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January 25, 2008


Gonzaga at Memphis
Saturday 11:00 AM CST ESPN

SCS.comAs the top ranked team in the nation, Memphis has survived the toughest part of its season: the non-conference. The C-USA offers little resistance to the Tigers, which is why coach John Calipari went out and scheduled games like this against Gonzaga and Tennessee in February. Now, the Tigers can face some real competition before the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga is in the same situation as Memphis, but Mark Few doesnít have quite the type of team that Calipari does. The Bulldogs still only have St. Maryís to face in the West Coast Conference and need a test like this to prepare for March.

Itís starting to look like Memphis has a real shot at making it through the regular season undefeated. And with a lot of very good wins to point to, like victories over Georgetown, Arizona, USC, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Cincinnati, the Tigers definitely cannot be accused of scheduling weak. Gonzaga missed a lot of chances to cash in during the non-conference season, making this game even more important. Although the Bulldogs can hold their own athletically, with a balanced team both inside and out, Memphis is on another level. Of course, the Tigers are usually on another level from their opponents. If Gonzaga can stick around in this game for awhile, it may have a shot.

The Bulldogs played Tennessee earlier in the year and were overwhelmed by the Volunteers. It does bode well that Gonzaga only ended up losing by 10 points, but the scary part is Tennessee is not even as good as Memphis is, and that game was played in Seattle, as opposed to on the opponentís home court. I expect a similar game, with Memphis even winning by a little more.

Prediction: Memphis 89, Gonzaga 76


Wisconsin at Purdue
Saturday 3:00 PM CST ESPN

With 10 straight victories, Wisconsin has put itself in a position to challenge Indiana and Michigan State at the top of the league. The Badgers are one of the nationís hottest teams, but Purdue is on a nice streak of its own as well. Having won 5 of 6 league games and 7 of 8 games overall since a losses to Wofford and Iowa State, the Boilermakers have transformed themselves into a different team. Once a young, inexperienced team that looked lost on the court a lot of the time, Purdue is now looking like a team that could actually make an NCAA tournament with four freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup. Matt Painter will still have to deal with growing pains, but he has to be happy with the improvement over the past month. The progression the Boilermakers have shown is the reason why Iím picking them to upset Wisconsin and send Mackey Arena into a frenzy.

Prediction: Purdue 70, Wisconsin 69

Mississippi at Mississippi State
Saturday 4:00 PM CST

Is Mississippi State for real? When a team wins eight straight games, people are going to take notice. But when those eight wins come against mostly sub-par opponents, we are going to need to see the winning continue before making a judgment. The Bulldogs enter the most critical three game stretch of their season, against Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Donít worry, Rick Stansbury, it just defines your teamís entire season. Itís not like itís anything major. Anyway, the Rebels cannot claim any eight game winning streaks right now, as they are 2-2 in the league. The surprise of the season, Mississippi also is in need of a win on the road here. But Iím going to take a chance on Mississippi Stateís hot streak and predict a victory for Stansbury and the crew.

Prediction: Mississippi State 84, Mississippi 82

Georgetown at West Virginia
Saturday 6:00 PM CST ESPN

West Virginia is a team Georgetown should beat, and maybe if basketball was played in a vacuum the Hoyas would be the pick here without question. But itís just not that easy to win on the road in the Big East. Actually, check that: itís impossible to win on the road in the Big East. Plus, Bob Huggins has a pretty good thing going in Morgantown, having won four straight to tie for 2nd in the league. Earlier in the year, West Virginia killed Marquette at home, so Georgetown needs to be wary of the upset. Iím tempted to pick the Mountaineers but I think Georgetownís tough enough and good enough to get this road win.

Prediction: Georgetown 67, West Virginia 65

Connecticut at Indiana
Saturday 12:00 PM CST CBS

The Huskies have life! At 13-5 overall and 4-3 in the Big East, UConn has a chance to make the NCAA tournament. It doesnít have any bad losses and just beat up on Marquette last week. Jim Calhoun will have his hands full on Saturday, though, with a 17-1 Indiana team. I donít want to come across as bitter, mean, or ignorant, but I think the Hoosiers are over hyped. Indiana has played one team currently ranked in the top 25. Thatís Xavier, and Indiana lost that game by 15 points. Its Big Ten schedule has been a joke so far, and its best non-conference wins are against Georgia Tech, Illinois State, and Kentucky. Not very impressive, but to be fair the Hooisers havenít really had a chance to be impressive. But even in games against inferior opponents, like against Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa, the Hoosiers have looked sluggish and sloppy. Connecticut might just be as good as Xavier and like the Musketeers, the Huskies will beat the vaunted Eric Gordon-led Hoosiers.

