Network Bulletin 3-9-13 to 3-10-13
College Basketball Previews - Saturday
#17 SYRACUSE (23-7, 11-6 Big East) at #5 GEORGETOWN (23-5, 13-4 Big East) - 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
The deal with Syracuse is you never quite know what you're gonna get - the club that can transition itself to 25-or-more fast-break points in a game or the club that stagnates badly in a half-court set and doesn't always get the best use of guys like C.J. Fair and guard star Michael Carter-Williams. Jim Boeheim's crew steps into this bash having lost six of its last 11 games in all and that includes the humbling 57-46 home loss against Georgetown back on February 23rd when National Player of the Year candidate Otto Porter poured in 33 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting for G-town - and don't forget the Hoyas held the Orange to 17-of-50 FG shooting (that's 34 percent).
If this is the last hoedown between these Big East behemoths than shouldn't it get a finish like so many other matchups in the past?
#3 DUKE (26-4, 13-4 ACC) at NORTH CAROLINA (22-8, 12-5 ACC) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
The fact of the matter is Duke - the ACC's highest-scoring team while averaging a haughty 78.7 points per game - still could snag a #1 NCAA Tournament seed if it wins here and than cops next week's ACC Tournament in Greensboro but in order to bang out the regular-season sweep against the hated Tar Heels look for "role players" Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton to make major contributions as was the case in the 73-68 non-cover win against Carolina in early February. Cook finished with 18 points and Sulaimon had 13 points that night plus Thornton fired up three made triples when Duke overcame Mason Plumlee foul woes to win.
Remember, sharpshooter Ryan Kelly - who has played in just 17 games this year - missed that tilt with his bad foot and so he's a major X-factor here following that epic 36-point game against Miami last weekend.
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College Basketball Previews - Sunday
ILLINOIS (21-10, 8-9 Big 10) at #14 OHIO STATE (22-7, 12-5 Big 10) - 1 p.m. ET
Ohio State's earlier week win at Indiana surely raised eyebrows around the land but how about the fact the 'Eyes have won their last four games in a row - beating Minnesota and Michigan State in Columbus while scoring road wins at Northwestern and Indiana? Now, Thad Matta - maybe one of the country's two or three most-underrated game coaches come the month of March - gets to go for some sort of share for top prize in the Big 10 against a desperate Illinois team that slammed Ohio State 74-55 way back on January 5th.
The truth is John Groce's gang is just 3-5 SU (straight-up) in conference road games this year and snagging this upset will entail a real hot-shot night from G Brandon Paul (16.2 ppg) who must shoot it better than his current 40.4 field-goal percentage.
Here's the skinny on Illinois: Lose here and drop an opening-round Big 10 Tourney game and you're headed to the N-I-T!
#2 INDIANA (25-5, 13-4 Big 10) at #7 MICHIGAN (25-5, 12-5 Big 10) - 4 p.m. ET, CBS
True, Indiana did notch an 81-73 home win against the Wolverines back on February 2nd - that's when Michigan was the nation's top-ranked team - and the Hoosiers did can more than half of their field-goal tries (see 26-of-50) with all five starters getting double-digit scoring totals led by F/C Cody Zeller's 19 points and Player of the Year candidate G Victor Oladipo (15 points).
There has been some real magic to all the top-flight Big 10 games this year - and plenty of the elite squads taking turns knocking off one another - but here's a shot for Indiana to make up for its Senior Night loss to Ohio State - can they corral Michigan PG Trey Burke who works lots of his own magic late in close games?
In that first meeting versus Indiana, Burke connected on just 9-of-24 FGs for 25 points but note the Wolves had just 13 total assists on 30 buckets. Is it magic time again for Burke and friends? Stay tuned.
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