5 Games to Watch: Tuesday, January 29

1. Wisconsin (14-6, 5-2 Big 10) at Ohio State (15-4, 5-2 Big 10), 7 p.m. on ESPN

The Badgers and the Buckeyes are both 5-2 in the Big Ten, putting them in a tie for fourth place in the conference. Both teams have flown a bit under the radar because of a lack of non-conference success, but they each have a win over one of the top teams in the conference—Wisconsin beat Indiana at Assembly Hall, and Ohio State beat then-undefeated Michigan on January 13. Both teams also took Michigan State to the wire recently.

KenPom ranks this the second most thrilling game of Tuesday night with a predicted margin of only five points, favor of Ohio State. Although Wisconsin has been playing well, I have to agree considering how well Ohio State has played, especially at home, following its 19-point loss at Illinois.

My pick: Ohio State 55, Wisconsin 51

2. Indiana State (13-7, 6-3 MVC) at Wichita State (19-2, 8-1 MVC), 8 p.m. on ESPN3

Wichita State has been nothing short of phenomenal this season, especially considering how much they lost from last season’s MVC regular season champions. Entering Tuesday, the Shockers have won 10 of their last 11, including a win over nationally ranked Creighton.

Indiana State is not well-known, but the Sycamores are still in the hunt for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a top-60 RPI and wins over Ole Miss and a depleted Miami (FL) team. A loss tonight would force them to need wins over Creighton and Wichita State at home in February in order to have a chance for an at-large berth.

My pick: Wichita State 73, Indiana State 59

3. Kentucky (13-6, 4-2 SEC) at Ole Miss (17-2, 6-0 SEC), 9 p.m. on ESPN

This will be Ole Miss’ biggest test since January 12, when it defeated Missouri, 64-49. Since then, the Rebels have continued their perfect SEC start, but they have been playing teams at the bottom of the league.

And although Kentucky has been playing far from great, the Wildcats have done well enough to be 4-2 in league play, which is good for a share of third place.

With Florida coming up on Saturday, it would not surprise me if Ole Miss is looking ahead and comes out a bit flat tonight. The Wildcats desperately need a big win, and this could be their chance.

My pick: Kentucky 72, Ole Miss 70

4. North Carolina State (16-4, 5-2 ACC) at Virginia (14-5, 4-2 ACC), 7 p.m. on ESPN2

North Carolina State has been the most inconsistent team in college basketball this season. In the Wolfpack’s last five games, they: upset No. 1 Duke, lost to Maryland, barely beat Clemson, were upset by Wake Forest, and then dominated North Carolina but managed to win by only eight points.

Meanwhile, Virginia has ganged up on the bottom of the conference in its last three games, defeating Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College. These wins have gotten the Cavaliers back into the thick of things in the ACC, but still, this is a team that lost to Old Dominion and Delaware in non-conference play. Their only hope is for NC State to come out flat again on the road, like it has done a few times already this season.

My pick: North Carolina State 67, Virginia 55

5. Stony Brook (15-5, 6-1 A-East) at Albany (16-6, 5-3 A-East), 7 p.m. on ESPN3

Albany’s overall record looks good, but statistically, the Great Danes are actually quite average. Although they have a solid non-conference win over Washington, they rank only No. 186 in KenPom with the No. 185 offense and No. 205 defense.

Stony Brook does not have a marquee win, but the Seawolves did play close with UConn, Maryland, and Seton Hall this season. They also have one of the best all-around players in the country in Tommy Brenton, who averages 8.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and five assists. In his last game, Brenton posted a triple-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.

My pick: Stony Brook 69, Albany 61

All times are listed in E.S.T.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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