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Charlotte at Louisville
Sure, Sunday's ACC battle between in-state rivals Duke and North Carolina is huge. It's the season finale involving two of the nation's premier programs. But Thursday's showdown between Conference USA co-leaders Charlotte and Louisville will decide that league's regular season champion, and because of that, SCS.com has chosen that battle as the nation's best for the upcoming week.
Louisville is ranked not far from where they started the season, and as expected, Rick Pitino's squad is one of the tops in CUSA. Junior forward Francisco Garcia, an All-American candidate, is leading the way for UL at nearly 16 points a contest. Four other Cardinals, Larry O'Bannon, Taquan Dean, Ellis Myles, and Juan Diego Palacios, all score between ten and fourteen each night out. Pitino can also go into his bench for an additional three players who score between five and six per game. Louisville has gone 13-1 since the second week of January, the lone loss being a blowout at home to Memphis. Since that embarrassment, the Cards have gone on to win four straight, including a road win against the Tigers last weekend.
Charlotte is a squad that was projected by SCS.com to finish second in CUSA back in November. The 49ers are led in scoring by Curtis Withers, another player with All-America aspirations. The junior scores more than 17 a contest, while seniors Eddie Basden and Brendan Plavich round out the double-figure scorers for Charlotte. Like Louisville, the 49ers are also able to go into their bench for production and points. Five players score between five and nine points for Coach Bobby Lutz's squad. The 49ers have won nine of their last ten and seven in a row, including an early February victory over Cincinnati.
With both teams tied atop the CUSA standings at 12-2 in league play, this one looks to determine the league title. Though both teams still have a weekend game remaining, since this is the only meeting between the two in regular season play, the tiebreaker (and therefore the champion) will be decided Thursday evening.
Charlotte seems to have a knack for hanging around and making things close, so expect a tough battle that goes down to the wire. With so much on the line, look for Louisville to respond at home on senior night and come away with a league-clinching victory.
The Editor Says: Louisville
THE WEEK'S OTHER TOP MATCHUPS...
Pittsburgh at Boston College
The Panthers have had an up-and-down year but could pick up a big win on the road late in the season. Though Pitt is likely in the NCAA Tournament already, a win like this could help the Panther fans rest easy and improve the team's postseason seeding. However, BC has yet to lose at home this season and won't start now.
The Editor Says: Boston College
Washington at Stanford
The Huskies picked up two huge wins against Arizona State and Arizona this past week, earning a season split with the Wildcats. Stanford is squarely on the NCAA bubble, but a victory over a top ten squad could solidify a spot for the Cardinal. UW, however, will stay in the hunt for the PAC 10 title.
The Editor Says: Washington
Syracuse at Connecticut
After a big run to start the Big East schedule, the Orange have found the month of February a little tougher to handle. The Huskies have boosted their stock with recent big wins over Notre Dame and Pittsburgh and could still end up at the top of the Big East standings. A win here keeps them in the race.
The Editor Says: Connecticut
Maryland at Virginia Tech
With the Hokies and Terps both dropping weekend games, each squad sits with just seven wins heading into the final week of the regular season. VT could pick up that crucial eighth win mid-week at Clemson, but a trip to Blacksburg is the only remaining game for Maryland. With a bid possibly on the line, give it to Gary Williams.
The Editor Says: Maryland
Duke at North Carolina
If you choose to make this your personal game of the week, I surely cannot argue against it. The Devils and Heels are among the ACC's top three teams, and with a little help, Roy Williams' squad could find themselves in a position to play for at least a portion of the league title. Home court does the trick.
The Editor Says: North Carolina
BEST OF THE REST...
Valparaiso at UMKC - Monday
Oklahoma at Texas - Monday
Virginia Tech at Clemson - Tuesday
St. Joseph's at George Washington - Tuesday
Mississippi State at Arkansas - Tuesday
Georgia Tech at Wake Forest - Wednesday
Georgetown at Connecticut - Wednesday
Missouri at Iowa State - Wednesday
South Carolina at Vanderbilt - Wednesday
LSU at Mississippi - Wednesday
Texas A&M at Oklahoma State - Wednesday
Ohio State at Iowa - Wednesday
DePaul at UAB - Wednesday
NC State at Virginia - Wednesday
Miami at Duke - Thursday
Pacific at Cal State-Fullerton - Thursday
Oregon State at UCLA - Thursday
Dayton at Xavier - Saturday
Louisville at DePaul - Saturday
Clemson at Georgia Tech - Saturday
Alabama at Mississippi State - Saturday
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame - Saturday
Cincinnati at Memphis - Saturday
Arizona at Arizona State - Saturday
Oklahoma at Texas Tech - Saturday
UAB at Houston - Saturday
Vanderbilt at LSU - Saturday
Texas at Oklahoma State - Saturday
Kentucky at Florida - Sunday
Illinois at Ohio State - Sunday
Kansas at Missouri - Sunday
Wake Forest at NC State - Sunday
Rice at Lamar
BYU at Oklahoma State
Georgia at Georgia State
BYU at Oral Roberts
Arizona State vs North Carolina
Georgia vs Ohio State
Nebraska vs Rice
Southern Cal vs Texas A&M
Clemson at Auburn
Texas at Arizona
Long Beach State at Baylor
UC-Santa Barbara at Washington
North Carolina vs Ohio State
Rice vs Southern Cal
Notre Dame vs Rice
Nebraska vs Southern Cal
The Editor's CBB Records:
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