GAME OF THE WEEK...
(2) North Carolina at (11) Duke
You can bet Dick Vitale will be in the house Wednesday night when Duke plays host to North Carolina in perhaps that league's biggest game of the season to date. After all, the man isn't somewhat affectionately referred to as "Dukie V" for nothing. And while his tendency to compare everyone and everything to Coach K and his Blue Devils can be annoying, one can certainly understand the man's reasoning for being pumped up for round one of two between these in-state rivals.
UNC is currently leading the way in the ACC with an 8-1 record in conference play. The Tar Heels have won four straight and 18 of their last 19 since dropping the season-opener at Santa Clara. Both of Roy Williams' losses this season have come on the road, and the team has yet to win a really impressive game away from home this season. Sure, victories on the home floors of Tennessee, Indiana, and Virginia are nice, but those teams are all on the outside of the NCAA bubble looking in. A win at Duke keeps the Heels on top of the ACC standings and likely makes UNC the favorite to capture the conference crown heading into the final few weeks of the season.
But if North Carolina is going to take down their rivals from Durham, they will have to slow down the ACC's leading scorer. Duke junior guard J.J. Redick leads the league with nearly 23 points a contest, more than half of those from behind the arc. After starting off the season with 15 straight wins, the Devils have dropped two of their last four. In their loss to Maryland two weeks ago, Redick was held to just nine points from downtown.
It is also interesting to note that this is the first of two very tough games this week for both teams. The Blue Devils will travel to Maryland on Saturday, attempting to gain revenge on Gary Williams' club after the Terps won on Duke's home floor late in January. North Carolina steps out of conference play on Sunday and travels to Connecticut. This is the second straight year the Heels and Huskies have met. If this year's battle is like last season's, you won't want to miss the battle.
But before the teams can look towards the weekend, they'll try to pick up a huge ACC win in Durham on Wednesday. This matchup is one of the toughest I've had to pick all year. Duke may have overlooked Maryland a couple weeks ago, but we all know they won't look past UNC. Devils get the edge in a super close, down-to-the-wire showdown.
The Editor Says: Duke
The Editor Says: Duke
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
Connecticut at (5) Syracuse
The Orange came from behind in front of the largest crowd in 'Cuse history on Saturday night to knock off Notre Dame. Now if SU can take down Connecticut and the Irish can knock off Boston College on Wednesday, Coach Jim Boeheim's team would find themselves in a tie for first place in the conference.
The Editor Says: Syracuse
Oklahoma at (12) Oklahoma State
It's the second of two this season in the Bedlam series. Round one went to the Sooners in Norman a few weeks ago, but OU is coming off a disappointing home loss to Texas Tech this past weekend. It's likely they were looking ahead to this Big Monday showdown, but the victory in Stillwater goes to the home team.
The Editor Says: Oklahoma State
(4) Boston College at Notre Dame
Though some refuse to give the Eagles credit due to their schedule strength, there's something to be said for not slipping up anywhere along the way. Just winning each one you're supposed to is impressive enough. The Irish beat UConn in South Bend less than two weeks ago, and they now end BC's streak.
The Editor Says: Notre Dame
(14) Wisconsin at (1) Illinois
Many believe Illinois is now on the fast track to an unbeaten season after knocking off Michigan State in East Lansing last week. That may be true, but after dropping a disappointing decision at Minnesota last weekend, the Badgers may come in to Champaign refocused. Still won't be enough as the Illini roll on.
The Editor Says: Illinois
(2) North Carolina at Connecticut (Hartford, CT)
This is the second of a couple of extremely tough road tests for the Heels this week. The Huskies themselves will be coming off a tough mid-week game at Syracuse. A split for either team this week would be nothing to be ashamed of, but there's a good chance the loser here will finish 0-2 for the week.
The Editor Says: North Carolina
BEST OF THE REST...
St. Joseph's at Villanova - Monday
(13) Utah at UNLV - Monday
Georgia Tech at Clemson - Tuesday
(1) Illinois at Michigan - Tuesday
Virginia Tech at Maryland - Tuesday
Florida at (6) Kentucky - Tuesday
Texas at Colorado - Tuesday
Memphis at (9) Louisville - Wednesday
Dayton at Temple - Wednesday
Ohio State at Michigan State - Wednesday
Iowa at (14) Wisconsin - Wednesday
(15) Alabama at Tennessee - Wednesday
Marquette at TCU - Wednesday
Northern Iowa at Creighton - Wednesday
(3) Kansas at Kansas State - Wednesday
NC State at (7) Wake Forest - Thursday
Wichita State at Illinois State - Thursday
Xavier at Cincinnati - Thursday
(8) Washington at Oregon - Thursday
Arizona State at UCLA - Thursday
Gonzaga at Pepperdine - Thursday
St. Mary's at Santa Clara - Friday
Virginia Tech at Virginia - Saturday
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh - Saturday
Miami at Clemson - Saturday
Temple at St. Joseph's - Saturday
(5) Syracuse at Villanova - Saturday
Oklahoma at Missouri - Saturday
Florida State at (7) Wake Forest - Saturday
Kansas State at Texas - Saturday
Minnesota at Indiana - Saturday
LSU at Arkansas - Saturday
Cincinnati at DePaul - Saturday
Colorado at (3) Kansas - Saturday
California at Stanford - Saturday
West Virginia at Georgetown - Saturday
Vermont at Boston University - Saturday
Texas Tech at Iowa State - Saturday
Michigan State at Michigan - Saturday
Florida at Tennessee - Saturday
Northern Iowa at Illinois State - Saturday
Creighton at Southern Illinois - Saturday
(12) Oklahoma State at Texas A&M - Saturday
Mississippi at (15) Alabama - Saturday
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State - Saturday
(10) Arizona at UCLA - Saturday
UAB at TCU - Saturday
(11) Duke at Maryland - Saturday
Nevada at UTEP - Saturday
Pacific at Utah State - Saturday
(8) Washington at Oregon State - Sunday
NC State at Georgia Tech - Sunday
The Editor's CBB Records:
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