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Gonzaga vs. UCLA: Looking at all-time No. 1 vs. 2 games before the 43rd matchup of top two teams in AP Top 25

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Tuesday night will bring something special — yet surprisingly not all that rare — in men’s college basketball: a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the AP Top 25. This is the 72nd season of the AP men’s college basketball poll; No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 UCLA in the Empire Classic at 10 p.m. ET in Las Vegas will mark the 43rd all-time meeting between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the AP Top 25.

It would’ve been the 44th instance, if not for last year’s early December meeting between Gonzaga (then No. 1) and Baylor (then No. 2) getting canceled just before tipoff due to multiple COVID positives on Gonzaga’s roster. Cancellations may not be on the table this year, thankfully. 

What makes this tilt even tastier is the familiarity and revenge factor involved. Gonzaga of course knocked off UCLA 93-90 in overtime in the 2021 Final Four on a 37-foot winner by Jalen Suggs to keep the Zags undefeated (before losing in the championship game to Baylor). The shot and the game are already etched in college basketball lore

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It’s a good week for college hoops all around: the women’s game also has No. 1 South Carolina playing No. 2 UConn on Monday. (The game is so big, in fact, the AP poll is taking the rare step of delaying the voting by one day so the game’s result can have a say on the next edition of the women’s top 25.) 

On the men’s side we happen to get No. 1-vs.-2 pretty frequently. The AP poll dates back to the 1948-49 season, so do the math: 73 years and 43 games means college hoops gets the top squaring off more frequently than an every-other-year basis. The most recent top-two tilt was on the opening night 2019-20 season, when No. 1 Michigan State was defeated by No. 2 Kentucky 69-62 in the Champions Classic. 

Tuesday’s game is the fourth No. 1-against-2 matchup since 2016. Though GU coach Mark Few and UCLA coach Mick Cronin were ambitiously agreeable in making sure this rematch could happen so soon after the Final Four, the backstory on what had to happen to ensure we got Zags vs. Bruins was a bit melodramatic. I documented it in the offseason

Coming off a quality weekend that saw the likes of Purdue, St. Bonaventure, Arizona and Utah State win multi-team events, Thanksgiving week — as it always does — will provide a Thanksgiving-sized helping off great games between ranked teams. They’ll all (even Gonzaga vs. Duke on Friday night) get in line behind Gonzaga-UCLA. There is always something special about No. 1 vs. No. 2, no matter when it lands on the calendar. 

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No. 1 vs. No. 2 by the numbers

Here’s a historical look at what’s happened when the top two teams have tipped off over the decades. Data retrieved from the NCAA, SportsReference.com, and College Poll Archive.

  • Twenty-five of the 43 meetings have come in the regular season, including the past eight times (including Tuesday night). The No. 2-ranked team is 13-11 in regular-season affairs. No. 1 leads overall 22-20.
  • The most recent instance of No. 1 playing No. 2 in a postseason game was the 2005 national championship between North Carolina and Illinois.
  • A No. 1 vs. No. 2 game has never featured Gonzaga until now. 
  • This is UCLA‘s 10th appearance in a No. 1-vs.-No. 2 game, which will breaks the record of nine it shared with Kentucky. The Bruins have waited a long time for this: their last appearance came in 1976. 
  • This is wild: According to ESPN, teams ranked No. 2 have a one-point advantage (yes, total!) over the No. 1s in the previous 42 meetings.
  • The average score the past 42 meetings: 75-75. (KenPom.com predicts Gonzaga 80, UCLA 74 for this one.)
  • Gonzaga will be trying to become just the second team from a mid-major conference to win as the No. 1 team against No. 2 in the regular season. Top-ranked UNLV (when it was in the Big West) did it against No. 2 Arkansas in 1991. Watch this and enjoy the flashback.
  • The average margin of victory in regular season No. 1-vs.-2 games is 11.2 points, but that is influenced by a 41-point Kentucky win over St. John’s in 1951, the first top-two regular season matchup in history. The last six games have been decided by 4.3 points. The average margin for all 42 prior matchups is 10.1.
  • This is the ninth time in the regular season that 1-against-2 has come on a neutral court. No. 1 is 5-3. 
  • There have been five games that required overtime, with two of those needing three OTs. In 1957, North Carolina beat Kansas 54-53 in triple OT in the NCAA Tournament title game. In 2016, Kansas beat Oklahoma in an epic 109-106 providing one of the five best top-two matchups in college basketball history. Buddy Hield dropped 46 points in OU’s loss and had one of the best games in the history of Allen Fieldhouse.
  • Largest gap for No. 1 over No. 2 was Duke’s 31-point beatdown of Texas in 2005 (97-66).
  • Largest gap for No. 2, as noted above, is Kentucky 81, St. John’s 40 in 1951.
  • No. 1 vs. No. 2. has been close as of late and history suggests there’s a one-in-five chance it will be razor-thin. Eight times these matchups have either been decided by one point and/or required overtime. The hit rate historically jumps to 40% when a game ends with a margin of five points or fewer. Good news for Tuesday night, then.
  • Gonzaga is 2-10 all time vs. No. 1/2. Mark Few has been the coach for nine of those 12 games and is 2-7.

