This You Gotta See: Bulls in Miami, Blackhawks on ABC and — whoa! — college hoops chaos
There’s really only one way to head into the final week of the college regular season, and that’s with our collective hair on fire.
There’s really only one way to head into the final week of the college basketball regular season, and that’s with our collective hair on fire. There’s chaos at the top of the polls and the major-conference standings. There’s confusion about which teams will claim No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. This, folks, is when it’s really fun.
Saturday was bonkers in the best sense, with the top six teams in the country — Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Purdue, Kansas and Kentucky — all losing on the same day for the first time in the 73-season history of the AP poll. No. 9 Texas Tech also lost.
And now? On the cusp of March, there’s just so much we still don’t know.
The top two conferences according to RPI have undecided races with giant implications. Kansas is 12-3 and Baylor 12-4 in the Big 12, with each powerhouse still to face Texas and having a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance very much in play. The SEC has Auburn at 13-3 and three chasers — Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee — at 12-4, with Auburn and Kentucky still in the No. 1-seed picture.
And the Big Ten might fall to current first-place occupant Wisconsin (14-4), or it easily could end up in a multi-team tie involving any combination — including all four — of Wisconsin, Purdue (13-5), Illinois (13-5) and Ohio State (12-5).
Is Gonzaga still in position to be the No. 1 overall seed? Maybe, but without the mystique it had as an unbeaten a year ago. Is Duke still in play for a No. 1? Sure, but not if it loses to North Carolina in Mike Krzyzewski’s final regular-season appearance in this extraordinary rivalry.
Did you get all that?
Here’s what’s happening:
Bulls at Heat (6:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Look, we’re not saying the Bulls can’t stand up to top competition. We’re just saying they’re 0-11 so far against the Bucks, Suns, Warriors, 76ers, Grizzlies and Heat and, well, you know, there’s always the next game.
Purdue at Wisconsin (8 p.m., ESPN)
Badgers guard Johnny Davis scored 37 in a huge early-January win in West Lafayette. Create a similar scene in Madison, and he might just lock up national player of the year honors.
Blues at Rangers (6:30 p.m., TNT)
Like the Blackhawks, the Rangers haven’t made the playoffs (not counting the funky 2020 qualifying round) since 2017. Unlike the Hawks, they’re kicking the door back down this season. Hey, at least that means it’s possible.
NFL Scouting Combine (3 p.m., NFLN)
Today’s menu: a mere seven hours of live coverage of tight ends, wide receivers and that position group only the total wonks care about — quarterbacks.
Bulls at Hawks (6 p.m., NBCSCH)
Ah, now this is more the Bulls’ speed. They’re 3-0 so far against the Hawks, who have as good a chance to get back to the Eastern Conference finals as Billy Donovan has to get back to the NCAA’s Final Four.
Penn State at Illinois (6 p.m., FS1)
Not long ago, PSU was that football school the Illini strangely just couldn’t beat on the basketball court. Three straight “Ws” since a six-game losing streak in the series have gotten things back to the way they ought to be.
Missouri Valley quarterfinal: Loyola vs. Bradley (2:30 p.m., ESPN+)
It’s must-win time for the fourth-seeded Ramblers, who need this one and two more after it to get back to the Big Dance.
Bucks at Bulls (6:30 p.m., ESPN, NBCSCH)
Remember that one time Alex Caruso was chopped down but none of his teammates went after the guy who hurt him, Grayson Allen? Yeah, this is going to be interesting.
Blackhawks at Flyers (2 p.m., Ch. 7)
You think the Hawks are bad? Nailed it. But Philly is even worse. At least we think Philly is worse. At this point, who can really tell?
North Carolina at Duke (5 p.m., ESPN)
A Duke win would give Coach K a record of 50-46 against the Tar Heels. No disrespect to young coaches Jon Scheyer and Hubert Davis, but this thing won’t ever be the same again.
Orlando at Fire (5 p.m., Ch. 9)
In the spirit of the Fire overhauling pretty much everything, here’s another idea for something new in Game 2 of the season: scoring a goal.
Missouri Valley final (1 p.m., Ch. 2)
Do the Ramblers get their shot at one last MVC title? If not, it probably won’t be a fun Selection Sunday at all.
Suns at Bucks (2:30 p.m., Ch. 7)
Round 1 went to the Suns — by 24 — in Phoenix. Is only one of these teams dead serious about getting back to the Finals?
Iowa at Illinois (6:30 p.m., FS1)
Senior Night in Champaign means goodbyes to some special dudes, but forget all that — better take care of business, Illini. The boys from corn country are dangerous.
“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” (8 p.m., HBO)
The debut of a 10-episode series introduces us to John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley and — dramatic pause — Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson. Showtime!