It’s that time of year when we start seeing in-conference rematches on a daily basis. All the teams that narrowly missed out on the upset the first time, especially the ones who did it on the road, now get another shot at taking down the frontrunners on their home court this time.
South Carolina welcomes Kentucky as the Wildcats have been pushed to the limit often in SEC play. Stanford hosts Arizona in need of a major win to solidify its resume and place itself on the right side of the upcoming bubble. Duke and West Virginia, both of which have already proven to be quite vulnerable to upsets, also face tricky tests. Here’s what to watch for in this week’s Upset Alert.
No. 7 Arizona
The Wildcats have recovered well since an upset loss to Oregon State by getting a marquee win over top-10 Utah at home. While the Pac 12 is by no means the deepest conference, its full of teams with high upside that could surprise on any given night.
That’s exactly what the Cardinal are as they enter the game against Arizona with a surprising 13-4 record. Stanford senior Chasson Randle is the best scoring guard no one has heard of, and he has the ability to breakdown a normally sound Wildcats defense. If Randle goes for over 20 points, Arizona could very well be in trouble.
No. 1 Kentucky
It’s almost assumed that the Wildcats are on upset alert for every SEC game, but then again they keep sprinkling in some dominating performances as well. South Carolina, though, seems like a team that could concern John Calipari’s squad as it has a similar identity to the sharp-shooting, lane-penetrating guard play by Ole Miss that gave the Wildcats fits.
The Gamecocks have to win the perimeter to earn the monumental upset, but big man Laimonas Chatkevicius needs to at least compete with the Kentucky mammoths dow low to make sure South Carolina doesn’t become one-dimensional. That single shortcoming prevented Ole Miss from closing out its upset bid against the Wildcats.
No. 5 Duke
There’s going to be plenty of fanfare surrounding the Duke vs. St. John’s game on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Coach K will be going for his 1,000th career win, but his team will have to earn it against a Red Storm squad that spent time in the top 15 before struggling at the start of Big East play.
Steve Lavin has his team refocused and playing well again with a win over Marquette this week, and do-everything senior scorer D’Angelo Harrison and company would love nothing more to play spoiler as Krzyzewski goes for win 1,000.
No. 18 West Virginia
The masses aren’t giving credit to Kansas State for its impressive Big 12 record thus far due to an easy opening conference slate, but the Wildcats nearly took down Iowa State on the road Tuesday.
They’ll get another shot at a ranked opponent this week as they welcome the Mountaineers to Manhattan. Juwan Staten has been in a scoring slump of late, scoring just seven total points against Oklahoma and Texas. If that trend continues, the Mountaineers will fall again, further complicating the already crowded Big 12 race.