Kentucky vs. Tennessee, and UCLA vs. Arizona are among the 10 most exciting college basketball games in 2023.

Now that the calendar has flipped to 2023 and conference play is underway, college basketball season is full of steam. Almost every night there will be an opportunity for a great team to make another powerful statement, a potential team to bubble up to add a big win to their resume (or avoid a huge loss) and a struggling team to cause a shock. In the past five days alone, we’ve seen the three previously undefeated teams – OkunAnd the Bordeaux And the New Mexico – Take down unranked opponents.

So, what inconveniences could be lurking? What games can make up conference championship races? Which one would be totally fun? In chronological order, here are 10 games that stand out.

number 7 Alabama at No. 13 Arkansas (11 January)

Buckle up and get ready for one round when the Crimson Tide streams into Fayetteville for a date with the Razorbacks in one week. Both teams love to run, can score in sets and are very good defensively; Arkansas ranks fifth on Keenbaum’s measure of defensive competence while Alabama ranks 13th.

So yeah, this game features two great teams, but the amount of NBA talent puts it over the top. Even if the expected lottery picks Nick Smith Jr. (Knee managementOn the outside, the Razorbacks have Anthony Black, Jordan Walsh, and Ricky Council IV, all of whom come in the top 45. Kyle Boone in the 2023 NBA Big Board draft. But the biggest prospect this season is Alabama’s Brandon Miller, who is third on the Big Board and leads all true freshmen this season with 19.2 points per game. If Smith Jr. is out, those teams will also meet on February 25 in Tuscaloosa.

Number 3 Kansas in a Kansas State (17 January)

With her 116-point offensive blast in a win at the Texas On Tuesday, Kansas State officially got our attention. The Wildcats are on a seven-game winning streak and 2-0 in conference play, with their other Big 12 win coming in overtime against Jed West Virginia Team. Jerome Tang has had a great turnaround in his first year. The Wildcats are already at 13 wins this season after 14 wins all last season.

The Wildcats have one powerful punch in a pair of five-year-olds: Guard Markquis Nowell and forward Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed on the court in late 2020 but made an inspiring comeback. Kansas, of course, is no slouch with a handful of quality wins. The Jayhawks are ranked first in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and are 6-0 in games decided by six points or fewer. They combine experience starring (Jalen Wilson, DaJuan Harris) and hot freshman Grady Dick. This may be the best and most significant sunflower stand in a long time in front of what would be Bramlage Coliseum. The Jayhawks have won 15 of their last 16 meetings.

No. 10 University of California at No. 5 Arizona (21 January)

There’s a chance for the Bruins or Wildcats to get on the inside track in a Pac-12 regular season race when they meet at the McKale Center later this month. There’s also a chance of revenge for the Bruins after Arizona beat them to the conference championship last season

There are a lot of familiar faces. For UCLA, Jaime Jaquez Jr. has the most. Double-digit points in all 15 games this season. He and Arizona seniors Omar Ballou and Azulas Topilis are the only Pac-12 players to average 17 points and six rebounds this season. At guard, Tyger Campbell is rounding out the top five on UCLA’s nursing leaderboard, and his matchup with the fiery Kerr Kriisa will be fun. One more bonus: Arizona has won 27 straight games at home, the third-longest active Division I streak. You may be up to 30 matches in a row by the time this game ends.

No. 18 Xavier at #4 UConn (January 25)

After the Knights finish off the perfect start to the Huskies’ season, UConn gets a chance at revenge at home. Xavier ranks in the top ten nationally in offensive efficiency and leads all major conference teams in three-point shooting percentage (40.4%), and is the only major conference team with four players to average at least 14 points.

UConn, of course, has its eyes on the Final Four race. National prospect of the year Adama Sanogo leads the Huskies to be in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. He has a lot of help around him because UConn is one of the deepest teams in the country.

No. 6 Texas at No. 8 Tennessee (28 January)

In a nice little respite from conference play, we get it the last The SEC/Big 12 Challenge is on January 28, and the crown jewel of the ten games is Texas at Tennessee. Both teams are deep and talented, and an interesting backcourt battle between the Longhorns’ Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter and volunteers Zakay Ziegler and Santiago Vescovi will go a long way in deciding the outcome. And of course we have the story of Rick Barnes fronting his former show. Last year, Texas held off a late Tennessee comeback to win 52-51 in Austin. By the way, Kansas vs. Kentucky and Arkansas vs. Baylor It will also be very interesting. We are looking forward to this day only in general terms.

number 9 Gonzaga in a saint mary (February 4)

Since 2010-11, no team has had more wins over the Gonzaga than St. Mary’s (eight). When the Bulldogs visit the Gaels one month from now, ninth is on the table. Gonzaga has the third best offensive efficiency in the country and plays at one of the fastest paces in Division I, while Saint Mary’s has a top 10 defense and plays at one of the slowest paces in the country. The Gaels held Drew Timme to only six points in their victory over then-no. 1 Gonzaga last year.

No. 8 Tennessee at Kentucky (February 18)

This boundary battle highlights the mid-February roster, and right now, Tennessee is the better team far and away. The Volunteers have the game of guard, versatile depth and experience befitting one of the highest-ranked teams in the country.

It’s not quite the same story for Kentucky. The Wildcats have suffered losses Michigan StateGonzaga, UCLA, and Missouri, and their offense should be up and down firing on all cylinders against the SEC’s best defense. All is not lost, of course, of Kentucky. Oscar Chipuiy is still a double machine — he’s got three straight and eight machines on the season — and top star Casson Wallace is coming into his own. If the Wildcats are still struggling entering this matchup, this provides an opportunity to right the ship. If they figure things out, this could be one of the best games of the season.

No. 15 Indiana at No. 1 Bordeaux (February 25)

The second meeting between the Hoosier State rivals – also playing on February 4 – could have major implications for the Big Ten regular season title. Perdue takes off His first loss of the season at home vs RutgersBut the Boilermakers rarely lose at Mackey Arena, and especially not against Indiana. The Hoosiers have not won in the West Lafayette since 2013.

Both teams revolve around their outstanding big men. Zach Eddy is averaging 21.7 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this season, numbers that no major conference player has averaged this millennium. Meanwhile, Trayce Jackson-Davis isn’t far behind with 16.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 blocks. Last year, both matches reached the final seconds.

No. 16 duke in a North Carolina (4 March)

You’d be hard-pressed not to include this match at least once, no matter what year. The Blue Devils and the Tar Heels split the last 40 meeting, 20-20, as Duke edged North Carolina by just five points over that span.

North Carolina has all the bragging rights right now Duke crush In Mike Krzyzewski’s last home game then beat the Blue Devils again Final Four is an instant classic. The first game of the year takes place on February 4 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but Duke-North Carolina in the regular season finale is hard to beat. Jeremy Roach vs. Caleb Love pits two of the ACC’s best guards against each other, and Duke’s deep v. Armando Paquette will be a big fight on the bottom.

Number 2 Houston in a Memphis (5 March)

There’s a good chance Houston enters the final game of the season with one loss (against Alabama) in season. Memphis can certainly double that number. Penny Hardaway’s group beat the Cougars in the regular season finale of last season and took things back two seasons ago. Led by Kendrick Davis, Memphis boasts an explosive and fast-paced offense, but the Houston defense, which leads the country and allows just 50.9 points per game, is sure to be challenged. Expect a fun fight between Davis and Marcus Sasser.

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