Prediction: Connecticut 68, Indiana 62

UNLV at San Diego State
Saturday 3:00 PM CST Versus

Time to take a rest from BCS action and turn your attention to the Mountain West Conference, where UNLV leads the conference at 4-1. The Runniní Rebelsí opponent is a team that slightly trails them in the standings, San Diego State. Both teams play about 11-12 players but neither team is very explosive offensively. Should be a methodical game, but ultra-competitive. But UNLV has been the more impressive team this season and plus, the Runniní Rebels did not lose to Northern Colorado like SDSU did.

Prediction: UNLV 67, San Diego State 65

Utah State at New Mexico State
Saturday 5:00 PM CST ESPN2

Keep your attention out West and watch another west-coast battle, this time a critical game in the Western Athletic Conference. Utah State is 12-2 in its past 14 games and New Mexico State has also recovered from a rough start, having won five of six games after starting 5-9. In November, the Aggies were a team I believed could sneak up on people. Things didnít go well at first, but they are starting to get back on track.

Prediction: New Mexico State 75, Utah State 74

Notre Dame at Villanova
Saturday 11:00 AM CST

What do you do if you are Jay Wright right now? The Wildcats were struggling, but luckily, a trip to Rutgers should do the trick and get Villanova back to winning. Right? Nope. Villanova got creamed at Rutgers and are now having serious problems in the Big East. Notre Dame has blown a few opportunities at Marquette and at Georgetown, but this game isnít even looking like another opportunity anymore with Villanovaís struggles. Mike Brey doesnít care about ďresumeĒ wins, though, he just wants to win. His team is more than capable, especially if Luke Harangody can dominate inside like I think he will.

Prediction: Notre Dame 74, Villanova 71

Oklahoma at Baylor
Saturday 3:00 PM CST

I donít know what itís like to be on a team that won a game in five overtimes, but it has to be rewarding. Losing that game could have unraveled the Bearsí season, but winning it may just push them to another level. Baylor fans are starting to take a real interest in this program, and it isnít that crazy to think the Bears may be the 2nd best team in the conference, or at least third behind Texas. Oklahoma could really use Blake Griffin in this one, not only because of the type of team Baylor is, but also because the Bears are coming off a dramatic win and may use that momentum to their advantage. Of course, it could also mean Baylor will be dead tired and come out flat. But I donít see that happening.

Prediction: Baylor 70, Oklahoma 62

Stanford at California
Saturday 6:00 PM CST

It is easy to feel sorry for Ben Braun. He has a decent team on his hands in California, with a dominating frontcourt led by DeVon Hardin and Ryan Anderson. If this team were in the Big Ten, the Bears could easily finish in the upper tier of the league. But unfortunately, the Pac-10 is simply a brutal conference. Cal has now lost four games in the conference and looks like a team that will be fighting just to finish 6th in the conference. Thatís not even the worst part of this all, because the Bears still have to play Stanford now and then go on the road and play Washington State. Stanford has been the opposite of California, now at 4-2 in the Pac-10 and playing like a top 25 team. California is better than its record, but not good enough to avoid a 2-5 start in the conference.

Prediction: Stanford 67, California 62

Vanderbilt at Florida
Sunday 12:00 PM CST

Vanderbilt seemed overrated even when it was undefeated, and thereís a reason a lot of us got that feeling. Two straight losses to Kentucky and Tennessee put the Commodores back in place, which sets up a big SEC match-up against Florida to avoid falling below .500 in the league. Iíve ripped the Gators often for their weak non-conference schedule, but they have surprised me with a nice start in conference play. This young team seems to be improving.

Prediction: Florida 82, Vanderbilt 75

Washington State at Arizona State
Saturday 6:00 PM CST

It was a bad night all around for Washington State last night, who got rolled by Arizona in Tucson. Despite some recent struggles, itís been a fine year for Arizona State, who at one point won 10 straight games and cracked the top 25. Wazzu cannot afford to drop another Pac-10 game, and although beating Arizona State in Tempe wonít be easy, it is definitely a doable task. A two game losing streak could turn into a three game losing streak for the Sun Devils, which will come as a disappointment to a team that had such a fantastic streak going.

Prediction: Washington State 59, Arizona State 56

Western Michigan at Kent State
Sunday 12:00 PM CST

More mid-major fun. Western Michigan leads the MAC West, and Kent State leads the MAC East. Now, they get to play each other for division supremacy. The Broncos are just 10-8 overall however and have some shaky losses. Kent State on the other hand is 15-4, and a big win over Akron vaulted it to the top of its division. Donít overlook the Golden Flashes, as they will take care of Western Michigan and may even show up again on your radar in March.