No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the regular season

  • Dec. 17, 1951: No. 2 Kentucky def. No. 1 St. John’s 81-40
  • Dec. 21, 1954: No. 1 Kentucky def. No. 2 Utah 70-65
  • Dec.14, 1964: No. 2 Michigan def. No. 1 Wichita State 87-85
  • Jan.20, 1968: No. 2 Houston def. No. 1 UCLA 71-69
  • Dec.15, 1973: No. 1 UCLA def. No. 2 North Carolina State 84-66
  • Jan. 19, 1974: No. 2 Notre Dame def. No. 1 UCLA 71-70
  • Jan. 26, 1974: No. 2 UCLA def. No. 1 Notre Dame 94-75
  • Nov. 29, 1975: No. 1 Indiana def. No. 2. UCLA 84-64
  • Dec. 26, 1981: No. 1 North Carolina def. No. 2 Kentucky 82-69
  • Jan. 9, 1982: No. 1 North Carolina def. No. 2 Virginia 65-60
  • Dec.15, 1984: No. 1 Georgetown def. No. 2. DePaul 77-57
  • Feb. 27, 1985: No. 2 Georgetown def. No. 1 St. John’s 85-69
  • Feb. 4, 1986: No. 1 North Carolina def. No. 2 Georgia Tech 78-77 (OT)
  • Feb. 13, 1990: No. 2 Missouri def. No. 1 Kansas 77-71
  • Feb. 10, 1991: No. 1 UNLV def. No. 2 Arkansas 112-105
  • Feb. 3, 1994: No. 2 North Carolina def. No. 1 Duke 89-78
  • Feb. 5, 1998: No. 2 North Carolina def. No. 1 Duke 97-73
  • Dec. 10, 2005: No. 1 Duke def. No. 2 Texas 97-66
  • Feb. 25, 2007: No. 2 Ohio State def. No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48
  • Feb. 23, 2008: No. 2 Tennessee def. No. 1 Memphis 66-62
  • Nov. 12, 2013: No. 2 Michigan State def. No. 1 Kentucky 78-74
  • Jan. 4, 2016: No. 1 Kansas def. No. 2 Oklahoma 109-106 (3OT)
  • Nov. 14, 2017: No. 1 Duke def. No. 2 Michigan State 88-81
  • Nov. 5, 2019: No. 2 Kentucky def. No. 1 Michigan State 69-62

No. 1 vs. No. 2 in postseason play

  • March 26, 1949: No. 1 Kentucky def. No. 2 Oklahoma A&M 46-36 (national championship)
  • March 23, 1957: No. 1 North Carolina def. No. 2 Kansas 54-53 (3OT) (national championship)
  • March 18, 1960: No. 2 California def. No. 1 Cincinnati 77-69 (national semifinals)
  • March 25, 1961: No. 2 Cincinnati def. No. 1 Ohio State 70-65 (OT) (national championship)
  • March 24, 1962: No. 2 Cincinnati def. No. 1 Ohio State 71-59 (national championship)
  • March 20, 1965: No. 2 UCLA def. No. 1 Michigan 91-80 (national championship)
  • March 18, 1966: No. 1 Kentucky def. No. 2 Duke 83-79 (national semifinals)
  • March 22, 1968: No. 2 UCLA def. No. 1 Houston 101-69 (national semifinals)
  • March 25, 1974: No. 1 North Carolina State def. No. 2 UCLA 80-77 (2OT) (national semifinals)
  • March 31, 1975: No. 1 UCLA def. No. 2 Kentucky 92-85 (national championship)
  • March 22, 1976: No. 1 Indiana def. No. 2 Marquette 65-56 (Elite Eight)
  • April 2, 1983: No. 1 Houston def. No. 2 Louisville 94-81 (national semifinals)
  • March 9, 1985: No. 1 Georgetown def. No. 2 St. John’s 92-80 (Big East championship)
  • March 29, 1986: No. 1 Duke def. No. 2. Kansas 71-67 (national semifinals)
  • March 10, 1990: No. 1 Oklahoma def. No. 2 Kansas 95-77 (Big Eight semifinals)
  • March 30, 1996: No. 2 Kentucky def. No. 1 Massachusetts 81-74 (national semifinals)
  • March 27, 1999: No. 1 Duke def. No. 2 Michigan State 68-62 (national semifinals)
  • April 4, 2005: No. 2 North Carolina def. No. 1 Illinois 75-70 (national championship)





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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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