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FINALS RESULT IN A SLOW WEEK OF HOOPS
December 13, 2010

SCS.comGAME OF THE WEEK

Kansas State at Florida
Saturday 2:30 p.m.

It’s December. I know that. But is this a must-win for Florida’s program? It’s not even just about this particular 2010-2011 team. It’s about the past three years; following up two straight NCAA titles with two NIT berths and a 10-seed in the tourney. Florida’s played poorly this year after entering with such high expectations. It must win this weekend.

Prediction: Kansas State 78, Florida 71

OTHER GAMES OF NOTE

Oakland at Tennessee
Tuesday 6 p.m.

First, Oakland lost at West Virginia by 24. Then to Purdue by 15, Illinois by 11 and Michigan State by 1. Seeing a trend? I am. Could this be the day Keith Benson and Oakland finally pull the upset?

Prediction: Tennessee 78, Oakland 71

UC-Santa Barbara at UNLV
Wednesday 9 p.m.

The Big West favorites have lost three games away from home this year, including a two-point defeat at Oregon. This will be the toughest test yet for the seasoned UCSB, a team with NCAA Tournament experience and the star-power to upset UNLV. Unfortunately, I’m not gutsy enough to predict it.

Prediction: UNLV 80, UCSB 67

USC at Kansas Saturday 11 a.m.

So you probably know that Josh Selby, one of the nation’s elite freshman point guards, will be eligible on Saturday for the first time this season. Keep an eye on his progress—but also watch out for USC’s Jio Fontan, a Fordham transfer who’s making his debut for USC in Lawrence this weekend. Both point guards will have major impacts on their squads, but Fontan’s presence may be even more important considering how young that USC backcourt is.

Prediction: Kansas 80, USC 70

UCF at MiamiSaturday 12 p.m.

Despite a setback at Rutgers that coach Frank Haith blames due to an odd scheduling occurrence, Miami looks like a possible NCAA Tournament contender. The Hurricanes suffered through a dreadful season last year after entering with high expectations, but they took Memphis to the wire and have beaten Ole Miss and West Virginia. With Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant in the backcourt—and the emergence of center Reggie Johnson—Haith’s got a team that compete in a weak ACC. His next task will be UCF, an undefeated 8-0 team with a win over Florida already.

Prediction: Miami 67, UCF 66

Cleveland State at West Virginia
Saturday 1 p.m.

Cleveland State and its 12-0 record are all the rage right now, because sportswriters love to pretend like they’ve found hidden gems. In reality, we’ve all known about Gary Waters’ program for years now—ever since he arrived. We’ve know that Cleveland State will play tough, physical and smart, and we’ve known that Norris Cole can really play. So sportswriters, whether CSU wins or loses on Saturday, please don’t pretend as if you’ve discovered the Holy Grail when you write your next article.

Prediction: West Virginia 73, Cleveland State 66

Texas at North Carolina
Saturday 4 p.m.

North Carolina desperately needed to beat Kentucky at home. For now, the fans and alumni can breathe a little easier. Now, the Tar Heels will need to build on that progress against a new-look Texas team.

Prediction: Texas 72, North Carolina 71

Last week’s prediction record: 4-4
Overall prediction record: 33-11

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