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5 Must Watch College Basketball Bouts on Feb. 27

Maryland’s Melo Trimble (2) drives against Michigan State’s Lourawls Nairn Jr. (11) during the first half in the semfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Michigan State advanced, 62-58. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Game: (11) Louisville (22-6) @ (12) Miami (FL) (22-5) – Feb. 27 @ 1:00 p.m.


Pick: Miami Hurricanes by 5


Why: This top-tier ACC contest features a Miami team that just came off a 3-point victory against Virginia and a humiliating 96-71 defeat at North Carolina. On the other side of the ball, Louisville has dropped key games against Notre Dame and Duke this month, but looks to rebound against a Miami team that is clawing its way up the standings. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Miami playmakers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, along with defensive mastermind Tonye Jekiri will look to make Louisville’s February even worse.

Game: (3) Oklahoma (22-5) @ (25) Texas (18-10) – Feb. 27 @ 1:00 p.m.


Pick: Oklahoma Sooners by 8


Why: Coming off of decisive wins against West Virginia (14) and Oklahoma State, the Sooners are looking to take down a Longhorns team that gave them a scare in a 3-point thriller earlier this month. On Feb. 8th, Wooden Award Finalist Buddy Hield took down the Longhorns with a three from the left corner as time expired. Look for Buddy Hield, averaging a conference-leading 25.1 points per game (2nd in the nation), to take control of the game and win it for the Sooners.

Game: (9) Arizona (22-6) @ (22) Utah (22-7) – Feb. 27 @ 1:00 p.m.


Pick: Utah Utes by 3


Why: Arizona has been a dominant force in the Pac-12 in recent years, but the hot Utah Utes, coming off their 5th straight win, a convincing 81-46 route of Arizona State, look to end an 18-year series drought against an Arizona team that just lost by three to Colorado (20-9). The key for the Utes will be the play of standout big man Jakob Poeltl, who is averaging 20.5 points over the last 10 games on 73.4 percent shooting. If the big man plays well, anything is possible for the Utes.

Game: (10) Maryland (23-5) @ (20) Purdue (21-7) – Feb. 27 @ 3:00 p.m.


Pick: Maryland Terrapins by 9


Why: Both teams have had their respective struggles in February dropping games to mid-level contenders in the Big 10. Earlier in the month, Maryland beat the Boilermakers 72-61. In that game, the guard play of Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon and Wooden Award Finalist Melo Trimble, along with the emerging play of forward Robert Carter decided the final outcome. If the Terps can limit standout big man A.J. Hammons’s production, this game forecasts positively for them.

Game: (7) North Carolina (23-5) @ (3) Virginia (21-6) – Feb. 27 @ 5:30 p.m.


Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels by 6


Why: In some games, North Carolina looks nothing short of dominant, such as in their routs of Miami (FL) and N.C. State earlier this week. The Tar Heels have not lost a game decisively this year, their worst lost being a 6-point loss to Louisville. While the Tar Heels are rolling, Virginia is coming off of a tough 3-point defeat to the same Miami team that had just been embarrassed by North Carolina. Look for North Carolina guards Justin Jackson, Marcus Paige, and Joel Berry II to break down the Cavaliers third-ranked nationally defense (59.7 points per game).


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