I was hibernating and therefore missed the opportunity to explain that UConn would roll Syracuse, which they did last night, 88-80. But there are three interesting games being played today and tomorrow.
Illinois (16-1) plays Indiana (10-3) at 7:00 Tuesday night. You'll never go wrong picking one of the most feared players in college hoops, Dee Brown. He'll lead the Fighting Illini to a win on the road.
Number 1 Duke plays N.C. State at 7:00 Wednesday. State has only two losses, and is ranked in the top 20. Knowing how much the Gentleman Farmer likes the Wolfpack, I looked at this game and thought, "Wow. There's an upset pick to make."
Then I saw that it would be played in front of the Cameron Crazies, and wondered if an upset was very likely. After a little reflection, and a check to see that Redick and Williams are both still enrolled at Duke, I just can't go there. I picked Memphis to beat Duke earlier, and you see how that worked out. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Duke will win what should be a good game.
A litte later on Wednesday night, 12th ranked Pittsburgh brings its perfect record to the Rutgers Athletic Center in beautiful Piscataway, New Jersey. The RAC has quickly gotten a well-deserved reputation as a dangerous place to play if you don't wear a scarlet uniform. But Pittsburgh hasn't lost to the Scarlet Knights in something like 5 years!
Unranked Rutgers (12-4) will upset the Panthers.
Yeah, I said it.
Let's check out some big names in scoring in the Big East. Pittsnogle from West Virginia averages almost 21 points per game. The fearsome Randye Foye is less than half a basket per game behind, while Allan Ray, Foye's teammate at Villanova, adds almost 19.
How about outside the Big East? If you throw out the weak one-bid conferences, you've got JJ Redick pouring in more than 26 points, and the incredible Adam Morrison (at Gonzaga), who cans an astonishing 28.2 per game. But who's number three, among players in real basketball conferences?
Quincy Douby puts in 23.5 points per game, leads the Big East in scoring (and steals), and has led the Scarlet Knights to 12 wins already this season, two more than they had all last season. The last time the guys from the Banks of the Old Raritan were 12-4 through 16 games was 1982-83, when they made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
And remember that Rutgers’ last home game, exactly one week ago, was a loss to then No. 3 Villanova. Despite shooting 50% from the field during the first half of that game (47% for the entire game), and sinking 7 of 13 three-pointers, Villanova was dragged, sweating and nervous, into OT.
Rutgers over Pittsburgh.