Conference season is officially underway now that it begins in early December. However, more non-conference games are set to be played this weekend and, of course, we get treated to numerous top-25 matchups. If you haven’t watched much college basketball this season, our roundtable will help you sort through the games to watch and players to that may have big games. Read below for Edition #4 of the Student Union Roundtable: What to Watch For. There are some conference games starting up, a couple ranked matches here and there, and all in all, what should be an entertaining weekend of college basketball. Each weekend we highlight key matchups for the weekend, betting lines we think may hit, teams on upset alert, and key players to watch. Follow along (approximately) every Friday to see what to watch for each weekend.
Game of the Weekend
Chase Swaringen: Louisville @ Indiana (Dec. 8) – Both teams are not ranked during this matchup, which seems unusual given that both these teams are historically great programs. However, the lack of ranking doesn’t make this rivalry any less exciting. Hoosier guard Romeo Langford has been everything the fans have hoped and Juwan Morgan returned from a scary looking injury he suffered versus Northwestern to help Indiana knock off Penn State on Tuesday and reach 2-0 in conference play. Louisville, who has next year’s number one recruiting class, is a talented team, but still reeling a little from the loss of former coach Rick Pitino. Home-court advantage should help the Hoosiers significantly in this one.
Doug Wattley: #7 Tennessee @ #1 Gonzaga (Dec. 9) – It’s a no doubter from me, dawg. The Volunteers have been one of my favorite teams to watch this year with five guys scoring in double figures. Grant Williams is a stud for Tennessee, averaging 20 PPG, 9 RPB, and 4 APG. On the other hand, this is the toughest 3 game stretch the Zags will see all year. First, a scare Wednesday night by Washington that was saved by a Rui Hachimura turnaround winner. Next, #6 Tennessee. After? A trip to Chapel Hill to take on the #14 Tar Heels.
Player to Watch
Chase Swaringen: Josh Langford, Guard, Michigan State – When you’re a top ranked team, everyone wants to beat you, and that’s the case for Langford and the Spartans who travel to Florida on Saturday for a matchup with the Gators. MSU has passed some early tests this season, but this matchup isn’t an easy one by any means. Langford who is averaging 17.1 points per game will need to be at his best for Michigan State to come away with a victory in Gainesville. The Spartans will need to have Langford step up if they want to avoid another upset loss on the road.
Doug Wattley: Grant Williams, Forward, Tennessee – If you read the above section, you can already tell I’m all in on Tennessee, but more specifically, Grant Williams. He is so valuable to the productivity to this team and it’s reflected in his numbers (20.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 4.2 APG). Now, playing against the top team in the country, Williams will need all of that production plus more for Tennessee to shock the Bulldogs. Both teams are very good but in high-level matchups talented players step up and look for Williams to elevate his game this weekend.
Chase Swaringen: #12 Wisconsin @ Marquette (Dec. 8) – Wisconsin’s slow pace and swarming defense could put some viewers to sleep but all eyes should be focused on the Fiserv Forum court when Marquette gets another shot at a top-25 opponent. Marquette was ranked early on in the season but a few losses quickly knocked them out of the rankings. That doesn’t mean Marquette isn’t capable of beating good teams, however, as they’ve already beaten Kansas State and Louisville. Watch for Markus Howard, Marquette’s do-it-all player, to get the crowd excited early in this one. If Marquette can find their shooting stroke, they’ll have a good chance in this one.
Easy Money (Lines Subject to Change)
Chase Swaringen (1-2): USC (+2.0) vs. TCU — Take USC
Doug Wattley (1-1) #20 Arizona State (+6.5) vs. Nevada — Take ASU