What to watch: Big 12 and SEC duke it out in cross-conference rivalries

Then-sophomore forward Wesley Iwundu attempts to block Iowa State forward Georges Niang's shot during the first half of the K-State versus Iowa State men's basketball game on Feb. 28, 2015, inside Bramlage Coliseum. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Iowa (3) at Maryland (8)

Iowa just continues to find ways to win games and keep impressing people. No one thought Iowa would be this highly ranked at this point in the season. The Hawkeyes get another tough test as they take on Maryland, who is coming off a defeat against Michigan State. Playing at home could help Maryland in this big game, as the Terrapins will be looking for a statement win in the Big 10.

Tipoff is set for 6:00 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.

Virginia (11) at Louisville (16)

Virginia has been a team that has been hard to get a read on this year. The Cavaliers are continuing to win games, but they are not consistently playing up to the defensive level people are used to seeing from them. Louisville is having a down year and is still ranked in the top 25. The Cardinals don’t seem to be a legitimate threat, but maybe a key win can help build momentum down the stretch.

You can see this game at noon Saturday on CBS.

Iowa State (14) at Texas A&M (5)

The Big 12/SEC Challenge got amped up over the offseason; all 10 games between the two conferences will now be played on Saturday. The Cyclones will take on their second top-five team of the week, Texas A&M, after taking down No. 4 Kansas at home on Monday. This is a huge game that both teams can use to build on their already impressive resumes. Plus, it will be a matchup of two old Big 12 foes. Everyone claims the Big 12 is the best conference, so the Aggies will be looking to prove they belong.

Tipoff is set for 1:00 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

Kentucky (20) at Kansas (4)

The game of the week is Kentucky at Kansas. College GameDay will be there, and it’s sure to be an electric crowd in Lawrence. Kentucky is having a disappointing season, struggling to keep up in a very mediocre SEC. Kentucky has not been very good on the road, and it is tough to win at Kansas. The Jayhawks have also been in a funk lately, dropping their last three road games by 10 points or more, including a game that really got away from the Jayhawks against Iowa State one Monday. The history of this matchup makes this game attractive no matter where the two teams are ranked.

Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.