Column: Sports Prediction Central, Edition 8

Predictions for the best games around the sports world this week

Welcome to the eighth edition of Sports Predictions Central, a column for predictions of the best games on the sports slate this week. 

In this edition, we will be predicting and breaking down the outcomes of the following games: #13 West Virginia vs. #12 Texas, #15 Texas Tech vs. #23 Kansas, #3 Michigan vs. #4 Ohio State, Nets vs. Clippers and Trail Blazers vs. Suns.

#13 West Virginia vs. #12 Texas, Saturday, Feb. 20, 12 p.m.

Adam: Two of the hottest teams in the Big 12 will match up on Saturday, both looking for a signature win to bolster their tournament resumes. After dropping a double overtime thriller versus Oklahoma last week, West Virginia will be looking to bounce back in a big way. I believe they will, with star big man Derek Culver leading the way with a monster game, propelling West Virginia to victory.

West Virginia 74, Texas 69

Alex: In a matchup between two ranked teams, West Virginia looks to back bounce with a key win after a tough loss to Oklahoma in double overtime. In my opinion, they will do just that. West Virginia will win a close one against Texas, solidifying themselves as a top 15 team in the nation.

West Virginia 76, Texas 72 

Eric: Both Texas and West Virginia are having great seasons. Both Big12 teams are strong with a lot of depth. I believe Texas has lots of talent, but the Mountaineers showed up to play in the first matchup vs. Texas and I believe that momentum to continue. 

West Virginia 69, Texas 62

Final Score: West Virginia 84, Texas 82

#15 Texas Tech vs. #23 Kansas, Saturday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m.

Adam: After slumping a bit over the past couple weeks, Kansas has made their way back into the top 25, just in time for a showdown with #15 Texas Tech. Texas Tech is one of the most dangerous teams in the country thanks in part to electric sophomore Mac McClung, and I believe they’ll show it on Saturday. Kansas’s time in the top 25 will be short lived, as the Red Raiders will dominate them for a full 40 minutes.

Texas Tech 82, Kansas 68

Alex: After a tough loss to West Virginia followed by the postponement of several games, Texas Tech looks to revive their resume with a keypoint win against Kansas. However, ending off cold and not having played in a few weeks, I see Texas Tech being off the mark from the play level they’re used to. Kansas will pull off the upset.

Kansas 81, Texas Tech 78

Eric: Texas Tech has been strong this year and has a great supporting cast. Kansas has won its last three and have climbed back into the Top 25 ranking. I believe that Texas Tech will win by a comfortable margin because of their electric offense and stout defense.

Texas Tech 77, Kansas 68

Final Score: Kansas 67, Texas Tech 61

#3 Michigan vs. #4 Ohio State, Sunday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m.

Adam: This matchup pits the two best teams in the best conference in the country, the Big Ten. Raising the stakes even more, it is one of the most storied rivalries in college sports. Michigan, after a COVID pause, bounced back in a big way against Wisconsin last week, making a huge second half comeback to beat a sneaky good Badgers team. Ohio State has rocketed up the rankings as well after a string of great wins. This will be one of the best games of the year and an incredibly tough one to pick. Ultimately, I think that Michigan will pull this one out due to their star freshman Hunter Dickinson, who has been unstoppable this season.

Michigan 79, Ohio State 78

Alex: It’s extremely hard for me to even remotely bet against E.J. Liddell and Ohio State, especially in a matchup with their rival of Michigan. Debatably the best matchup of the week, this rivalry has huge implications for the college basketball season as a whole. Down the stretch I see the Buckeyes pulling away, securing the W.

Ohio State 74, Michigan 65

Eric: In a matchup between two top five teams, the Wolverines travel to Columbus to take on a hot Buckeyes team. After winning six in a row, I believe that momentum will continue for Ohio State and they will win in an extremely close game.

Ohio State 72, Michigan 69

Final Score: Michigan 92, Ohio State 87

Nets vs. Clippers, Sunday, Feb. 21, 5 p.m.

Adam: In a matchup of title favorites in each of their respective conferences, there will be no shortage of star power in LA on Sunday. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the Nets superstars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, I have to go with the Clippers in this one. The depth surrounding their stars is what will eventually win them this one, taking advantage of a porous Brooklyn defense.

Clippers 120, Nets 109

Alex: The Nets and Clippers alike have started off hot, claiming the second seed in their respective divisions. Both are clear-cut playoff teams, and though as a fan of the Clippers it’s hard to bet against them, it’s even harder to bet against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. If the Nets put together a solid defensive performance this one shouldn’t be a worry for the Brooklyn squad. 

Nets 114, Clippers 104

Eric: The Nets and Clippers both have lots of star power, with five superstars on the floor. With all three stars playing, I think the Nets will be too much offensively for the Clippers. Though Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will put up a fight, I think Brooklyn will overwhelm the Clippers on Sunday Night. 

Nets 122, Clippers 114

Final Score: Nets 112, Clippers 108

Trail Blazers vs. Suns, Monday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m.

Adam: For the first time in a long time, the Phoenix Suns are a relevant team in the western playoff race. Led by the guard tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the Suns have been playing their best basketball in years. I believe it will continue on Monday, taking advantage of an injury-plagued Blazers team.

Suns 108, Blazers 104

Alex: In a matchup of undeniably great guards, look for a high scoring matchup. I’ve been on the Suns wave for a while now, holding faith that they’ll take it all the way eventually. Devin Booker, shining on the big stage, will push the Suns over the Blazers in a high-scoring affair. 

Suns 122, Trail Blazers 119

Eric: The Trail Blazers have one of the best guards in the league with Damian Lillard, along with good size in the front court. The Suns are off to their best start in years and the tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker is working wonderfully. However, I think the Blazers take this game with the score being close. 

Blazers 120, Suns 117

Final Score: Suns 132, Trail Blazers 100

Current Prediction Standings (Through Seventh Edition):

Alex: 18-17 (2-3 last week)

Eric: 18-17 (3-2 last week)

Adam: 17-18 (1-4 last week)