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20 Best Events in Sports This Week

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With the NFL season now complete, sports fans now find themselves looking to other sports to keep themselves entertained throughout the week. Fortunately, the NHL, NBA, and college basketball seasons are all in full swing. Not only that, but the 2018 Winter Olympic Games officially open on Friday.

But with so many different events available on television, sports fans may have a hard time knowing which games are worth their time.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed next week’s schedules of upcoming major games in the Olympics, professional hockey, professional basketball, and college basketball in order to determine the top 20 events in sports for Feb. 5-11.

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This week features several historic NHL rivalries that date back decades, like the New York Rangers versus the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. In the NBA, it will be the Golden State Warriors versus the Oklahoma City Thunder — a relatively recent rivalry between that started after Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors in free agency.

In order to determine the best games of the week, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed scheduled games and events among the most-watched sports leagues, including the Olympics, NCAA men’s basketball, the NBA, and the NHL for the week of February 5-11. Games were selected based on a number of factors, including the quality of the teams playing, the presence of well-known and high-quality players in the game, how likely an event is to draw many viewers, and the history of the teams. Team histories may be based on long-standing rivalries, or more recent animosity. The week is from Monday to Sunday.

1. Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers
> Sport: NCAA basketball
> Date: Monday, Feb. 5
> Time (ET): 9:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

There are always new faces in college basketball that capture the nation’s attention, but few have ever come on as strong as Oklahoma’s Trae Young. The freshman guard has scored a NCAA-leading 29.8 points per game, and also is first in the league in assists. Young will have his work cut out for him as he goes up against the defense of West Virginia. This Big 12 showdown could reveal whether Young is gifted enough to take the Sooners deep into March Madness.

2. Las Vegas Golden Knights at Pittsburgh Penguins
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6
> Time (ET): 7:00 p.m.

When the season started, a game between the newly-formed Las Vegas Golden Knights and the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins would have seemed like a mismatch. Now, Las Vegas is first in the Western Conference and has already set the record for most wins by an NHL expansion team in its first season — with two months still left to play. The Penguins struggled at times in the early season, but now they’re one of the hottest teams in hockey again, going 10-4 in January. This is shaping up as a showdown between two of the best teams in hockey.

3. Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6
> Time (ET): 7:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: Local TV

LeBron James has been to seven straight NBA Finals, but if the streak stops there it will likely be due to one of these two teams. The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics have been the class of the Eastern Conference this season. No team in the East scores more points than Toronto, which sits two games behind Boston in the fight for the top seed in the East.

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4. Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6
> Time (ET): 10:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: TNT

There have been very few NBA games that can claim to have the three most recent league MVPs on the floor at the same time. But going into the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors game, that’s hardly the biggest story. The drama created when Kevin Durant spurned the Thunder to play for the Warriors is sure to live on in NBA history. The friendship-turned-rivalry between Durant and Russell Westbrook is certainly enough to get any NBA fan to tune in.

5. Houston Rockets at Miami Heat
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Wednesday, Feb. 7
> Time (ET): 7:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: Local TV

When Chris Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets, many questioned how he and James Harden would work together. More than halfway through the season, Harden is the NBA scoring leader and the Rockets are 38-13, the second best record in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors. But the Rockets face a tough matchup with the Miami Heat and newly-announced All-Star Goran Dragic.

6. Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Wednesday, Feb. 7
> Time (ET): 7:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: TSN

After losing the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, Nashville has bounced back remarkably well and remains one of the best teams in the Western conference. The Predators have allowed the second-fewest goals in the NHL so far this season, but they face a tough challenge from the Toronto Maple Leafs, lead by 20-year-old phenom Auston Matthews.

7. Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Wednesday, Feb. 7
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: NBCSN

Few sports towns have animosity towards each other like Boston and New York. The Bruins and Rangers rivalry goes back to the time when the NHL had only six teams, so the disdain runs deep. In today’s NHL, the Bruins are one of the best teams in hockey, while the Rangers need every win they can get as they sit just a few points outside of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

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8. Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Wednesday, Feb. 7
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

Minnesota and Cleveland are two teams going in opposite directions. The Cavaliers’ season has been highlighted by struggles on the court and drama off it. Minnesota, meanwhile, is building into one of the NBA’s best teams with 2018 All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler and plenty of other promising young players.

9. Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels
> Sport: NCAA basketball
> Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

The Tobacco Road rivalry is among the most storied matchups not just in college basketball, but all of sports. The two schools are separated by just 10 miles, have 11 national championships between them, and straight up do not like each other. North Carolina is the reigning national champion, but Duke’s squad looks terrific this year and boasts a top-five national ranking.

10. Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: TNT

This Celtics and Wizards have seen a lot of each other in recent years, and the teams have plenty of bad blood between them. During their contentious playoff series last year, Kelly Oubre scrapped with then-Celtic Kelly Olynyk and was ejected from the game. Don’t expect the teams to be any friendlier when they meet up in the regular season.

11. 2018 Olympics Opening Ceremony
> Sport: n/a
> Date: Friday, Feb. 9
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: NBC

Nothing matches the spectacle of the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games as host countries plan the magnificent displays for years. One of the ceremony’s highlights is when participating athletes march into the stadium, proud to represent their country in the biggest sporting event in the world. South Korea’s games should be no different. With dozens of Russian athletes banned from the games and North and South Korea teaming up, there will be no shortage of storylines for the 2018 games.

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12. St. Louis Blues at Winnipeg Jets
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Friday, Feb. 9
> Time (ET): 8:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: Local TV

The Blues and the Jets have been impressive this season. Winnipeg and St. Louis currently sit in first and third in the Western Conference Central Division. This game between them could go a long way in deciding who gets the crucial home ice advantage when playoff time rolls around.

13. Los Angeles Clippers at Detroit Pistons
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Friday, Feb. 9
> Time (ET): 7:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

After being the Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise player for more than seven seasons, Blake Griffin is playing against his former team. In a surprise move, the Clippers traded Griffin to Detroit. The Clippers are clearly resetting the team and looking towards the future, while Detroit is hoping to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Now Griffin has a chance to show Los Angeles what it is missing.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Friday, Feb. 9
> Time (ET): 9:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

Coach Tom Thibodeau and All-Star Jimmy Butler have led the young Minnesota Timberwolves to the fourth best record in the Western Conference. The chemistry between the two dates back to their five years together with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are looking to rebuild their franchise, starting with Lauri Markkanen, who the team got in the trade for Butler.

15. Korea at Switzerland
> Sport: Olympic women’s hockey
> Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
> Time (ET): 7:10 a.m.
> Where to watch: USA

Olympic women’s hockey may not be one of the most popular sports in the world, particularly not a preliminary match. But this game has one of the most unique geopolitical story lines as North Korea and South Korea are combining forces to create one united Korean women’s hockey team. As tensions have escalated between the two countries recently over North Korea’s nuclear missile program, this women’s hockey team could be a rare moment of unity for the two countries that were split apart decades ago.

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16. Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan State Spartans
> Sport: NCAA basketball
> Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
> Time (ET): 4:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN

Purdue and Michigan State may not be a traditional Big 10 rivalry, but when both teams are in the top five in the country it is sure to be a huge game. The #5 Spartans and the #3 Boilermakers have some of the best scoring offenses in the NCAA. Whichever team can outscore the other will set itself up nicely for a top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

17. Gonzaga Bulldogs at Saint Mary’s Gaels
> Sport: NCAA basketball
> Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
> Time (ET): 10:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: ESPN2

It’s certainly not Duke vs. North Carolina or Michigan vs. Ohio State, but Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s has turned into one of the best rivalries in college basketball. Gonzaga made it to the final game last season, and both teams are in the top 15, according to AP rankings.

18. Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
> Time (ET): 7:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: Local TV

Hockey is supposed to be a cold weather sport, but Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are two of the hottest teams in the NHL. Tampa leads the NHL in wins, largely thanks to its offense. No team in hockey scored more goals than the Lightning. But the Kings present an interesting matchup, as they allowed the fewest goals of any other Western Conference team.

19. San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors
> Sport: NBA basketball
> Date: Saturday, Feb. 10
> Time (ET): 8:30 p.m.
> Where to watch: ABC

Over the past few years, few teams have been better than the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs. The two teams met in last year’s Western Conference Finals, which the Warriors won on the way to their second championship in the last three years. This matchup should be another interesting one, as the Spurs hold opponents to an NBA-low 98.0 points per game, and the Warriors score a league-high 115.6 points per game.

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20. Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues
> Sport: NHL hockey
> Date: Sunday, Feb. 11
> Time (ET): 3:00 p.m.
> Where to watch: NBC

The league decided earlier this year it will not allow players to participate in the 2018 Olympics. While that might be unfortunate for the countries, it means that the NHL matchups will continue without a break. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the rest of the Penguins are looking for their third straight Stanley Cup, while the Blues are still searching for their first cup in franchise history, despite making the playoffs for the last six seasons in a row.

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