Syracuse at Boston College
The top two teams in the Big East go head-to-head this weekend in Chestnut Hill. Boston College, 9-1 in league play and undefeated until a road loss at Notre Dame last week, will host Syracuse Saturday evening. The Orange hold a 9-2 record in conference games but have lost two of their previous four games, including a home loss to Connecticut last Monday.
Though they've hit some bumps in the road in recent weeks, Syracuse has been one of the nation's top teams since the season began. After an early-December setback against Oklahoma State, Coach Jim Boeheim's team won 13 straight before a late-January defeat on the road at Pittsburgh. Senior forward Hakim Warrick, a SCS.com Preseason First Team All-American, is leading the team with over 20 points a game. Junior guard Gerry McNamara accounts for 16 a contest, ten of those from beyond the arc. Senior Josh Pace is the only other player in double figures at 11 a night.
Boston College won their first 20 games of the season before falling at Notre Dame last week. The Eagles have eight days to recover from that defeat before returning for a two-game homestand that begins this Wednesday against Rutgers and concludes with Saturday's showdown against SU. Al Skinner's squad is led by junior forward Craig Smith. The Los Angeles native scores over 18 points a contest, while sophomore forward Jared Dudley rams home over 16 of his own each night out. Two other Eagles, guards Sean Marshall and Jermaine Watson, score nearly 11 a contest.
The upper hand in the stretch run of the Big East race is on the line this weekend. A win for the Eagles would give BC a huge advantage heading into the final weeks, while an Orange road win could tighten things up and make for plenty of scoreboard-watching between now and March 5. Though the Eagles have been extremely consistent this season, they are not a team that will blow away an opponent. Thirteen of their twenty-one games this season have been decided by 10 points or less.
Expect a tight, down-to-the-wire battle, but look for Boston College to take a huge step forward in the Big East race and in front of a national audience.
The Editor Says: Boston College
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
Pittsburgh at Syracuse
Before the Orange can head over to BC, they'll have to avoid a let-down against Pittsburgh on Monday evening. Last week's "Big Monday" showdown was a huge disappointment for the 'Cuse, but with their backs to the wall and big games looming, Syracuse regroups and takes down the Panthers.
The Editor Says: Syracuse
Kansas at Texas Tech
Though the Red Raiders lost at Iowa State this past weekend, Coach Bobby Knight's team has been hot as of late, winning eight of their last ten games and seven of their last eight at home. And the home court is exactly where they will be Monday night, but look for the experienced Jayhawks to pick up an impressive road victory over Tech and expand their Big XII lead.
The Editor Says: Kansas
DePaul at Charlotte
DePaul is one of those teams that has slipped under the radar most of the season, but that changed this past Saturday. That's when the Blue Demons, who are 8-2 in CUSA play and 16-5 overall, demolished Cincinnati by 19 points. But the team has struggled on the road at times this season, so look for the 49ers to squeak one out on Wednesday.
The Editor Says: Charlotte
Wichita State at Miami (Ohio)
This is the first of a huge day on the ESPN networks, "Bracket Buster" Saturday. Wichita State, 18-4 overall, is currently tied atop the Missouri Valley standings, while Miami (Ohio), 15-6 on the season, has the best record in the MAC. The Shockers are a team to watch out for in March and show that with a road win in front of a national audience Saturday morning.
The Editor Says: Wichita State
Vermont at Nevada
Two more teams leading the way in their respective leagues get together out west. Vermont is 18-4 overall and is leading the America East conference. Catamounts' senior forward Taylor Coppenrath is the nation's third-leading scorer at over 24 a game. The Wolfpack made March noise last year, will win the WAC this year, and knock off UV on Saturday.
The Editor Says: Nevada
Utah at Air Force
Air Force currently holds the nation's second longest home winning streak at 24 straight games. The Falcons also play the nation's best defense, and that will be crucial because the Utes will bring in star center Andrew Bogut, a sophomore who rams home 20 points per contest. It won't be easy, but Utah makes a huge statement with a win and continues to control the MWC.
The Editor Says: Utah
UTEP at Pacific
Right behind Nevada in the WAC standings is UTEP. The Miners are led by senior forward Omar Thomas who scores nearly 20 points a game. Thomas will take his show on the road to Pacific this week and will have a tough battle on his hands in Stockton, CA. The Tigers are 20-2, ranked nationally, and running away with the Big West title. That run continues Saturday.
The Editor Says: Pacific
Wake Forest at Duke
Some could argue this to be the nation's best game this week, and it would be hard to convince them otherwise. But Duke has lost two games in the last two weeks and has shown several weaknesses along the way. Wake Forest, ranked #1 nationally in the preseason by SCS.com, has won five straight since the end of January, and that streak rolls along.
The Editor Says: Wake Forest
BEST OF THE REST...
Davidson at Charleston - Monday
Air Force at New Mexico - Monday
Connecticut at Providence - Tuesday
Wake Forest at Miami - Tuesday
Kansas State at Iowa State - Tuesday
Kentucky at South Carolina - Tuesday
Minnesota at Michigan State - Wednesday
Virginia at North Carolina - Wednesday
Arkansas at Alabama - Wednesday
LSU at Mississippi State - Wednesday
Vanderbilt at Auburn - Wednesday
Georgetown at Notre Dame - Wednesday
Texas A&M at Texas - Wednesday
Southern Illinois at Illinois State - Wednesday
Creighton at Wichita State - Wednesday
Maryland at NC State - Wednesday
Louisville at Marquette - Thursday
Villanova at Seton Hall - Thursday
Arkansas-Little Rock at Western Kentucky - Thursday
Oregon at Arizona - Thursday
Oregon State at Arizona State - Thursday
Duke at Virginia Tech - Thursday
UCLA at California - Thursday
Fairleigh Dickson at Monmouth - Friday
Notre Dame at Providence - Saturday
Illinois at Iowa - Saturday
Iowa State at Kansas - Saturday
Oklahoma at Kansas State - Saturday
Florida at LSU - Saturday
South Carolina at Alabama - Saturday
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State - Saturday
Maryland at Virginia - Saturday
Texas A&M at Colorado - Saturday
Western Michigan at Northern Iowa - Saturday
UAB at Cincinnati - Saturday
Ohio State at Minnesota - Saturday
San Francisco at Gonzaga - Saturday
Connecticut at Rutgers - Saturday
Southern Illinois at Kent State - Saturday
Arkansas at Vanderbilt - Saturday
Miami at Virginia Tech - Saturday
Oregon at Arizona State - Saturday
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Hawaii - Saturday
TCU at Houston - Saturday
Illinois State at Wisconsin-Green Bay - Saturday
Samford at Tennessee Tech - Saturday
Mississippi State at Kentucky - Saturday
DePaul at Marquette - Sunday
Pittsburgh at Villanova - Sunday
UCLA at Stanford - Sunday
Northeastern at Boston University - Sunday
Oregon State at Arizona - Sunday
Texas Tech at TCU
(9) Rice at Houston
(15) Arizona State at (11) Arizona
Missouri at Winthrop
Coastal Carolina vs East Carolina
(2) Miami at Florida
TCU at Florida Atlantic
Oral Roberts at Baylor
(1) Cal State-Fullerton vs Southern Cal
(15) Arizona State at (4) Tulane
(6) Stanford at (3) Texas
(13) Washington at Santa Clara
Mississippi at (9) Rice
(12) Texas A&M at South Alabama
Clemson vs Coastal Carolina
Notre Dame at Central Florida
Clemson vs East Carolina
The Editor's CBB Records:
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