Sunday is reserved for the conference championship games in the NFL. Two more games and we will know the participants in the Super Bowl. But first, college basketball has a Super Saturday lined up for all the hoops fans out there. And there are more than two games involved. There was no problem coming up with five games you don’t want to miss and they are all on Saturday. If five games on one day aren’t enough, check Kansas at Texas, Arizona at Arizona State, Creighton at Wichita State, San Diego State at Wyoming, UConn at Pitt, and Marquette at Cincinnati.
Better get rested up. I’m outta here.
Here are five games you don’t want to miss (all times ET):
No. 6 Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) at No. 1 Louisville (16-1, 4-0 Big East) (Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN)
It’s pretty obvious from the records and the rankings that this is a big one in the Big East Conference. This contest was on the “Games to Watch” radar since the schedules were announced. And when coaches Jim Boeheim and Rick Pitino traded words at Big East media day, it just stoked the fire. Of course, Boeheim and Pitino are old buddies and their programs are headed to the ACC eventually. Louisville moved to the top of the polls on Monday and the Cardinals were tested immediately in Hartford but rallied in the second half to beat UConn. Guard Russ Smith picked up the slack with Peyton Siva in foul trouble. The Cardinals create havoc with their full-court pressure but can drop back into a zone in the half-court. And that might be a good option for Pitino since Syracuse will likely be without James Southerland (37.5 percent 3-point shooter), who has been suspended with academic issues. That will put pressure on C.J. Fair to hit his mid-range jumper.
No. 8 Gonzaga (17-1, 4-0 West Coast) at No. 13 Butler (15-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) ( Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN)
Think Gonzaga coach Mark Few will put out the measuring tape when his team steps into Hinkle Fieldhouse? Probably not necessary, but it would be a great “Hoosier” moment. This showdown between the best “mid-major” teams in college basketball feels big like the Indiana high school state championships. It’s just special. Butler has won 12 straight since losing to Illinois on Nov. 21. And Gonzaga has won eight straight since losing to Illinois on Dec. 8. Butler’s leading scorer Rotnei Clarke will miss a second straight game with his sprained neck. Center Andrew Smith, the only active college player to start in two national, doesn’t get enough credit for his play and he will have a tough matchup with Kelly Olynyk, the top scorer in the West Coast Conference. A battle of 7-footers in Hinkle Fieldhouse is just the icing on the cake for this tremendous matchup.
No. 17 Missouri (13-3, 2-1 SEC) at No. 10 Florida (13-2, 3-0 SEC) (Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN)
Really hate to beat a dead horse, but isn’t this the time of year Missouri should be preparing for the Border War, not a trip to Gainesville, Fla.? In any other time over the past century, Kansas and Missouri would be slugging it out for supremacy in the Big 12, but now we’ve got this “traditional” showdown between the Tigers and the Gators. These two are the prime contenders for first place in the SEC, although Ole Miss and Kentucky might have something to say before it’s all over. This one might be decided around who doesn’t play. Florida beat Texas A&M without Casey Prather, who has a high ankle sprain. Mike Rosario was back for the Gators after missing last Saturday’s win over LSU. Erik Murphy (bruised ribs) has missed time too. Missouri has played two games without big man Laurence Bowers (knee). The Tigers could be in big trouble if Bowers doesn’t play.
No. 21 Oregon (15-2, 4-0 Pac-12) at No. 24 UCLA (15-3, 5-0 Pac-12) ( Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS)
There are three unbeaten teams in Pac-12 play. Oregon and UCLA, as you can see from the records, are two of them. No. 7 Arizona is not the other because Oregon beat the Wildcats. So here’s the storyline: Oregon is a surprise, not just in the Pac-12, but also nationally. And UCLA is surprising in another way. The Bruins have won 10 straight after that horrible start that included a loss to Cal Poly. Freshmen Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson are taking charge for the Bruins and keeping coach Ben Howland out of the unemployment line. Oregon beat Arizona at home, but started this weekend’s road trip to Los Angeles with a 76-74 win over USC. The Ducks are nationally ranked for the first time since 2007. UCLA has to watch out for versatile talent E.J. Singler, part of the potent Ducks scoring attack.
No. 11 Ohio State (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at No. 18 Michigan State (15-3, 4-1 Big Ten) ( Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN)
It will be amazing if anyone is left standing after this Big Ten season. Ranked teams beating on each other every other night has become the theme in this conference. And the heavyweight matchup for the weekend will take place at Michigan State’s Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Wisconsin is 4-0 after beating Indiana and then the ranked teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State and Minnesota) follow with one or two losses. Michigan State is coming off a victory at Penn State despite the fact Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne got into a scuffle with each other in the team hotel before the game. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, used their defense to slow down Michigan and hand the Wolverines their first loss of the season. The Spartans have 265 assists but 259 turnovers. If Ohio State plays tough defense again, the Buckeyes might have a shot on the road. And that’s always impressive in the Big Ten.