Notre Dame at No. 3 Pittsburgh-The Irish are reeling and Pitt is coming off a road loss at Villanova. I don’t expect Notre Dame to win, although the game should be close. I like Pitt’s role players, and bruising Pitt C DeJuan Blair could get Harangody into foul trouble. The game will probably be sloppy and low-scoring, but be sure to tune in if you like defense.
No. 23 Washington at No. 14 Arizona State-The Pac-10 has played some exciting games lately, and this should be another one. The Huskies have a number of dynamic little turd guards, including Justin Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas (no relation to Zeke, thankfully) that provide support to big man Jon Brockman. I look forward to watching Brockman battle ASU C Jeff Pendergraph inside. The Huskies have more balance than the largely two-dimensional Sun Devils, so look for a Washington win unless Pendergraph and James Harden go crazy.
No. 25 Georgetown at No. 8 Marquette-Things sure look better at Marquette now that Tom Crean has moved on. The Golden Eagles host big Hoyas team in one of the most intriguing games this weekend. Marquette has three terrific guards while Georgetown has a big, talented, and physical front line led by Greg Monroe. The key to this game will be the injury to Hoyas F DeJuan Summers, who is not expected to play. I expect a solid home win for the streaking Eagles.
West Virginia at No. 7 Louisville-Bob Thuggins has yet to assemble a merry band of thugs in West Virgina, but he has his Mountaineers playing well. Louisville is 8-0 in the Big East and has been dominant for several weeks now, but this could be a trap game. WVU has good size and toughness, and the Cardinals could be looking ahead to Monday’s game against likely No. 1 UConn. Louisville should win, but it will be close.
Michigan at No. 16 Purdue-This could be a great Big Ten game, as a talented Wolverine team looks to make a statement with a big road win Saturday. The Boilermakers struggled early in the conference season but look to be playing better as of late. Robbie Hummel’s back is fragile, but Purdue has good balance and has learned to play without him. I am predicting a minor upset here, with Michigan getting a rare road victory.
South Carolina at No. 24 Kentucky-An undermanned Ole Miss squad stunned Kentucky Wednesday by shutting down sharpshooter Jodie Meeks. He should bounce back with a strong effort, but a home win is not a given. I look forward to watching Meeks and South Carolina G Devan Downey do battle on the perimeter.
Florida at Tennessee-This game is getting an awful lot of hype for some reason. Florida has Nick Calathes and some good young players, and seems headed to the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl’s team is struggling and has horrible guards. UT has a good chance to win simply because the game is in Knoxville, but I am not sure why this game is worth watching, unless you like pretty colors.
Cal at USC-Although neither team is ranked, both have a good shot to make the tournament. Cal has been a surprise and still has a good chance to win the Pac-10. The Trojans are very young but Taj Gibson has finally started to play well. Percy Miller aka Lil Romeo is not expected to get in the game for the Trojans, but his best friend DeMar DeRozan will be a factor. Make Em Say Uhhh Percy!
No. 6 Wake Forest at Georgia Tech-The Aminu brothers do battle in the ATL Saturday, as vastly superior Al-Farouq leads his vastly superior Deacons against Alade and the Jackets. This game could be competitive, but the Jackets have young guards and struggle against pressure.