Conference play in college basketball is off-and-running, with most conferences still waiting for the alpha dog to emerge from the pack. After four mid-week upsets of Top-25 teams, instability has quickly become the new normal. Underperforming schools are beginning to show their true colors, while unexpected surprises are coming under the microscope. Here are the biggest games to watch this weekend, January 11th and 12th.
Georgia vs. #5 Auburn, 12:00 PM Saturday
Auburn is one of two remaining undefeated teams in the nation, but they face a worthy foe in the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. Georgia couldn't hold off a balanced Kentucky offense this week after the Bulldogs took a resounding 6-point lead into halftime. Meanwhile, Auburn eked out a 4-point win over lowly Vanderbilt on Wednesday, and have largely played an unchallenging schedule. Expect Georgia guard Anthony Edwards—a four-star freshman—to continue his scorching form for Tom Crean's squad.
Georgetown vs. #16 Villanova, 12:00 PM Saturday
This game might not have the talent of the 1985 title game, but a meeting of Big East giants is always exciting. Villanova has dominated the series as of late, only ceding victory to the Hoyas last February for the first time in 10 contests. Patrick Ewing will hope that his under-manned Hoyas can stay out of foul trouble and speed up the tempo as two top-20 offenses go head-to-head.
#4 Baylor vs. #3 Kansas, 1:00 PM Saturday
The battle for Big 12 supremacy could be determined early this year, as #4 Baylor tries to unseat the conference's dominant force. The Bears are fresh off a grueling 5-point victory over a tough Texas Tech team in Lubbock, bringing Bryce Drew's team to four wins over Top-25 teams this season. Kansas has been nearly as impressive, but did lose by a point to a Villanova team that Baylor knocked off earlier in the season. If there's one game to watch this weekend, it's this tilt between two of the nation's top-10 defenses.
Wisconsin vs. #20 Penn State, 2:15 PM Saturday
The Nittany Lions have been one of this season's biggest surprises, but perhaps less surprising than the 12-3 Rutgers team that dispatched them on Wednesday. Penn State was racking up seemingly high-quality wins over the likes of Maryland and Iowa, but both of those squads have been inconsistent at best since then. This year's Badgers don't appear to be of the same ilk as their predecessors, but a 9-6 record is disguising a team that's sound both offensively and defensively. If you need any convincing of the quality of this matchup, look no further than their #26 and #27 KenPom rankings.
Seton Hall vs. Marquette, 4:00 PM Saturday
The lone matchup on this list featuring zero Top-25 teams likely has the best one-on-one matchup of the season in Markus Howard vs. Myles Powell. The most intriguing element of this matchup is Markus Howard vs. Myles Powell. Howard is the nation's leading scorer at 26.8 ppg while Powell sits at 13th, averaging 21.4 ppg. The Pirates' senior guard missed two games, including a win over Maryland, as the team around him stepped up. With both schools lurking just outside the rankings, the winner will likely sneak in next week.
#17 West Virginia vs #22 Texas Tech, 6:00 PM Saturday
Bob Huggins has his typically smothering defense working like a well-oiled machine early this year. The Mountaineers capitulated to #3 Kansas a week ago, but knocked off #11 Ohio State the week prior. Texas Tech's stifling defense, meanwhile, has split results with #13 Louisville (a win) and #4 Baylor (a loss) in the last month.
Utah vs. #25 Colorado, 6:00 PM Sunday
Consider the Pac-12 back. The Buffaloes haven't appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 2016, but their January 2nd win over a top-10 Oregon team will go a long way to shoring up their resume. They followed that victory with a loss to Oregon State, while the Utes gathered the opposite results against those same opponents.