College Basketball Catch-up: The Tobacco Road Rivalry does not disappoint and conference tournament season is here

North Carolina and Duke’s 260th meeting comes down to the wire, and here’s my pick to win the hottest conference in college basketball.

[A photo of a Kansas basketball player shooting with a Texas player reaching behind him.]

“College Basketball Catch-Up” is a column by Terence Holton discussing the latest men’s college basketball headlines.

With only one week until Selection Sunday, chaos erupted over the college basketball landscape, with No. 9 Texas flattening No. 3 Kansas, Oklahoma taking down No. 22 TCU and a phenomenal ending in the greatest rivalry in college basketball: Duke and North Carolina. Here are my top headlines from this past week.

Although unranked, Duke vs. Carolina does not fail to entertain

Duke brought their brooms with them to Chapel Hill as they swept the Tar Heels to finish out the regular season and earn a double-bye in the upcoming ACC tournament.

It was only the fourth time since 1960 that these two titans of college basketball met unranked, and both the Tar Heels and Blue Devils proved why they should be outside of the AP Top 25. Like I said, it was a great game which came down to the final possession, where Duke outlasted UNC 62-57, but the two Blue Bloods did not fill up the stat sheet.

Duke shot a measly 37% from the field, while North Carolina shot an abysmal 30% from the field. Nonetheless, the matchup is always entertaining and this iteration was no different.

Duke freshman center Kyle Filipowski was the star of the game, and proved he’s one of the best freshmen in the country, dropping 22 points and 13 rebounds. He now leads all freshmen in the country in double-doubles this season.

North Carolina played 13 players this game, as head coach Hubert Davis was still looking for a spark for the Tar Heels. As per usual, the only ones who brought energy for North Carolina were senior forward Armando Bacot, and the junior backcourt tandem of RJ Davis and Caleb Love. The trio combined for 45 of the Heels’ 57 points.

The game came down to the final play where Caleb Love missed a game-tying three, then Duke grabbed the rebound and rifled the ball up to a wide-open Filipowski to seal the sweep for the Blue Devils.

While it is always fun when these two battle it out, boy was it]agonizing to watch, as both teams could not hit the broad side of a barn. This game would have been incredibly important for the Tar Heels, who are still searching for an NCAA tournament bid. However, since they lost, they will most likely need to win the ACC tournament to make March Madness. The Blue Devils, however, just proved how they are still top dog in that rivalry and will compete in the NCAA tournament.

My pick of who will win the red hot Big 12

Now I know I said a few weeks ago I would not proclaim any team to be “my team;” however, it is just too tantalizing not to since it is the Power Six conference tournament week.

The Big 12 is probably the best conference we have seen in the last 10 years, and truly anyone could win it. Last week, I said I could see nine teams winning it, and I still firmly believe that. However, I think that the regular season champ will take home the cake.

Though Kansas just suffered a loss to No. 9 Texas, the Jayhawks still are the best team in the conference. Kansas is led by redshirt  junior forward Jalen Wilson who is most likely to win Big 12 Player of the Year, averaging 19.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Kansas has 15 Quad 1 wins this year, the most out of any team in the country. The team has been by far the best in the Big 12 this year, beating every single opponent handily at least once.

The Jayhawks will have a tough road ahead, as even though they have a first round bye, they play the winner of Texas Tech and West Virginia, two teams who they very recently barely escaped from. Either way, I’m looking forward to a great game for whoever Kansas plays.

Head coach Bill Self is still the most battle-tested coach in the Big 12 and arguably all of college basketball. When the going gets tough, Kansas is a team you can rely on to get it done under pressure. It also doesn’t hurt that the championship game will be held in Kansas City. So if the Jayhawks can get there, they should have a pretty decent home court advantage.

However, I would take all of this with a grain of salt, as teams who I pick to win usually lose shortly after I proclaim them to be the best.

“College Basketball Catch-Up” runs every Monday.