(CBS Local/CBS Los Angeles)- College basketball season is in full swing, and as the month of December nears its conclusion, teams across the country are getting their final few non-conference games and early-season showcase matchups out of the way. This Saturday, CBS will have a pair of premier games to watch with the 5th annual CBS Sports Classic.
At the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the North Carolina Tar Heels will face the UCLA Bruins followed by a top-10 matchup between the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes and #6 Kentucky Wildcats.
The action begins with two of the sport’s blue bloods, UNC and UCLA tipping off at 3:00 p.m. EST. The Tar Heels recently suffered a big loss when star freshman guard Cole Anthony underwent knee surgery, knocking him out for 4-6 weeks of action. But, Roy Williams’ squad still has plenty of eye-catching talent, with forwards Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot and guard Brandon Robinson all averaging double-figures. They match up with a UCLA team that is still finding its way in the first season of Mick Cronin’s tenure. The Bruins feature a balanced attack, with four players averaging double-digit points on the year, and they have the added intrigue of Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Shareef, coming off the bench.
Even with the loss of Anthony, the Tar Heels should find some offense in this game, as the Bruins rank 181st in KenPom’s Adjusted Defense metric. On the flip side, UNC is 37th in that same metric. It will be interesting to see how the Bruins attack and defend this Tar Heels squad as they look to pick up their eighth victory of the season.
Once that game has ended, fans will be treated to a matchup of top-10 teams, as #5 Ohio State meets #6 Kentucky, with tip-off scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EST. The teams have just one loss a piece, each sporting lock-down defenses. The star to watch for the Buckeyes is junior forward Kaleb Wesson, who is averaging a near double-double (14.3 PPG 9.1 RPG) and shooting a ridiculous 45.9% from three. The Wildcats, as usual, are stacked with talented former five-star recruits, led by forward Nick Richards (13.8 PPG 8 RPG) and guard Ashton Hagans (13.7 PPG 7 APG).
Both teams play at a slower pace, and with the defensive abilities they have shown throughout the season, fans should expect a tightly contested affair. The Buckeyes are the better three-point-shooting team of the two (41.6% to 29.4%), but the Wildcats have defended the three-point line well this year, allowing opponents to hit just 28.8% of their attempts. Making things more interesting, the Buckeyes topped the first edition of the NCAA’s NET ratings for the season.
Both games will air on CBS with streaming available online via the CBS All Access app.