ESPN+ Week 18 college basketball viewers guide: Much on the line as regular season winds down

Bane leads TCU to upset of No. 2 Baylor (1:42)

Desmond Bane drops 23 points to help push the TCU Horned Frogs to an upset of the No. 2 Baylor Bears 75-72. (1:42)

Three top-five teams plus multiple National Player of the Year candidates. This week's slate on ESPN+ is absolutely loaded.

It's no coincidence that some of the best matchups of the season on ESPN's streaming service land at the start of every college hoops fan's favorite month. With the bubble heating up, Championship Week on the way and NCAA tournament locks battling for seeding purposes to receive the best possible road to Atlanta, we can only rejoice that we have finally reached March.

While seven conference tournaments are starting on ESPN+ over the next seven days, there are still many intriguing regular-season affairs to watch.

1. No. 2 Baylor Bears at No. 20 West Virginia Mountaineers (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

It has been a dream season for Scott Drew & Co. -- 23 straight wins, No. 1 ranking in the country for five straight weeks and the potential to hold the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

The goal is to win the first national title in program history, but before the Big Dance, the Bears must handle the Mountaineers in the final game of the regular season and bounce back from a stunning loss to TCU.

This will likely be a low-scoring, physical affair, as Baylor and West Virginia rely heavily on defense. The Bears have elite guard pressure, while the Mountaineers have maintained their "Press Virginia" style for years. If Jared Butler and the remainder of the Bears' backcourt can take care of the ball, they should escape with another victory. That's easier said than done in Morgantown, though.

2. TCU Horned Frogs at No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET, Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

Kansas' chase for the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Dance and the Big 12 regular-season title continues when it hosts TCU.

What makes the Jayhawks so dangerous is that they'll always likely possess the two best players on the floor on any given night. Between Devon Dotson's quickness and scoring ability and Udoka Azubuike's combination of rim protection and elite touch in the paint, Bill Self's squad is extremely difficult to contain and match up with offensively.

The Horned Frogs have tumbled in the second half of their season -- losses in eight of their past 11 games -- but this remains a stiff test for the Jayhawks, especially after coach Jamie Dixon's unit just picked off Baylor.

3. George Washington Colonials at No. 4 Dayton Flyers (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

The Flyers will be fresh off a monster clash vs. Rhode Island in Kingston, so they could already lock up the outright Atlantic 10 regular-season title before this one tips off. Regardless, watching coach Anthony Grant's squad is a pleasure, as they continue to be one of the most entertaining teams in college basketball and feature arguably the best player in the nation, Obi Toppin.

But what makes Dayton so unique is its ability to beat teams with talent beyond its Player of the Year candidate. While Toppin is critical to its success, Jalen Crutcher averages 15 points and gets overshadowed, Trey Landers is an excellent glue guy and Ibi Watson is an elite sixth man with experience playing at Michigan.

This is the final chance to see how the Flyers look before the A-10 tournament kicks off.

4. Rhode Island Rams at UMass Minutemen (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

While Rhode Island's most important game of the week is against Dayton, the Rams' at-large hopes rely heavily on this showdown.

UMass has played much better as of late -- winning four of its past six games -- but a loss would still be a dagger on the Rams' résumé.

Meanwhile, who would want to miss any Fatts Russell or Tre Mitchell game? Russell, the Rhode Island point guard, is averaging 19.6 points and has scored in single figures only three times this season, while Mitchell, the Massachusetts big man, has hit his stride late in the campaign, averaging a ridiculous 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in February.

5. Davidson Wildcats at Richmond Spiders (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)

The focus of this matchup remains on Richmond as it tries to improve its chances of reaching the Big Dance as a bubble team; however, Davidson should not, and will not, be underestimated.

The Wildcats got off to a rough start this season -- with defeats at the hands of Charlotte, Wake Forest and Temple -- despite being selected to finish second in the A-10 by the coaches. Suddenly, Davidson has come alive, though, beating Rhode Island by two and receiving more consistent offense from its two best players, Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady.

Coach Bob McKillop's team won't earn an at-large bid, but this game could give Davidson another opportunity to build momentum heading into the conference tournament. Having two elite talents might come in handy on a neutral floor, so watch out for Davidson as a potential automatic-bid stealer.

6. Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Crimson (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)

The Ivy League regular-season title could potentially be on the line as rivals duel in Cambridge.

While Princeton has surprised many, Harvard and Yale are the two best teams in the conference on paper. That was proved in the first meeting between these squads, as the Crimson escaped on a bizarre ending that included Azar Swain making a 3-pointer plus a foul with two seconds remaining. The junior guard went to the free throw line to tie the score but missed, giving Harvard a one-point victory on the road.

If the first showdown is any indication, this matchup cannot be missed.

7. Richmond Spiders at Duquesne Dukes (Friday, 7 p.m. ET)

While losing at Duquesne wouldn't eliminate Richmond from bubble contention, the Spiders could benefit from winning out to close the regular season.

That means they need to continue to get elite production from Grant Golden, who has been on fire since the start of conference play. The junior forward has been particularly stellar since mid-February, as he has scored in double figures in six straight outings and nearly recorded multiple triple-doubles.

With leading scorer Blake Francis starting to revert into full form after missing nearly a month due to an injury, the Spiders can overcome the lack of production beyond their starting five and the recent inconsistencies from Nick Sherod and Jacob Gilyard.

8. Iowa State Cyclones at Kansas State Wildcats (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

We won't have the honor of watching potential NBA lottery pick Tyrese Haliburton (out for the season) of Iowa State in this one, but seeing the freshmen on both sides could be entertaining.

While Iowa State and Kansas State are having down seasons, Tre Jackson and DaJuan Gordon have become young bright spots for their respective teams. Jackson has replaced Haliburton in the starting lineup and had a breakout game vs. TCU last week, dropping 18 points and dishing out five assists while playing all 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Gordon has shown flashes since coming off the bench, scoring 7.7 points on 50% shooting in three games vs. Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech.

Can these two continue to rise to the occasion? We'll find out in this Big 12 affair.

9. Bowling Green Falcons at Kent State Golden Flashes (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)

Who is the best team in the MAC? Akron? Buffalo? Or is it really Bowling Green?

The Falcons have sent a message to the rest of the conference that they're for real after obliterating Akron by 18 on their home court last week. In addition to that victory, Bowling Green won on the road vs. Buffalo and owns a nonconference victory over Cincinnati. Also, two of its eight losses came without leading scorer Justin Turner, who missed multiple games due to injury.

If the Falcons want to capture the MAC East division title over Akron, bouncing back from a blowout loss to Miami (Ohio) is necessary.

10. Albany Great Danes at Vermont Catamounts (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)

Despite some early-season hiccups and a surprising loss at home to Stony Brook, Vermont already has clinched its fourth straight America East regular-season title.

So why is this matchup on our top 10 of the week? One name: Anthony Lamb.

The senior forward's numbers have dropped this season, but he's still averaging 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds and put up an absurd 33 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the Catamounts' last game vs. Albany. Expect a big outing as the Great Danes try to find someone capable of containing the lethal point forward.