Prediction: Kent State 70, Western Michigan 58


Texas A&M at Oklahoma State
Saturday 1:00 PM CST ESPN

Thursday and Friday off for Texas A&M is not enough for the Aggies after the 5OT game with Baylor. Letís give them like three weeks to rest or something. Even with the fatigue, Texas A&M has to win this game and Oklahoma State isnít very strong.

Prediction: Texas A&M 78, Oklahoma State 72

Washington at Arizona
Saturday 2:00 PM CST FSN

Winning on the road in any good conference is difficult, especially in the Pac-10. Washington has not been great on the road this year and Arizonaís blowout of Wazzu last night has Wildcatsí fans excited about their team again.

Prediction: Arizona 75, Washington 65

Texas Tech at Texas
Saturday 1:00 PM CST ESPN Plus

Playing Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma State to begin the Big 12 shouldnít have been that hard for Texas, but the Longhorns lost their opener to the Tigers and barely got by in their next two games. Texas Tech has two home wins so far in the Big 12 but has lost on the road twice as well. Donít count out Bob Knight but despite the sloppy conference start, the Longhorns will win in Austin.

Prediction: Texas 80, Texas Tech 70

Creighton at Southern Illinois
Saturday 8:00 PM CST ESPN

For a consecutive week, College Gamedayís ďGame of the WeekĒ is a flop. This should have been a great match-up and seemed to be just that before the season. Problem is, Southern Illinois has tanked and although Creighton isnít bad, it is not even the top team in the conference. SIU Arena is a great atmosphere though so tune into this game if youíd like to see a great college basketball venue. By the way, I think the Blue Jays are the better team and will quiet the crowd in Carbondale.

Prediction: Creighton 64, Southern Illinois 56

Duke at Maryland
Sunday 5:30 PM CST FSN

Two straight upsets? Is it possible the Terps could follow up their win in Chapel Hill with a home defeat of Duke? I envision the Maryland of old will return and Duke will roll.

Prediction: Duke 91, Maryland 78

Georgia Tech at Virginia
Sunday 3:30 PM CST FSN

Both teams are under the .500 mark in the ACC and need to win. Only one team can get a victory though, so unfortunately one team will be in deep trouble in the conference. Seton Hall, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech won at Virginia earlier this year and I think Georgia Tech can do it as well.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 81, Virginia 77

North Carolina State at Florida State
Saturday 12:30 PM CST

The only way things could be worse for the Wolfpack right now in the ACC would be if they had not beaten Miami by two points. Too bad they have lost the other three conference games they have played and now have to go on the road against Florida State. The Seminoles have not been great lately either but this is a home game they can certainly win.

Prediction: Florida State 79, North Carolina State 70

USC at Oregon
Saturday 8:00 PM CST FSN

Every team in the Pac-10 has a loss, and itís looking like we could have some challengers to UCLA and Washington State. USC and O.J. Mayo are starting to get headlines, but itís for the wrong reason: Mayo may be in a little bit of trouble. Not what Tim Floyd needed after getting a win against UCLA last week.

Prediction: Oregon 72, USC 65

Xavier at Massachusetts
Sunday 11:00 AM CST

Massachusetts has proved it is a capable team this year with wins at Syracuse, Boston College, and Dayton. The Minutemen are actually at home on Sunday and have a chance to beat Xavier, who has not been playing well lately. I say UMass gets it done and helps their chances in the Atlantic 10.

Prediction: Massachusetts 89, Xavier 82

Cincinnati at Seton Hall
Sunday 11:00 AM CST

Seton Hall has been average so far in the Big East, but Cincinnati started off unbelievably hot, upsetting team after team. Not many teams in the conference are playing better than Mick Croninís Bearcats, which will be enough for a road victory.

Prediction: Cincinnati 69, Seton Hall 64

Clemson at Miami
Sunday 12:00 PM CST

Nobody in the ACC outside of UNC and Duke impresses me that much, and that includes Clemson and Miami. The Hurricanes impress me even less than Clemson though and actually seem like the Tigers of last year. Tigers have been shaky lately, but Miami has just been bad.

Prediction: Clemson 85, Miami 78

Providence at Syracuse
Sunday 1:00 PM CST

Middle of the pack Big East clash right here. Sorry for the lame rhyme, but this oneís important for both teams- Syracuse will take care of business at home.

Prediction: Syracuse 76, Providence 68

Danielís overall prediction record: 50-22

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