Blue Bloods set to Battle
This weekend features the CBSSports Classic in New Orleans where Ohio State takes on North Carolina and Kentucky faces UCLA. Each team has something to prove.
#5 North Carolina vs. Ohio State 1:30pm CBS
North Carolina looks to bounce back from a bad loss to Wofford at home on Wednesday. The Tar Heels suffered from an abysmal shooting performance against Wofford and will look to rebound against the Buckeyes before heading into conference play. North Carolina should look to work the ball inside, rather than settling for jump shots. A win against the Buckeyes would prove that the Tar Heels are in good shape heading into the ACC portion of their schedule. If Joel Berry and Luke Maye have a slow night again, someone else will need to step up.
Ohio State enters the duel with North Carolina at 10-3, but the Buckeyes are tested, and are in the midst of a five-game win streak in which they picked up wins over Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Michigan. The Buckeyes, led by first-year head coach Chris Holtmann are hungry for a trip to the NCAA Tournament and a win over the Tar Heels on a neutral site would go a long way to help their chances of getting in. Look for junior forward Keita Bates-Diop to have a big game if the Buckeyes pull off the upset. Bates-Diop is shooting 60% from the field and has only missed one free throw in the month of December.
North Carolina 76 Ohio State 69
#7 Kentucky vs. UCLA 4pm CBS
Kentucky looks to prove that they are National Championship contenders, despite having the youngest team in the country. The Wildcats are coming off their best performance to date, a victory over Virginia Tech at home last Saturday. Hamidou Diallo has scored at least 19 points in each of the last four games and the Wildcats are beginning to shoot it well from behind the arc. Improved three point shooting could lift Kentucky over UCLA and into the National Championship conversation.
After the embarrassing trip to China in which LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill shoplifted from a store in Hangzhou and LaVar Ball pulled his son from the University for a chance at a pro career, the Bruins season on the court has been an after-thought. UCLA is 8-3 with wins over Georgia Tech and Wisconsin, and is coming off a scare from South Dakota earlier this week. The Bruins can’t afford to get behind Kentucky early and they need to avoid foul trouble because of their lack of depth. A win against the Wildcats could turn their season around.
Kentucky 81 UCLA 67