and PAC-12 Supremacy Continue

Last weekend we were treated to some excellent games headlined by Louisville taking down Duke at home and UNC knocking off a tough Florida State team in a game filled with end-to-end action.

This weekend’s set of games isn’t as loaded as last weekend’s, but there are plenty of big games to keep an eye on such as a battle of two of the top teams in the ACC and the PAC-12 being thrown into the national spotlight in a game with major implications.

#12 Louisville (16-3) @ #10 Florida State (17-2) 2 P.M. EST ESPN

It’s been a grind for Florida State these last six games.

Saturday’s game against will be the end of a streak where the Seminoles have played six consecutive teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Needless to say, they have performed well in this tough stretch, going 4-1 to this point.

They have not lost a home game all year long and they’ll be looking to stay perfect at home against a Louisville team coming off of a big win of their own.

The Cardinals took down Duke last weekend in what was arguably the headline game of the weekend. Unfortunately for Rick Pitino and company, they will be without the services of point guard Quin Snyder, who is out 2-3 weeks.

That loss bodes well for Florida State’s chances in this one. Snyder serves as Louisville’s primary ball handler and is an excellent defender. Donovan Mitchell can’t do it all on his own.

This will be a tight game all the way down to the end, but I’m expecting Florida State to pull away in the final two minutes to stay atop the ACC.

#14 Arizona (17-2) @ #3 UCLA (19-1) 4 P.M. EST CBS

This is the best that the PAC-12 has to offer.

You could argue that Oregon is the second best team in the conference, but Arizona and UCLA are the best teams in the PAC-12 and they will be thrown into the national spotlight on Saturday.

If you haven’t seen either of these teams play because of the times that they play at, you’re in for a treat.

Arizona is loaded with talent and UCLA is led by sure-fire top five pick Lonzo Ball and the extremely underrated TJ Leaf.

This game has all of the makings for a up and down, high scoring game from the opening tip.

UCLA is the better team here not just because of Ball and Leaf, but because of the contributions they get from the likes of Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday.

Arizona struggled early on, but they have finally gotten their act together and this is their chance for a signature win over one of the country’s best teams.

#24 South Carolina (15-3) @ #5 Kentucky (16-2) 6 P.M. EST ESPN

This is a very underrated game and could easily wind up being the most entertaining game of the weekend, especially if you don’t like Kentucky.

South Carolina is the best defensive team in the SEC, while Kentucky is the best offensive team in the conference.

The Gamecocks are undefeated with senior Sindarius Thornwell in the lineup and are relentless on the defensive end. Scoring was a bit of an issue for South Carolina while Thornwell was suspended but now that he is back they have enough scoring to keep up with a team like Kentucky considering the high level of defense that they play.

You know what you’re going to get when you play Kentucky. They’re going to come at you with their athleticism in transition and given their depth, they always seem to have a fresh five on the court. They can light up the scoreboard, but have some problems defending from time to time.

The Wildcats have not seen a team as good defensively as South Carolina so far this season, so it should be interesting to see how freshmen stars Malik Monk (21.4 ppg) and De’Aaron Fox (16.7 ppg, 6.3 assists per game) respond to being harassed non-stop for 40 minutes.

South Carolina’s goal should be to make Kentucky as uncomfortable as possible for as long as they can. They longer they keep Kentucky off balance, the greater the chance that they pull off the upset.

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