With two first round draft picks in the absolutely stacked 2014 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics fans should be excited to watch NCAA basketball this season. There are a number of talented players projected to be selected, so I have been publishing a monthly college basketball guide for fans of the Celtics.
Ten players to track throughout the season were highlighted in November, and in December some of the premiere games to watch were outlined. In January, an updated list of 15 players to follow was published.
If the NBA season ended today, February 4th, the Celtics would enter the draft lottery with the fifth worst record in the league, and since they also own Atlanta's pick, they would also secure the 20th pick in the first round.
Because of their wide-range of draft picks this year, it's important to analyze players projected to go in different parts of the first round.
With an asterisk (*) indicating a scheduling conflict with a Celtics game, here are 25 college games to watch every single night over the next two weeks before the trade deadline on February 20th:
Tue, 4th: Kansas (#8) at Baylor, 7 PM, ESPN2
Andrew Wiggins had breakout game the last time Kansas faced Baylor, getting to the line 12 times. Baylor's long center Isaiah Austin also had a very good game against Kansas' freshman Joel Embiid.
Florida (#3) vs. Missouri, 9 PM, ESPN
6-foot-10 freshman forward Chris Walker will make his debut on Tuesday for the already stacked Gators. He's a raw big man, but has the tools to be a beast in transition. Be sure to also watch Missouri's backcourt duo of Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown, who are both scoring at will this season
*Wed, 5th: Louisville (#14) at Houston, 9 PM, ESPNU
In all likelihood, this will be a blowout, but it's one of the few game featuring potential NBA players on Wednesday night. Louisville's Montrezl Harrell and Russ Smith should be able to have their way against Houston.
Thu, 6th: UConn (#22) at Cincinnati (#7), 7 PM, ESPN
Senior guard Shabazz Napier has been a star this season, averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. But Cincinnati's forward Justin Jackson has been a force down low, with 3.3 blocks per game, as he leads their fourth ranked defense.
Arizona (#2) vs. Oregon, 9 PM, ESPN
Arizona has four players to watch in forward Aaron Gordon, guard Nick Johnson, forward, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and center Kaleb Tarczewski. Oregon has struggled as of late, but has competed in mostly every game.
*Fri, 7th: Creighton (#12) vs. DePaul, 9 PM, Fox Sports 1
DePaul might be a cupcake team, but it's always fun to see Creighton's Doug McDermott do his thing.
Sat, 8th: Michigan (#10) vs. Iowa (#17), 2 PM, ESPN
There are no first round prospects on Iowa, but they are one of the strongest teams in the nation. Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III will most certainly be tested.
Duke (#11) at Boston College, 6 PM, ESPN
If you live in the area and can afford tickets, do it! Duke's Jabari Parker is well worth the price of admission.
Sun, 9th: Michigan St. (#9) at Wisconsin, 1 PM, CBS
Wisconsin's Sam Dekker has struggled as of late, but should still be monitored, especially against the likes of the Spartans. Keep a close on Gary Harris and Adreian Payne, as they look to continue their stellar seasons.
*Mon, 10th: Kansas (#8) at Kansas St., 9 PM, ESPN
Whenever Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins are on national television, you should try to watch, or at least set your DVR to record the game.
Tue, 11th: Oklahoma St. (#19) at Texas (#15), 7 PM, ESPN2
Marcus Smart dominated Texas earlier this season, getting to the line 20 times while totaling 24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 steals, and 5 assists. But his production has since fallen, and he'll need to get back on track against this top 25 opponent.
*Wed, 12th: Syracuse (#1) at Pittsburgh (#25), 7 PM, ESPN
At 18-4, Pittsburgh has surprised many people this season. Meanwhile, Syracuse will likely be 23-0 entering this game. Look for Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant to have big games.
Duke (#11) at North Carolina, 9 PM, ESPN
North Carolina's James McAdoo has fallen off everybody's draft radar, but he's still a quality college player and could present an interesting matchup against Parker and Hood on Duke.
Thu, 13th: UCLA at Colorado, 9 PM, ESPN2
Guards Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine are two intriguing names on the UCLA Bruins and deserve your attention, even just for one night.
Fri, 14th: Arizona (#2) at Arizona St., 9 PM, ESPN
If you're alone on Valentine's Day, spend it on your couch watching Aaron Gordon and the Wildcats face off against the Sun Devils. Arizona State's point guard, Jahil Carson, will have his greatest test of the season against the top-ranked Wildcats.
Sat, Wed, 15th: Oklahoma St. (#19) vs. Oklahoma (#21), 2 PM, ESPN
If Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart needs to step up in any game, it's this one.
Syracuse (#1) vs. N.C. State, 3 PM, ESPN3
You'll have to watch this game online, but it's worth it. The explosive T.J. Warren has led the Wolfpack with 22.4 points per game this season, and will need to have a huge game against Syracuse's suffocating zone defense.
Indiana at Purdue, 4 PM, ESPN
Purdue is not very good, so this is the type of game when Indiana's freshman Noah Vonleh needs to prove that he can score against inferior opponents.
Florida (#3) at Kentucky (#18), 9 PM, ESPN
This game is a must watch. Just do it. There could be four or five first round draft picks in this game alone: Kentucky's Julius Randle, James Young, and Willie Cauley-Stein, and Florida's Chris Walker. This will actually be a crucial game for Randle, as he must prove he can play well against elite teams.
Sun, 16th: Michigan (#10) vs. Wisconsin, 1 PM, CBS
Two three-point shooters will face off: Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker.
Creighton (#12) vs. Villanova (#6), 5 PM, Fox Sports 1
Villanova has one of the best defenses in all of college basketball, but got shred for 96 points against Creighton in their last meeting. Some draft pundits say that Doug McDermott won't make it in the NBA because of his lack of athleticism, but he'll get the chance to answer his doubters again on the 16th.
Mon, 17th: Oklahoma St. (#19) at Baylor, 9 PM, ESPN
Marcus Smart and Isaiah Austin are two players to watch here. Austin scored only 8 points on 2-of-6 shooting in his last meeting against the Cowboys; if he wants to be taken seriously as an NBA prospect, he need to be better than that.
Tue, 18th: N.C. State at Clemson, 7 PM, ESPNU
T.J. Warren isn't the only prolific scorer in this game, as he will go against Clemson's K.J. McDaniels. Both aren't likely to crack the lottery, but could be selected towards the end of the first round.
Indiana vs. Iowa (#17), 9 PM, ESPN2
Once again, Hoosiers' power forward Noah Vonleh will be tested against a stout Iowa team. Watch to see if he made progress by the middle of the month.
*Wed, 19th: Washington at Oregon, 9 PM, ESPN2
Washington's senior guard C.J. Wilcox has come out of nowhere this season, averaging 19.8 points per game on a highly efficient 58.3 eFG percentage.
I hope this guide is helpful and enhances your excitement for the NCAA basketball season! Be on the look out for the next edition in late February.
A College Basketball Guide for Boston Celtics Fans: