UConn-Louisville (7 ET, ESPN): When UConn came to Freedom Hall it was a battle between two elite teams fighting for a Big East championship. Tonight it's two struggling programs who have to get this win in a fight to make it to the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies have the better talent. Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson in the backcourt haven't been as good as anticipated and they can get turnover-prone, but they're still pretty good nonetheless and Stanley Robinson is a genuine interior force. Louisville can match that trio with only two--Edgar Sosa outside and Samardo Samuels up front. And we're really giving the Cards the benefit of the doubt on those two, who can each pull disappearing acts. If all things were equal, there'd be no question that UConn would be the choice. But all things aren't equal. The game's in Louisville, the cloud of Jim
Calhoun's absence still looms over the program, as does a heartbreaking loss at home to Marquette on Saturday. That's a lot to overcome when you travel for a road game in 48 hours. I'll take the Cards to get the win here.
Texas-Oklahoma State (9 ET, ESPN): Texas has to get their recent slide arrested immediately, or any hope of a Big 12 title is going to be gone. Going to Stillwater to face the explosive James Anderson doesn't qualify as an easy way to do that, but UT has to plant their feet and stand firm now. The problems of Rick Barnes' club seem to me a clear case of underachievment. Damion James continues to be a potent threat both scoring and on the glass, but Barnes needs more consistency inside from Dexter Pittman and outside from Avery Bradley. I look for this one to be a thriller, and for desperation to be the decisive factor--Texas refuses to drop three games out and finds a way to win it.
Miss-Kentucky (7 ET, ESPN): This is a big SEC game, with the Rebels only one back of Vanderbilt and Kentucky. But is also one huge mismatch. The Western Division teams are weaker as it is, and Ole Miss has no signature strength they can play to pull an upset. And that's without factoring in the Lexington crowd factor. Call this one easy for the 'Cats. Yeah, I know I said the same thing last week before Calipari's boys played South Carolina in this same time slot, but lightning doesn't strike twice.
Michigan State-Wisconsin (9 ET, ESPN): Look for MSU to pile up a huge advantage in rebounding. They do in any case, and Wisconsin is perimeter-oriented team without a lot of muscle in the paint. The key will be whether the Badgers can use a combination of three-point shooting, a turnover edge and Kohl Center magic to knock off the Big Ten frontrunners. The guess here is that they make it close and exciting, but the well-coached Spartans find a way to
In another game on Tuesday, I've got a funny feeling that Villanova's win streak may come to an end against Seton Hall. If the game were in the Meadowlands, that wouldn't be a huge stand, but 'Nova is at home. But the Wildcats may be looking ahead to Georgetown and we're at that time of year where teams like that are ripe to be caught napping. Villanova can be beaten inside and the Pirates' Herb Pope can do it. Combine that with a big game from Jeremy Hazell and you have the recipe for an upset. You heard it here first--Seton Hall with the shocker.