College Basketball
What to watch for in Ohio State-Indiana, Arizona-Washington, more on FOX
College Basketball

What to watch for in Ohio State-Indiana, Arizona-Washington, more on FOX

Updated Jan. 28, 2023 10:17 a.m. ET

We're right in the heat of conference play, with just over six weeks remaining until Selection Sunday in college basketball. The upcoming weekends are a dream for hoops junkies, and FOX is bringing a full slate on Saturday with a four-game marathon. 

From All-American candidates to top-10 teams and others looking to build their NCAA Tournament resume, there's no shortage of storylines involved in the schedule.

Here's what to watch for during the Saturday slate.

Women's hoops: Nebraska at No. 10 Iowa, 1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app


Hawkeyes superstar and unanimous All-American Caitlin Clark is must-see TV. The nation's third-leading scorer at 26.8 points per game, the junior is coming off the eighth triple-double of her career – a 28-point, 15-assist, 10-rebound master class as Iowa handed No. 2 Ohio State its first loss of the season, 83-72.

Clark joined a category that was previously occupied by only one player, Dwyane Wade. They are now the only two to tally a triple-double against an AP top-two opponent since 1999-2000. Her skillset and production level is second to none, being the only player in the nation with more than 490 points, 135 rebounds, 130 assists and 25 steals this season.

The victory over the Buckeyes pushed the Hawkeyes to 8-1 in the Big Ten, as Lisa Bluder's team is surging with five consecutive wins and is right behind 9-1 Indiana in the conference standings. They'll look to stay on pace hosting a Nebraska team that ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 62 points allowed per game and is led by an elite point guard in Jaz Shelley, who's third in the conference with 125 assists on the season. At 12-8 overall and 4-5 in the league, the Huskers are on the bubble in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

Illinois at Wisconsin, 3 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app

The Illini have won five of their last six. The Badgers have lost five of their last six.

This showdown in Madison comes at a curious time for two programs who have gone through ups and downs this season. On both these teams' best day, they look like a top 15-20 squad. The Illini have played well for the most part in recent weeks and own non-conference wins over UCLA and Texas. But, just when you think this team has it figured out, they got run off the floor at home by Indiana last week as Trayce Jackson-Davis went off for 35 points. So, just how good is this Illinois team? It's one of the sport's biggest mysteries this season. When Terrence Shannon Jr. gets help from Coleman Hawkins and Matthew Mayer, the Illini take on a more dangerous look. Brad Underwood's team is 8-3 when Mayer scores in double-figures.

Just 24 days ago, Greg Gard's team was ranked 14th in the AP Poll at 11-2 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten. But in the last three weeks, it's easy to feel just how much the Badgers miss top-10 NBA Draft pick Johnny Davis, who led Wisconsin to a share of the Big Ten regular season title last year. The Badgers are second-to-last in the Big Ten in scoring offense at 65.8 points per game, and rank 111th in KenPom in adjusted offensive efficiency. While Wisconsin is desperate and I tend to lean with the home team in these conference games, particularly rematches, because they don't really have a lead scorer, they're susceptible to being in tighter games because they possess offensive limitations.

It's key that sophomore guard Chucky Hepburn bounces back. He was limited to just three points in the 73-55 loss to Maryland on Wednesday.

No. 6 Arizona at Washington, 5:30 p.m. on FOX and the FOX Sports app

The Wildcats are one of the nation's best at 18-3 and ended UCLA's 14-game winning streak last Saturday with a 58-52 triumph over the Bruins. Coming off a 63-58 win at Washington State, Arizona will head into Alaska Airlines Arena for another test on Saturday against a Washington team that's played better basketball as of late. There could be some drama in the rematch between these two teams, with Arizona taking the first meeting on Jan. 5 by only three, 70-67.

Mike Hopkins' Huskies have won four out of their last five games and are coming off a 69-66 overtime victory on Thursday night over an Arizona State team that is on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

This showdown features the two top scorers in the Pac-12 as All-American candidate Azuolas Tubelis (19.8 PPG) leads the Wildcats against Keion Brooks (17.6 PPG) and the Huskies. For Arizona, Tubelis has teamed up with Oumar Ballo to form one of the nation's best frontcourts. The 7-foot junior is coming off his quietest performance of the season to date with just one point in 24 minutes against Washington State. He had 15 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting with Washington. If the Huskies are going to negate the Wildcats' big men, 7-foot-1 junior Braxton Meah has to hold his own on the interior and try to make life hard for Tubelis and Ballo.

If the Huskies are going to pull off an upset, senior guard Noah Williams has to keep rolling off his 18-point, eight-rebound, three-assist performance against the Sun Devils on Thursday. There will be a whiteout in Seattle. Keep an eye out for upset watch on Saturday evening.

Azuolas Tubelis' double-double leads Arizona to a 63-58 win against Washington State

Tubelis led all scorers in the game with 18 points and ended the game with 12 rebounds.

Ohio State at Indiana, 8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app

The Hoosiers have won four in a row and should return to the top 25 on Monday with a win over the Buckeyes on Saturday night. The headliner in this matchup is no debate: Trayce Jackson-Davis.

The Indiana senior has put his team on his back on the Hoosiers' recent surge, averaging 27.3 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 4.8 blocks per game over the last four games.

A great note courtesy of Indiana athletics: In the last 30 seasons of Division I men's college basketball, only Jackson-Davis and NBA Hall of Famer Tim Duncan have averaged at least 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game.

Beyond Jackson-Davis, what's led IU to getting back on track despite injuries from Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson? Defense. The Hoosiers, who were the top defensive team in the Big Ten last season, have gotten back to their roots, holding opponents to just 59 points per game over the last four contests. The third element for IU is complementary scoring. When two of Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trey Galloway, Tamar Bates or Miller Kopp can give Jackson-Davis assistance, Indiana becomes a really tough out.

On the other side, Ohio State enters this matchup on Saturday really struggling. The Buckeyes have lost six of their last seven games and find themselves firmly on the bubble. Chris Holtmann is relying on Zed Key, who's been battling an injury, to do a lot in the frontcourt, and the Buckeyes have struggled with Big Ten size. In addition to that, four of the six losses on the recent skid have come by four points or fewer. Late-game execution has been up-and-down for a team that retooled significantly in the offseason. The bright spot? The Buckeyes have one of the best freshman scorers in the country in Brice Sensabaugh (17.4 PPG). OSU is in great need of a season-changing moment. Saturday provides an opportunity, but it will be a tall task at a rocking Assembly Hall.

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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