Welcome to The Weekly Slate. Each week, we'll be highlighting the biggest games between top teams, games that could shape the fringes of the NCAA Tournament field -- we're now less than two months from Selection Sunday -- and top NBA prospects for the upcoming week. Think of it as part preview, part viewing guide. Here's the first edition.
This week is already off to a great start, with No. 3 Purdue eeking out a 64-63 victory at Michigan State. Zach Edey scored exactly half -- 32 -- of the Boilermakers' points, and Tyson Walker's 30 points weren't quite enough for the Spartans. Tom Izzo's bunch entered the game 42nd in the NET Rankings, and while there will be more resume-building opportunities, this is one hurt. It was the Spartans' second one-point loss to a top-10 team this season, with the first coming against Gonzaga in November.
This week's top games
No. 2 Kansas at No. 13 Kansas State (Tuesday, 7 p.m. on ESPN) -- Kansas has won 15 of the past 16 Sunflower Showdowns, but this is as good of a chance as any the Wildcats have had over that span. Keyontae Johnson (18.4 ppg) and Markquis Nowell (17.1 ppg) are the second highest-scoring duo in the major conferences, only behind Arizona's Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo.
Kansas, meanwhile, comes in on a 10-game winning streak, the sixth-longest active streak in Division I, and the Jayhawks are getting it done late: a perfect 8-0 this season in games decided by six points or fewer. Jalen Wilson is averaging 19.8 points and 8.9 rebounds, numbers no Jayhawk has hit for an entire season since Wayne Simien in 2004-05. Wilson's also a terrific defender, and his matchup with Johnson will be a great one.
No. 7 Texas at No. 12 Iowa State (Tuesday, 8 p.m. on Big 12+/ESPN+) -- Texas is just 2-9 in its last 11 visits to Hilton Coliseum, and tonight's trip could be as tough as any. Iowa State's defense ranks fifth in the country in efficiency and first in turnover percentage. It's hard to even get shots -- much less make shots -- against the Cyclones. Texas might just have the answer, though: The Longhorns' offense ranks top-50 nationally in turnover percentage and may be able to take advantage inside. Texas ranks 12th nationally in shooting percentage at the rim, while Iowa State is the worst team in Division I in shooting percentage allowed at the rim.
Keep an eye on the backcourt battle with Marcus Carr and former Cyclone standout Tyrese Hunter facing Jaren Holmes and Tamin Lipsey. Iowa State is 12-1 when Holmes scores in double figures and 1-2 when he doesn't.
No. 22 Providence at No. 20 Marquette (Wednesday, 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network) -- After struggling to find his footing at Kentucky, former blue-chip recruit Bryce Hopkins has become a force at Providence. He's one of two Big East players averaging at least 16 points and nine rebounds this season, he leads the conference in free throws attempted and is second in free throws made. Look for Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Oso Ighodaro to be keys to limiting him. On the other end, Marquette has the nation's No. 2 offensive efficiency, with most of the damage coming inside the arc -- the exact area Providence has struggled to defend in conference play.
No. 23 Rutgers at Michigan State (Thursday, 6:30 p.m. on FS1) -- Michigan State could really use this one, and the Spartans should have a good chance. Rutgers is 11-2 this year at home but just 2-2 on the road, and the Scarlet Knights have never won in East Lansing, Michigan. Rutgers has the nation's No. 3 defensive efficiency, and Cam Spencer (46.7% on 3-pointers) has been terrific recently with 44 points over the past two contests.
Indiana at Illinois (Thursday, 8:30 p.m. on FS1) -- These two teams might be the most talented-yet-inconsistent squads in the Big Ten, and while both should be in decent shape for an NCAA Tournament bid, they both have bigger goals than that. Illinois seems to have broken out of a lull with four straight wins, and the defense is the main cause: No opponent has broken the 70-point mark during the streak. Indiana emerged out of a three-game skid with a 63-45 win against then-No. 18 Wisconsin but is just 1-5 in Quad 1 games this year, with four of the five losses in blowout fashion.
No. 14 TCU at No. 2 Kansas (Saturday, 1 p.m. on CBS) -- In the Big 12, there's no rest for the weary, and that rings especially true for Kansas right now. This will be its third straight game against a top-15 opponent, and TCU will be a physical battle for Bill Self's group. The Horned Frogs take good care of the basketball, hit the offensive glass hard and shoot a lot of free throws. So far in Big 12 play, nearly 65% of their points have come inside the arc, the highest rate in the conference. They're fresh off an impressive win over Kansas State in which they dumped in 54 points in the paint. For as good as Kansas is, its rim defense (58.1% shooting allowed at the rim, 184th in D-I) can be spotty.
No. 5 UCLA at No. 11 Arizona (Saturday, 2 p.m. on ABC) -- The two preseason Pac-12 favorites are heading in opposite directions at the moment. UCLA has won 13 straight games, the third-longest active winning streak in D-I, while Arizona has dropped two of three, with blowout losses to Washington State and Oregon sandwiching a win at Oregon State.
The Wildcats still have one of the nation's best offenses, with top-10 marks in efficiency, 2-point percentage and assist rate, but they desperately need Kerr Kriisa to break out of a mini-slump. He's shot 9 of 34 over his last three games, including 7 of 29 on 3-pointers. Things might not get easier against a terrific UCLA defense that's allowed the lowest 3-point percentage in Pac-12 play.
Three NBA prospects to watch
- Alabama forward Brandon Miller's career high is 36 points against Gonzaga back in December, but his 31-point, nine-rebound outing against LSU on Saturday might have been even better. He went 11 of 16 from the field and 7 of 11 from deep, and he played only 24 minutes. He'll get another chance at a big game against Vanderbilt, which has the SEC's second-worst defensive efficiency in conference play, on Tuesday. Miller is No. 3 in the CBS Sports NBA Draft Prospect Rankings and leds the .
- Baylor's Keyonte George poured in a career-high 32 points last week in a road win at Oklahoma State, and the Bears will need him to play well again Tuesday at Texas Tech. George's 20 points per game on the road leads all freshmen. He's sixth in the prospect rankings.
- After an abysmal six-point outing against Maryland on New Year's Day, Michigan's Jett Howard has averaged 18.5 points over his last four games on 50% 3-point shooting, with a 34-point outing against Iowa last week. Howard gets a second chance against Maryland on Thursday. He's 21st in the prospect rankings.
Odds and ends
- The two longest active winning streaks in Division I belong to... No. 18 Charleston (18 straight) and No. 24 FAU (16 straight). The Cougars visit Monmouth while the Owls head to UTSA on Thursday.
- Detroit's Antoine Davis, fresh off breaking the D-I career 3-point record, is up to 3,232 career points. He needs 18 points Saturday against IUPUI to pass Freeman Williams for second-most points in D-I history. Pete Maravich holds the record with 3,667.