GAME OF THE WEEK...
(7) Kansas at (11) Kentucky - Sunday
Two of the most storied programs in college basketball history get together in Lexington on Sunday afternoon in a nationally televised contest. Kansas is unbeaten on the season thus far and is coming off a thrilling, two-point, overtime victory over Georgia Tech last weekend. Kentucky has lost just once, that early last month at North Carolina. The Cats' most impressive victory to date came on the road at in-state rival Louisville in mid-December.
Tubby Smith's club is perhaps the most inexperienced he has had at UK. The Cats are led in scoring by junior Kelenna Azubuike, who tosses in over 14 points a contest. Seniors Patrick Sparks and Chuck Hayes score nearly a dozen a game, while true freshman Randolph Morris adds 10 more. Four of the team's top eight scorers are true freshmen, and the first-year players account for nearly 70 minutes played per contest. UK has played only one game all season decided by single-digits, that the two-point come-from-behind victory at UL. In fact, eight of the Wildcats' ten games this season have been decided by fifteen points or more.
KU was some experts' preseason choice as the nation's number one team. The Jayhawks, however, are expected to be without all-American candidate Wayne Simien again this week. The senior is expected to miss at least two more weeks with an injured thumb. Another all-American candidate, senior guard Keith Langford, has led the team in Simien's absence. The Fort Worth native scores nearly 16 points each night out, while sophomore guard J.R. Giddens is the only other Jayhawk averaging double-figures. Coach Bill Self has also gotten significant minutes out of a couple of true freshmen this season. Guard Russell Robinson averages more than seven points a contest, while forward Alex Galindo chips in more than a half-dozen himself. Unlike UK, the Jayhawks have played several close games this season. Five of the teams' nine games have been decided by 11 points or less.
Though Tubby Smith's club is inexperienced and not as hyped as in years past, the Cats showed they are capable of hanging with the big dogs a few weeks ago at Louisville. With Kansas missing their biggest dog and the showdown set to take place in Rupp Arena on the UK campus, look for the Wildcats to take care of business and give the Jayhawks their first loss of the 2004 - 2005 season.
The Editor Says: Kentucky
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
Boston College at Connecticut - Wednesday
BC is one of only eight D-I teams left unbeaten, three of which are in the Big East. UConn is not one of those teams without a loss, but the Huskies will be the best team the Eagles have seen thus far. Jim Calhoun's club grabs their first Big East win of the new year.
The Editor Says: Connecticut
Maryland at (3) North Carolina - Saturday
Both of these teams have enough inconsistent talent to make Gary and Roy Williams' hair turn more and more gray each day. UNC has not lost since their season-opener at Santa Clara a month and a half ago, and they won't add another notch in the "L" column here.
The Editor Says: North Carolina
(8) Oklahoma State at Texas Tech - Saturday
Bobby Knight's team is recovering from the loss of all-Big XII star Andre Emmett, and the road hasn't been entirely smooth so far. The Cowboys, led by seniors John Lucas and Joey Graham, are perhpas the best team in the Big XII this season and get things off to a good start.
The Editor Says: Oklahoma State
Virginia at (9) Georgia Tech - Saturday
The Cavs were blown away in the second half by Wake Forest last Sunday and now must head out on the road for a test that will be equally as difficult. The Jackets have lost two of their last four but to the likes of Gonzaga and Kansas. Home court gets the team back on track.
The Editor Says: Georgia Tech
Southern Illinois at Creighton - Sunday
These two teams, along with Wichita State and Northern Iowa, are likely the class of an overlooked Missouri Valley Conference this season. The Bluejays have dropped three of their last four and will be knocked off yet again by a SIU team led by all-American candidate Darren Brooks.
The Editor Says: Southern Illinois
BEST OF THE REST...
Iowa State at Xavier - Monday
(8) Oklahoma State at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - Monday
LSU at Utah - Monday
Georgetown at Pittsburgh - Wednesday
Princeton at (15) Duke - Wednesday
Notre Dame at Seton Hall - Wednesday
West Virginia at Villanova - Wednesday
South Carolina at (11) Kentucky - Wednesday
Auburn at (14) Mississippi State - Wednesday
Mississippi at Arkansas - Wednesday
Southern Miss at UAB - Wednesday
Wisconsin at Purdue - Wednesday
Ohio State at (1) Illinois - Wednesday
Western Kentucky at Virginia - Wednesday
Texas A&M at (7) Kansas - Wednesday
Michigan at Iowa - Wednesday
(13) Alabama at Vanderbilt - Wednesday
Miami at (9) Georgia Tech - Thursday
DePaul at Cincinnati - Thursday
Memphis at (12) Texas - Thursday
Arizona State at Stanford - Thursday
(10) Arizona at California - Thursday
(5) Washington at Southern Cal - Thursday
Gonzaga at Santa Clara - Thursday
Villanova at Notre Dame - Saturday
Arkansas at Florida - Saturday
Connecticut at Georgetown - Saturday
Iowa at Ohio State - Saturday
Iowa State at Missouri - Saturday
(14) Mississippi State at Mississippi - Saturday
Pittsburgh at Rutgers - Saturday
Xavier at Massachusetts - Saturday
(10) Arizona at Stanford - Saturday
(1) Illinois at Purdue - Saturday
Vanderbilt at Tennessee - Saturday
Colorado at Oklahoma - Saturday
(2) Wake Forest at Clemson - Saturday
LSU at (13) Alabama - Saturday
Seton Hall at (4) Syracuse - Saturday
Providence at Boston College - Saturday
Wisconsin at Indiana - Saturday
Wyoming at New Mexico - Saturday
Gonzaga at St. Mary's - Saturday
(5) Washington at UCLA - Saturday
Oregon State at Oregon - Saturday
Arizona State at California - Saturday
NC State at Miami - Sunday
The Editor's CBB Records:
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