Friday, January 27, 2006

Weekend Preview

After last weekend's endless string of exciting games and upsets, the past week did not disappoint. Many homecourts were rushed as several seemingly lower-tier teams took down highly-ranked clubs as the road was not kind to the elite. Another weekend is upon us with several key conference games as the stretch run starts to near and teams need to begin building an impressive resume. There might not be any games that immediately catch your eye, but the amount of quality games is astounding.

Top Games

Cincinnati at Georgetown (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPN2)- A Big East battle between two likely NCAA Tournament teams. However, Cincinnati has lost 4 of 5 since Armein Kirkland's season-ending injury. James White is an athletic all-around player on the wing, while Eric Hicks is one of the best low-post players, offensively and defensively, in the country. Devan Downey is an excellent freshman point guard. Georgetown is coming off of the huge win over Duke last weekend and are looking to build off of it. The Hoyas have a very good forward tandem in Brandon Bowman and Jeff Green, while Roy Hibbert is an underrated center. Ashanti Cook is an athletic scorer in the backcourt. Prediction: Georgetown 69, Cincinnati 62

Marquette at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Another Big East tilt between two potential NCAA Tournament clubs. Marquette has had something of a surprise season and are in the thick of the conference race. Steve Novak is the best three-point shooter in the country, while freshman point guard Dominic James is fearless and quick--a deadly combination. Jerel McNeal is also a solid player in the backcourt. Pittsburgh lost their bid for an undefeated season a week ago to St. John's, but can still win the conference. Carl Krauser is one of the best guards in the country, while Ronald Ramon is solid on the perimeter. Aaron Gray might be the best big man in the Big East, and Sam Young is an impressive freshman. Prediction: Pittsburgh 68, Marquette 59

Arizona at North Carolina (Saturday, 1:00 PM, CBS)- This would be a phenomenal game had it been played last year, but this season it's a battle between two teams that could easily miss the Big Dance. Arizona is on a 3-game winning streak since Chris Rodgers was kicked off the team. Hassan Adams is one of the best all-around players in the country, while Mustafa Shakur is a decent point guard. Marcus Williams is developing into a future start in the Pac-10. North Carolina has lost 3 of their last 4 and need a win to get back on the right track. Tyler Hansbrough is building a very impressive Freshman of the Year resume, while David Noel is a versatile forward. Reyshawn Terry is a smooth slasher. Prediction: North Carolina 70, Arizona 66

Vanderbilt at Florida (Saturday, 1:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- An SEC East battle between two teams capable of winning the division. Vanderbilt has flown under the radar all season but are in position to grab an at-large bid if they can get a few big wins. Shan Foster is one of the best wings in the SEC, while Derrick Byars is another athletic scorer on the perimeter. DeMarre Carroll and Julian Terrell form a good forward tandem. The balanced Gators have overachieved all season, led by the frontcourt trio of Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah. Brewer is an all-around stud, while Horford and Noah form a very talented post duo. Taurean Green is one of the best point guards in the SEC and Lee Humphrey is an outstanding shooter. Prediction: Florida 78, Vanderbilt 73

Old Dominion at George Mason (Saturday, 2:00 PM, Regional TV)- You don't care about this game? Well, the Colonial Athletic Association is the best mid-major conference this season (I'm not counting the Missouri Valley), and these two teams are fighting for first place. Old Dominion has not had the type of season many expected them to have, but they are still the team to beat in the Colonial. Isaiah Hunter is a very good backcourt scorer and Drew Williamson is a solid distributor. Arnaud Dahi and Alex Loughton are the best forward duo in the conference. George Mason is a very balanced group, with five double-figure scorers. Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn form a very good backcourt combo, while J'ai Lewis is one of the best frontcourt players in the conference. Folarin Campbell and Will Thomas are two more solid players in the lineup. Prediction: George Mason 74, Old Dominion 70

Wisconsin at Michigan (Saturday, 2:30 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Michigan 66, Wisconsin 64

Wichita State at Creighton (Saturday, 7:00 PM, Regional TV)- Prediction: Wichita State 76, Creighton 73

Ohio State at Iowa (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Iowa 68, Ohio State 64

Kansas State at Colorado (Saturday, 9:00 PM, Regional TV)- Prediction: Colorado 72, Kansas State 66

Texas at Oklahoma (Saturday, 9:00 PM, ESPN2)- Prediction: Texas 79, Oklahoma 70

Other Games to Watch

Kansas at Iowa State (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPN)- Prediction: Iowa State 72, Kansas 66

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (Saturday, 1:30 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Oklahoma State 69, Texas Tech 66

Louisville at Rutgers (Saturday, 2:00 PM, ESPN)- Prediction: Rutgers 77, Louisville 70

LSU at Mississippi (Saturday, 3:00 PM)- Prediction: LSU 76, Mississippi 70

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest (Saturday, 3:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Wake Forest 79, Virginia Tech 66

San Diego State at Wyoming (Saturday, 4:00 PM)- Prediction: Wyoming 71, San Diego State 68

Missouri at Nebraska (Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Missouri 69, Nebraska 66

Hofstra at Drexel (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Regional TV)- Prediction: Hofstra 75, Drexel 73

South Carolina at Tennessee (Saturday, 5:00 PM, FSN)- Prediction: Tennessee 79, South Carolina 68

Villanova at Notre Dame (Saturday, 6:00 PM, ESPN2)- Prediction: Villanova 74, Notre Dame 70

Sacramento State at Northern Arizona (Saturday, 6:00 PM)- Prediction: Northern Arizona 85, Sacramento State 80

Virginia at Duke (Saturday, 7:00 PM, ESPN)- Prediction: Duke 82, Virginia 70

Northeastern at UNC-Wilmington (Saturday, 7:00 PM)- Prediction: UNC-Wilmington 76, Northeastern 68

Fairleigh Dickinson at Robert Morris (Saturday, 7:30 PM)- Prediction: Fairleigh Dickinson 73, Robert Morris 70

Holy Cross at Lehigh (Saturday, 7:30 PM)- Prediction: Holy Cross 70, Lehigh 68

South Alabama at North Texas (Saturday, 8:00 PM)- Prediction: North Texas 71, South Alabama 67

Texas-Arlington at Sam Houston State (Saturday, 8:00 PM)- Prediction: Sam Houston State 77, Texas-Arlington 72

UC-Irvine at Long Beach State (Saturday, 8:00 PM)- Prediction: UC-Irvine 74, Long Beach State 68

Hawaii at Nevada (Saturday, 10:00 PM)- Prediction: Nevada 75, Hawaii 63

Miami (Ohio) at Ohio (Sunday, 12:00 PM)- Prediction: Ohio 69, Miami (Ohio) 64

Arkansas at Kentucky (Sunday, 1:00 PM, CBS)- Prediction: Kentucky 67, Arkansas 62

North Carolina State at Clemson (Sunday, 1:30 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: North Carolina State 63, Clemson 59

Florida Atlantic at Lipscomb (Sunday, 2:00 PM)- Prediction: Lipscomb 73, Florida Atlantic 67

Buffalo at Kent State (Sunday, 2:00 PM)- Prediction: Kent State 78, Buffalo 64

West Virginia at St. John’s (Sunday, 2:30 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: West Virginia 73, St. John’s 61

Miami (Fl.) at Florida State (Sunday, 4:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Florida State 76, Miami (Fl.) 71

Seton Hall at Syracuse (Sunday, 4:30 PM, ESPN FullCourt)- Prediction: Syracuse 69, Seton Hall 57

Washington at Stanford (Sunday, 8:00 PM, FSN)- Prediction: Washington 79, Stanford 75

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