Big 12, Big Ten clashes lead the five best men’s basketball weekend games

“That’s all right, we’ll get ’em at our place.” This has been the mantra for college basketball fans since the dawn of time – or at least the formation of conferences.

At this late stage of the season we are well into rematch time, and this week’s Starting Five features a quintet of teams seeking to even the score against league foes that got the better of them the first time around. Some are more desperate for a win than others, as you’ll see below, but there’s definitely something on the line for all of the participants as the battle for conference tournament seeding and favorable March Madness consideration winds down.

These matchups were all quite compelling earlier as well, so we present these top-five viewing recommendations with a fairly high degree of confidence.

No. 8 Texas at No. 10 Baylor

TIME/TV: Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN

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As has often been the case this season, we’ll lead off in the hyper-competitive Big 12. The Longhorns go for a sweep of the Bears that would keep them in at least a share of the league lead with Kansas, while Baylor looks to snap a two-game mini skid and avenge its five-point loss in Austin that was not decided until the final minute back on Jan. 30. This encore should again be a back-and-forth battle between the teams’ array of shot-making guards as Baylor’s Keyonte George and Adam Flagler look to outduel the Longhorns tandem of’ Marcus Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice.

No. 17 Indiana at No. 5 Purdue

TIME/TV: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox

As we said just three weeks ago, the Boilermakers didn’t have to wait long for their chance at redemption after losing by five in the Hoosiers’ storied Assembly Hall. It will be a very different kind of road challenge for Indiana after its game at Michigan State that was cathartic for all involved. Big guys Zach Edey and Trayce Jackson-Davis will again be the headliners for this rematch in Mackey Arena, but the outcome will hinge on whose ball handlers are better at avoiding turnovers.

No. 14 Saint Mary’s at No. 12 Gonzaga

TIME/TV: Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN

Once again, the Zags didn’t have long to wait for their chance to even the season series with the Gaels. A third encounter in the West Coast Conference tournament is probable as well, but it isn’t guaranteed as Gonzaga’s air of home invincibility took a hit thanks to an earlier loss to Loyola Marymount. Gaels center Mitchell Saxen did about as well a job as anyone in the league staying with the Zags big man Drew Timme the first time around. Gonzaga’s back-court defenders must be equally effective against Aidan Mahaney and Logan Johnson.

No. 6 Virginia at North Carolina

TIME/TV: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN

Now-or-never time has arrived for the Tar Heels in their quest to enhance their resume which, for the moment, would seem to leave them short of tournament consideration. Their visit to Charlottesville in early January didn’t go well, but they would now seem to be catching the Cavaliers at a good time. Narrow escapes from Louisville and Notre Dame foreshadowed Wednesday night’s blowout loss at Boston College, results that have UVa fans understandably concerned as Selection Sunday approaches. Both teams have been prone to lengthy cold spells, which might work to UNC’s advantage if Armando Bacot is able to impose his will on the glass.

No. 20 San Diego State at New Mexico

TIME/TV: Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, CBSSN

This is the lone case in our Starting Five in which it is the visiting team seeking payback. In fact it is that Jan. 14 victory at the Aztecs as well as an earlier non-conference win at Saint Mary’s, that are keeping the Lobos in the at-large conversation at all. But New Mexico has dropped five of its last six games, including Wednesday night’s five-point setback at Boise State, and has fallen below .500 in the Mountain West. The Aztecs don’t always play the most aesthetically pleasing brand of basketball, but their stifling defense might be well-suited to silencing the raucous crowd in the Pit.

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