GAME OF THE WEEK...
(1) Illinois at (12) Wisconsin
It is a matchup that Big Ten fans have been looking forward to for several weeks. Illinois, ranked number one in the SCS.com Fab 15, travels to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. UW has won their last 38 games in a row at home, the longest such streak in Division I hoops.
But if that streak is to creep within one of forty, the Badgers will have to slow the machine that is Illinois basketball. UI is one of the most experienced and talented teams in the entire country. The Illini's top six scorers are all juniors or seniors. Guard Luther Head leads the way with nearly 17 points a contest, while point guard Dee Brown contributes 13 a night. Deron Williams and Roger Powell, Jr. each contribute twelve-plus, while James Augustine accounts for nearly 10 points a game. Coach Bill Self's team has not lost this season, but three of their last four games have been among their toughest all year. They won at Purdue by just nine, at Northwestern by just a dozen, and were taken to overtime by Iowa at home last week before winning that game by five.
You can't contiunue a winning streak like the Badgers have without consistency and experience, and UW has both. Of coach Bo Ryan's top five scorers, four are seniors and one is a junior. Forwards Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson lead the way with more than fourteen each, but the difference is what the team gets out of the next five players. Four more Badgers score between 7 and 9 each night out, while a fifth member tosses in nearly 5 each night. Illinois' defense has been tremendous at times this season, so that scoring depth will have to be put to use if Wisconsin is to come away with a victory.
Since winning back-to-back blowouts over Gonzaga and Wake Forest nearly two months ago, Illinois has been ranked atop not only this site's poll but also basically every national poll. The Illini has played tough neutral site games against Arkansas and Missouri, but this will undoubtedly be their toughest true road game of the season. A win here solidifies their spot as the nation's best team, but can they end the streak? That's the question that will be taken care of Tuesday night, and the answer will be a yes from Bill Self and company. It will be a hard-fought battle and close until the end, but Illinois comes away with a huge victory in Madison.
The Editor Says: Illinois
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
(10) Oklahoma State at (15) Oklahoma
They call it "Bedlam" and that's exactly what it is. These are two of the biggest rivals in the entire country, and the action on the hardwood is always hot and heavy. Though the Cowboys were among the top-ranked teams in the preseason, it is OU that is on a roll now, and the Sooners continue the streak at home.
The Editor Says: Oklahoma
(3) Wake Forest at (13) Georgia Tech
Both of these squads lost heart-breakers in conference play last week, the Deacons in overtime at Florida State and the Jackets at home to Virginia Tech. In fact, GT has lost three straight. Coach Paul Hewitt's team is in desperate need of a win to get things back on track, but that won't happen against Wake Forest.
The Editor Says: Wake Forest
(7) Washington at (9) Arizona
This is the biggest matchup in the PAC 10 to date, a showdown between the two preseason favorites in that league. Both teams have lost just once in conference play thus far, and both are on four-game winning streaks since losing road games in the state of California. Round one of two goes to the home team.
The Editor Says: Arizona
(2) Syracuse at Pittsburgh
The Panthers are coming off a huge win on the road at Connecticut and seem to have gotten their feet back under them after a rough start to the month of January. Syracuse has lost just once this season, that nearly two months ago to Oklahoma State. This will be SU's fourth trip out of New York this year, but they are again successful.
The Editor Says: Syracuse
Connecticut at Notre Dame
Both the Huskies and the Irish dropped disappointing Big East games in the second half last weekend, and each squad has lost two of its last four games. Syracuse and Boston College have been the class of the conference so far, but an Irish win would keep the team right in the thick of things heading into the month of February.
The Editor Says: Notre Dame
BEST OF THE REST...
(2) Syracuse at Rutgers - Monday
Wichita State at Northern Iowa - Monday
Air Force at Utah - Monday
Connecticut at West Virginia - Tuesday
Xavier at George Washington - Tuesday
(11) Kentucky at Tennessee - Tuesday
(5) Kansas at Baylor - Tuesday
Texas Tech at Texas - Tuesday
Marquette at (14) Louisville - Wednesday
Florida State at NC State - Wednesday
(8) Boston College at Providence - Wednesday
Iowa State at Kansas State - Wednesday
Clemson at Miami - Wednesday
Alabama at Auburn - Wednesday
Notre Dame at Villanova - Wednesday
TCU at Charlotte - Wednesday
Iowa at Northwestern - Wednesday
Creighton at Bradley - Wednesday
Vanderbilt at South Carolina - Wednesday
Texas A&M at Nebraska - Wednesday
Indiana at Minnesota - Wednesday
Maryland at (6) Duke - Wednesday
Missouri at Colorado - Wednesday
Michigan at Michigan State - Thursday
Cincinnati at South Florida - Thursday
Virginia at Virginia Tech - Thursday
DePaul at Memphis - Thursday
Oregon State at Stanford - Thursday
(4) North Carolina at Virginia - Saturday
Villanova at Rutgers - Saturday
South Carolina at Florida - Saturday
NC State at Clemson - Saturday
Minnesota at (1) Illinois - Saturday
Mississippi State at LSU - Saturday
(11) Kentucky at Arkansas - Saturday
UCLA at Southern Cal - Saturday
Miami at (3) Wake Forest - Saturday
(15) Oklahoma at Iowa State - Saturday
Mississippi at Vanderbilt - Saturday
Indiana at Iowa - Saturday
Tennessee at Auburn - Saturday
Houston at Cincinnati - Saturday
West Virginia at Providence - Saturday
Georgetown at (8) Boston College - Saturday
Memphis at TCU - Saturday
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Wisconsin-Green Bay - Saturday
Oregon at Stanford - Saturday
Kansas State at Missouri - Saturday
Texas at (5) Kansas - Saturday
Portland at Gonzaga - Saturday
Dayton at George Washington - Sunday
(7) Washington at Arizona State - Sunday
(10) Oklahoma State at Colorado - Sunday
(13) Georgia Tech at Maryland - Sunday
The Editor's CBB Records:
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