By Jon Rothstein
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DUKE VS. WASHINGTON
Lorenzo Romar’s team has had multiple opportunities to make a statement early in the season but a showdown against the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden represents an entirely different level of opportunity. The Huskies have two talented wings in Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox that will make it difficult for Duke stop dribble penetration and don’t be surprised if Washington freshman point guard Tony Wroten plays his best game of the season. Certain floor generals are cut from a different cloth and that’s the image Wroten portrays each and every time he steps in between the lines. Duke’s Austin Rivers might be the most highly touted first-year guard going into this game but Wroten’s no pushover — and he’ll prove that on Saturday.
PREDICTION: WASHINGTON 77, DUKE 71
KENTUCKY AT INDIANA
Tom Crean has waited his entire tenure in Bloomington to get the Hoosiers into a game like this. Indiana is playing its best basketball in four years thanks burgeoning freshman big man Cody Zeller and lockdown wing Victor Oladipo. The problem is Kentucky has two players at the same positions that can answer Zeller and Oladipo freshmen in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. And they have Terrence Jones. And Doron Lamb. And Darius Miller. And Marquis Teague., You get
PREDICTION: KENTUCKY 83, INDIANA 69
OHIO STATE AT KANSAS
Bill Self verbally laced into his team earlier this week after the Jayhawks narrow win over Long Beach State and the level of opponent will only be enhanced when the Buckeyes come to Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday. Other than Kentucky and Missouri, no team has played better basketball this season than Ohio State. In addition to Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and William Buford, Deshaun Thomas has emerged as a legitimate fourth scorer for Thad Matta and he is another sign of
the overall depth this team has from top to bottom. Against Kansas, that will be the deciding factor.
PREDICTION: OHIO STATE 76, KANSAS 68
CINCINNATI AT XAVIER
The most underrated rivalry in college basketball features a team on the rise versus a team trying to find its idenitity. Xavier looks primed for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament while Cincinnati is still trying to find the right rotation and chemistry. The Bearcats will play well on the road, but it’s still tough to see them knocking off the Musketeers with the way Chris Mack’s team is playing.
PREDICTION: XAVIER 74, CINCINNATI 67
UNLV AT WISCONSIN
Another week, another monumental non-conference test for Dave Rice and UNLV. The Runnin Rebels have already played North Carolina and Wichita State and will also face Illinois and Cal after their showdown with the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Bo Ryan’s team suffered a rarity when they lost at home to Wisconsin last week. It says here it won’t happen again.
PREDICTION: WISCONSIN 67, UNLV 58
LINDSEY LEAVES ST. JOHN’S:
There will be no calm this season amongst the storm.
After three members of St. John’s freshmen class were ruled ineligible for the first semester, the Red Storm suffered a massive blow on Thursday when starting guard Nurideen Lindsey opted to transfer from the school immediately.
Lindsey’s departure leaves St. John’s with just seven scholarship players for the rest of the season.
With three of their top prospects recently decommitted, it’s safe to say to the 2012 recruiting class for St. John’s will be the most pivotal in recent memory.
Which game will you be glued to? Let us know in the comments below…