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FEAST WEEK OVER, BUT ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE NEXT
November 29, 2010

SCS.comIt was a beautiful week of basketball—but Feast Week was only the beginning. We’ve got four months left, people—starting with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge this week.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Michigan State at Duke
Wednesday 8 p.m. ESPN

It was supposed to be an early-season match-up between the nation’s top two teams—but Michigan State fell to a scorching Connecticut team in the Maui Invitational. So we’ll have to settle for a top-10 battle in East Lansing. Duke couldn’t have been more impressive in the CBE Classic last week, dismantling Kansas State in front of a partisan crowd in Kansas City. Kyrie Irving is the real deal at point guard—but he hasn’t been around the block as long as MSU’s Kalin Lucas.

Prediction: Duke 83, Michigan State 72

OTHERS GAMES OF NOTE

Ohio State at Florida State
Tuesday 6:30 p.m. ESPN

Ohio State may have obliterated Florida—which, incidentally, won at FSU last night—but the Gators don’t have Chris Singleton on their roster. The showdown between freshman center Jared Sullinger and the nation’s top defensive player is worth the hype.

Prediction: Ohio State 73, Florida State 71

North Carolina at Illinois
Tuesday 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Tuesday night’s contest with the Illini marks the beginning of a critical three-week stretch for North Carolina, which also hosts Kentucky and Texas in December. The Tar Heels blew an opportunity at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, but they’ll get a chance to redeem themselves.

Prediction: Illinois 78, North Carolina 68

Georgetown at Missouri (in Kansas City)
Tuesday 8:00 p.m. ESPNU

In the midst of the ACC/Big Ten challenge is this gem in Kansas City between two top-20 squads. Missouri hasn’t looked all that crisp thus far, but it’s still undefeated and will now face its first test of the season. Georgetown’s speedy guards match-up well with Mike Anderson’s defensive style, but it won’t be easy for the Hoyas to get out of KC with a victory.

Prediction: Missouri 83, Georgetown 77

Richmond at Old Dominion
Wednesday 6 p.m.

Richmond has grabbed every headline for its win over Purdue in Chicago, but don’t overlook Old Dominion’s start to the 2010-11 campaign. Blaine Taylor’s Monarchs beat Clemson and Xavier to take the Paradise Jam title, and in the season opener it nearly knocked off Georgetown at home.

Prediction: Old Dominion 66, Richmond 62

Butler at Loyola Chicago
Wednesday 7 p.m.

Fast fact: the Horizon League streams every league game on its official website. That means at 7 p.m., I order you to turn on your computer and watch Butler play at Loyola Chicago in what may become the most important Horizon game of the season. Loyola isn’t the team most people expected to push Butler in the Horizon—Detroit, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Cleveland State were the candidates. But Loyola’s off to an undefeated start and now hosts a reeling Butler squad that just suffered a disastrous overtime loss at home to Evansville this weekend.

Prediction: Butler 67, Loyola Chicago 62

St. Mary’s at San Diego State
Wednesday 10:30 p.m.

It’ll be small vs. big in San Diego late Wednesday night, as St. Mary’s guard-oriented attack will look to tame the big, bad Aztecs and their loaded frontcourt. Randy Bennett may not have the size to match-up with Kahwi Leonard, Billy White and Malcolm Thomas, but his guards share the ball—and shoot the ball—as well as any team in the country.

Prediction: San Diego State 72, St. Mary’s 63

Murray State at Morehead State
Saturday 7 p.m.

Much like the Butler/Loyola game, here’s a sneaky, early league game that may eventually decide the conference. In this case, though, these are the two teams we’ve expected all along to compete for the OVC. Kenneth Faried of Morehead State is becoming a household name thanks to his performance against big-time squads like Florida and Ohio State, and he’ll need to carry his team on his shoulders against the experienced Racers. Morehead State is the only team that beat Murray State in league play last year—so it’s fitting they’ll kick things off in December.

Prediction: Murray State 62, Morehead State 61

Temple at Maryland
Sunday 7 p.m.

Temple’s Thanksgiving didn’t go as planned. That’s because the Owls had a rough showing at the Old Spice Classic and left with just a victory over Georgia. Juan Fernandez, moving to his more natural point guard position this year, didn’t find his groove all weekend. Temple lost ugly to Cal in the opener, and yesterday it couldn’t capitalize on an opportunity against Texas A&M. Fernandez missed a blockout in the final minute that led to B.J. Holmes’ go-ahead layup, and he missed a potential game-tying with only seconds left on the clock. Fernandez will get his act together, but it’ll need to be quick.

Prediction: Temple 68, Maryland 62

Last week’s prediction record: N/A
Overall prediction record: 22-5

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