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January 11, 2011

SCS.comConference play is underway, but Iím not going to lie: itís not a great week of college hoops. Thatís a shame, considering college football season ended last night. Still, after watching Upset Saturday this weekend, it appears there are some more on the way. Itís a cop-out to pick a good-but-not-great home team to beat a visiting ranked team, but Iíll do it anyway this weekóseveral times. I have no shame, and nobody to answer to if Iím wrong.


Syracuse at St. Johnís
Wednesday 6 p.m.

The Orange put their undefeated record on the line at the Garden against Steve Lavinís surprising St. Johnís team, which lost its first Big East game at Notre Dame last week. The Red Storm is in the middle of a brutal Big East schedule; if they survive the stretch without a complete collapse, theyíll be NCAA tournament-bound.

Prediction: Syracuse 73, St. Johnís 66

Georgia at Vanderbilt
Wednesday 7 p.m.

Georgia was everyoneís favorite sleeper during the pre-season, but a mediocre performance at the Old Spice Classic and a lack of marquee wins has kept them under the radar. Until Saturday, that is. UGA knocked off Kentucky in a game that surprised just about nobody, and now the Bulldogs are ranked. Theyíll take that ranking on the road against Vanderbilt, a team that fell out of the polls after blowing a second-half lead at South Carolina.

Prediction: Vanderbilt 62, Georgia 60

UNLV at San Diego State
Wednesday 9 p.m.

For about 15 minutes last week, UNLV had BYU flustered at the Thomas and Mack Center. Jimmer Fredette was turning the ball over left and right and missed fix of his first six shots, and it appeared the Runniní Rebels may be on their way to the upset. Then, their maddening inconsistency took over, and the Cougars ran away with the game behind another stellar performance from Fredette. Lon Krugerís still got a heck of a basketball team, which is why San Diego State canít take it lightly, even at home. If UNLV can become disruptive defensively again, itíll have a shot at the upset.

Prediction: San Diego State 72, UNLV 60

Missouri at Texas A&M
Saturday 12 p.m.

Mike Anderson has never defeated Texas A&M as Missouriís head coach, and his team didnít respond well to a conference road opener in an uncompetitive loss at Colorado this weekend. The Aggiesí methodical style of offense has been MUís kryptonite, so this game is all about pace. If A&M makes it a halfcourt grinder, Mark Turgeonís got a chance to drop Andersonís career record against the Aggies to 0-5.

Prediction: Missouri 76, Texas A&M 75

Illinois at Wisconsin
Saturday 3 p.m.

In an interesting schedule move, Illinois and Wisconsin will meet just more than a week after playing in Champaign. The first contest saw a comfortable Illinois win, as Bruce Weberís team shot lights out against a normally stout Badgersí defense. Things are obviously different at the Kohl Center, though, and Iím not about to pick against Bo Ryan in that place.

Prediction: Wisconsin 56, Illinois 52

UCF at Southern Miss
Saturday 4 p.m

I hate to rain on UCFís parade, but Iíve never seen a team with wins over Miami and Florida become so popular. I think Donnie Jones has a nice squad in his first season at Central Florida, but itís not top-25 material. It proved that at Houston this weekend in a humbling loss. Southern Miss, a trendy team to finish in the top-3 of the C-USA this season, looked dreadful in a loss at Marshall this weekend but has an athletic, high-flying team that defends well under Larry Eustachy. Another ďupsetĒ is on the way this weekend.

Prediction: Southern Mississippi 80, UCF 60

Last weekís prediction record: 4-4
Overall prediction record: 48-26

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