What better way to shake-off the hangover of the NFL Season with an absolutely loaded Wednesday Night in college hoops? Honestly, I can't think of one. These three gems should definitely get us back into the swing of the college hoops season - especially with my beloved Dragons of Drexel (19-5, 11 wins in a row and 17 of the last 18) playing as well as they have been...Year of the Dragon, right!?
Wednesday, February 8th
No. 10 Kansas @ No. 6 Baylor (-2), 7 ET - ESPN 2
These two top 10 teams square off in a Big 12 showdown. Both teams tout 8-2 conference records and trail Missouri by half a game - meaning the winner of this game will get a share of the Big 12. This game isn't nearly as big a rivalry as the other games on the slate tonight, mostly because Baylor has sucked. Kansas is 16-2 against the Bears since 1996 including an 18 point walloping earlier this year in Lawrence. The real reason to watch this game is so that come April's NBA Draft you will be accustomed to names like Jayhawks star Thomas Robinson, PF (No. 4 prospect according to ESPN's Chad Ford) and Baylor's duo of Perry Jones III, PF (No. 6 prospect), and Quincy Miller, F (No. 14 prospect). While this has definitely been a one-sided rivalry this Baylor team is no joke. They're 11-1 at home and definitely have the talent to contend with this Kansas team. I look for the Bears to avenge their earlier loss to Kansas behind a menacing front court of Jones, Miller, and Quincy Acy. Take the Bears at home and lay the points.
No. 11 Georgetown @ No. 2 Syracuse (-9), 7 ET - ESPN
With conferences realigning in college sports - this will be one of the last times these two storied programs meet as conference foes. In arguably the most famous rivalry the Big East has to offer the Hoyas and Orange will not disappoint tonight. The Orange have won 18 straight at the Carrier Dome and have not lost since last year when they dropped a 64-56 decision to Georgetown. The Hoyas have a couple streaks of their own going - 4 straight victories over top-20 teams and 2 straight games holding opponents under 45 points (UConn and South Florida). Holding the Orange to anywhere near 45 points would be a huge accomplishment considering they average a Big East best 78.1 ppg. Syracuse's lone loss this year came on the road without their starting center Fab Melo. Yes, that's his real name. With Melo back in the lineup and the ridiculous amount of depth that the Orange have - 10 players average at least 13 minutes/game - I could see this one getting out of control. The Orange will attempt to smother the Georgetown guards who have been prone to turning the ball over and lack a true point guard. Syracuse also leads the Big East in turnover margin and steals so I would expect a lot of fast breaks and highlight reel jams from the Orange. The only hope the Hoyas will have is if they can somehow slow the tempo of this game down to a pace slower than Adriana Lima waving this checkered Flag back and forth - it would be a thing of beauty but I think the Orange will have the advantage overall. I'll take Syracuse and lay the points in what could be the last time these two meet as Big East opponents.
No. 9 Duke @ No. 5 UNC (-6.5), 9 ET - ESPN
If you follow this blog as your sole outlet for sports, well I'm sorry. But for any fan that doesn't quite understand how big this rivalry is, here's a good 89 second clip that sums it up:
I saw this game on the slate of games earlier this week and literally cancelled my Wednesday Night plans before I even had any. This might explain my inability to capture a girls heart, but screw it - this rivalry is what college hoops is all about. Duke is coming off a tough OT loss to Miami on Sunday, you might not have heard about it since there was another big game that took place on Sunday. The Blue Devils have won 4 of the past 5 against the Tar Heels and 8 of the past 13 in Chapel Hill. This year is different though. UNC is clearly more talented than the Blue Devils. They're a legitimate National Title contender. They have my favorite player, Kendall Marshall. Should be an easy pick for the Tar Heels right? Nope. Not in this match up. Duke hasn't lost in back-to-back games since 2008 which probably means that Coach K gives a mean pre-game speech after a loss (14-0 since 2008). Duke will need to do a much better job controlling the glass than they did against the Hurricanes (18 offensive rebounds). With Zeller, Henson, and Barnes patrolling the paint for UNC that will be no easy task for Duke. Control the boards and play physical. Can't be that hard, right? I like Coach K and the Blue Devils to hang around to make this game closer than the 6.5 points.
Season Record: 18-5