Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Alley-Oop

Top 10

Saturday, March 9

#3 Duke (26-4, 13-4) at North Carolina (22-8, 12-5)

The Tar Heels are one of the hottest teams in the country. Following their dominating victory at Maryland on Wednesday, the Heels have now won six in a row and have gone from bubble team, to a team that could make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. The hot run is mostly being attributed to a shift in philosophy by coach Roy Williams. Williams shifted his lineup and is now starting four guards. PJ Hairston and Reggie Bullock have been on fire, and are a major reason for Carolina's recent success. Doubters and haters like to point to the fact that the six straight wins haven't come against a ranked team. To that I say, Carolina doesn't control the schedule, they can only play the teams in front of them, and they have been playing them very well.

Duke is feeling rejuvenated because of the return of senior Ryan Kelly from injury last week. The mouth breather had an impressive return against Miami, pouring in a career high 36 points. Blue Devils fans like to point out that Duke hasn't lost with Kelly in the lineup all season. They were able to defeat Carolina in the first matchup without him, and also overcame being mostly outplayed the entire game. In the first game, Mason Plumlee and the sometimes overlooked Quinn Cook gave the Heels fits. The Heels received little from James Michael McAdoo, and he will be limited in this game, as he battles a bulging disc in his back.

This game already has a ton of juice behind it being the best rivalry in college basketball. However, Carolina will have a little extra motivation. A win against Duke, especially with Kelly playing can quiet the critics and prove that Carolina has vastly improved in the last month and is a burgeoning contender. I expect the Dean Dome to being rocking all night long, and for this game to enter as the latest classic in a rivalry with many of them. Go Heels, beat Duke.

Prediction: North Carolina 77, Duke 75

#4 Kansas (26-4, 14-3) at Baylor (17-13, 8-9)

Since their three game losing streak, the Jayhawks have been on fire and are back in the discussion for a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor is having a disappointing season and has seen their NCAA Tournament bubble burst.

Prediction: Kansas 67, Baylor 57

#17 Syracuse (23-7, 11-6) at #5 Georgetown (23-5, 13-4)

This is the last time these two rivals will meet as conference foes, as Syracuse heads to the ACC. The Hoyas 11 game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Villanova, while the Cuse halted a three game losing streak against DePaul. The Hoyas shocked everyone by winning at the Carrier Dome a few weeks ago, as Otto Porter played out of his mind. I think the Orange will return the favor in this game.

Prediction: Syracuse 59, Georgetown 58

Clemson (13-16, 5-12) at #6 Miami (23-6, 14-3)

The Canes are stumbling to the finish line, losing two straight, including a mystifying home loss to awful Georgia Tech on Wednesday. They can still win the ACC outright with a win at home against Clemson. If they drop this game, it might be time to panic in Coral Gables.

Prediction: Miami 68, Clemson 55

#24 Notre Dame (23-7, 11-6) at #8 Louisville (25-5, 13-4)

Whenever these two get together close games or overtime seem inevitable. Last time they met up, it took five overtimes to settle it before the Irish escaped with a victory. The Cardinals have been on fire since that game and will be looking for revenge. Former Patriot Luke Hancock has seemed to finally start settling in and showing some of the game that made Mason fans fall in love with him.

Prediction: Louisville 66, Notre Dame 61

#9 Kansas State (25-5, 14-3) at #13 Oklahoma State (22-7, 12-5)

The Wildcats haven't received much attention this year, but here they are in the top 10. Their coach Bruce Weber was mostly lambasted when he was named Kansas State's coach but so far it has looked like the right move. Oklahoma State is coming off a butt whooping in Iowa State, but should feel more comfortable in the confines of their home gym.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 73, Kansas State 70

Sunday, March 10

#2 Indiana (25-5, 13-4) at #7 Michigan (25-5, 12-5)

The Hoosiers are looking shaky as of late and have me questioning them as my pick to cut down the nets in April. The Wolverines have been a little shaky as well so I am not sure they are the team to take advantage of Indiana right now. Despite their loss to Ohio State on senior night, the Hoosiers can still win their first outright Big Ten regular season title in ten years with a win. This game is filled with star power. For the Hoosiers you have Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford. Michigan's stars are Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Glenn Robinson III. Michigan will want revenge for an earlier season loss, but I think this Hoosiers team is too good to be denied that Big Ten t

Prediction: Indiana 74, Michigan 69

Northwestern (13-17, 4-13) at #10 Michigan State (23-7, 12-5)

Sparty will just try to get out of this one healthy as they head into the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. They can earn a tie of the regular season Big Ten title if their hated rivals Michigan can knock off Indiana.

Prediction: Michigan State 64, Northwestern 50

Last Week: 10-0
Overall: 34-9

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