Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Preview

The last week of the college football season (sorry, Army vs. Navy) means one thing: college basketball is about to kick into high gear. Some conferences began league play this past week, and this weekend features several marquee match-ups, highlighted by a rematch of last year’s title game and a battle between two of the most storied programs in college hoops history. So when you want to take a break from conference championship games, feel free to switch over to college basketball – there are plenty of games to keep you interested.

Top Games

No. 5 Kansas State at Washington State (Friday, 11:00 PM, FSN): Tough trip for Kansas State all the way to Pullman, where the Cougars are difficult to beat. If DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore return from injury, an upset is possible. Klay Thompson will be key for WSU. Prediction: Kansas State 72, Washington State 69

Utah State at No. 16 Georgetown (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPNU): Completely different style for Georgetown after facing Missouri earlier this week. Tai Wesley will be a key for USU; he will be a match-up problem for the Hoyas. Prediction: Georgetown 75, Utah State 65

No. 10 Kentucky at North Carolina (Saturday, 12:30 PM, CBS): Two of the all-time greatest programs, and two teams that are filled with freshmen this season. It will be interesting to see if Harrison Barnes snaps out of his slump, and if Kentucky can handle UNC’s bigs. Prediction: Kentucky 82, North Carolina 78

Butler vs. No. 1 Duke (Saturday, 3:15 PM, ESPN): This game is certainly not going to be a repeat of the national championship game, which went down to the wire. Duke is much better than last season, while Butler has struggled so far this season. Prediction: Duke 80, Butler 66

No. 20 Illinois at Gonzaga (Saturday, 5:15 PM, ESPN): An interesting battle between a couple of teams who have been softer than expected on the interior. For Gonzaga, Elias Harris has to be healthy and contribute, while Illinois has to take advantage of its edge at the point. Prediction: Illinois 76, Gonzaga 74

North Carolina State at No. 8 Syracuse (Saturday, 5:30 PM, ESPN2): North Carolina State was absolutely destroyed by Wisconsin this week, and they are missing Tracy Smith more than expected. Syracuse is different than last season, but still solid. Prediction: Syracuse 73, North Carolina State 61

Wichita State at No. 17 San Diego State (Saturday, 10:00 PM, Mountain): A very underrated game between two of the best non-BCS teams in the country. Both teams could be sleepers come March. Look for Kawhi Leonard to break out of his slump for SDSU. Prediction: San Diego State 68, Wichita State 59

Temple at Maryland (Sunday, 8:00 PM, FSN): Temple has been struggling somewhat this season, not getting the production it needs from Lavoy Allen. However, if Temple is going to win on Sunday, Allen has to toughen up against Jordan Williams, who has been supremely productive. Prediction: Temple 65, Maryland 63

Conference Clashes

Oral Roberts at IUPUI (Saturday, 7:00 PM): Will either of these teams push Oakland for the Summit League crown? Both have struggled so far. Prediction: IUPUI 75, Oral Roberts 70

Murray State at Morehead State (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV): Although both teams are not playing very well this season, this is going to the first of three games to decide who goes to the Dance. Prediction: Morehead State 63, Murray State 60

Virginia at Virginia Tech (Sunday, 6:00 PM, FSN): The first ACC game of the season. Tech has to bounce back from its loss to Purdue, while UVA beat Minnesota. Prediction: Virginia Tech 67, Virginia 57

Intrastate Battles

Rhode Island at Providence (Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV): Not surprisingly, Providence is putting up points this year – but they’re also defending better. URI has a couple losses. Prediction: Providence 84, Rhode Island 76

Boston College at Massachusetts (Saturday, 6:30 PM, Regional TV): Boston College is playing better lately, while UMass is undefeated. Prediction: Boston College 79, Massachusetts 70

Southern Mississippi at Mississippi (Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPNU): Southern Miss is looking like a team who could push Memphis in C-USA; Ole Miss can win the SEC West. Prediction: Mississippi 77, Southern Mississippi 69

New Mexico at New Mexico State (Saturday, 9:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV): This game would have been better if Drew Gordon (NM) and Wendell McKines (NMSU) were playing. Prediction: New Mexico 75, New Mexico State 70

Clemson at South Carolina (Sunday, 4:00 PM, ESPN FullCourt/Regional TV): Neither team is likely to contend for their respective league crown, but a win here could provide momentum. Prediction: Clemson 68, South Carolina 65

Other Games to Watch

Oklahoma State at La Salle (Saturday, 1:00 PM): La Salle has suffered competitive losses to Baylor and Missouri; Oklahoma State has improved its defense. Prediction: Oklahoma State 73, La Salle 70

Harvard at Michigan (Saturday, 1:00 PM, Big Ten Network): Tommy Amaker faces his former team. The Crimson already blew out Colorado – is Michigan next? Prediction: Michigan 69, Harvard 65

Belmont at Vanderbilt (Saturday, 2:00 PM, Regional TV): Belmont nearly beat Tennessee at the start of the year, while Vanderbilt owns a win over North Carolina. Prediction: Vanderbilt 87, Belmont 74

Alabama at No. 22 Purdue (Saturday, 3:30 PM, ESPN2): Purdue somehow knocked off Virginia Tech earlier this week; their defense and toughness will overwhelm Alabama. Prediction: Purdue 61, Alabama 49

West Virginia at Miami (Fl.) (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Regional TV): West Virginia has been getting great production from Casey Mitchell; Miami has been very inconsistent. Prediction: West Virginia 75, Miami (Fl.) 71

Texas Tech at No. 23 Washington (Saturday, 4:00 PM, FSN): Prepare for a ton of points put on the board in this one. Last year’s battle was a classic – this one will be a blowout. Prediction: Washington 98, Texas Tech 77

Western Kentucky at No. 14 Memphis (Saturday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV): Memphis has not been running lesser teams out of the building, and WKU has a veteran group led by a big and talented frontline. Prediction: Memphis 79, Western Kentucky 68

Richmond at Arizona State (Sunday, 2:00 PM, Regional TV): Both teams are coming off a loss, with Richmond falling to Old Dominion and Arizona State getting dropped by Baylor. Prediction: Arizona State 56, Richmond 53

Kent State at UAB (Sunday, 8:00 PM): Both teams won at least 24 games last season, although neither is nearly as good as they were a year ago. Prediction: UAB 71, Kent State 63

No. 19 Texas at USC (Sunday, 10:30 PM, FSN): This game would be a lot more competitive if Jio Fontan was eligible for USC. Without him, expect a lopsided result. Prediction: Texas 76, USC 64

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