By Jon Rothstein
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RUTGERS AT GEORGETOWN
Just who are the real Scarlet Knights? Unless they come out and steal a road game in DC on Saturday, they’re going to be who they’ve been — good enough to steal games at home but too young to do the same on the road. Personally, I think it’s the latter. Despite the progress of freshmen Jerome Seagears and Derrick Randall, Rutgers just seems too inexperienced to win in a hostile environment against a team like Georgetown. The Hoyas have two of the better players in the Big East in Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson and a burgeoning freshman in forward Greg Whittington. That formula should result in a convincing home win.
PREDICTION: GEORGETOWN 77, RUTGERS 64
MISSOURI AT BAYLOR
One of the most dangerous things in sports is a wounded team and that’s just what the Bears are after suffering a convincing loss at Kansas on Monday night. Nevertheless, a match up with the undersized Tigers should be an intriguing contrast of styles and another opportunity to make a national statement. Missouri has gotten All-Big 12 type seasons from seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English — but may lack the necessary depth to beat Baylor in Waco.
PREDICTION: BAYLOR 83, MISSOURI 76
FLORIDA STATE AT DUKE
We’ll find out after this game just how good the upstart Seminoles really are. After three impressive conference victories including a 33 point thrashing over North Carolina, Leonard Hamilton’s team has gained some momentum thanks to a new three guard lineup. Duke meanwhile has shown flashes early in the season but has yet to look in vintage Blue Devil form except for an early season win over Michigan State. The Seminoles are good enough to bother Duke with their length on the perimeter and in the paint but the confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium may be too much to overcome for a team that is still learning how to win.
PREDICTION: DUKE 75, FLORIDA STATE 68
CINCINNATI AT WEST VIRGINIA
Other than Syracuse, these are the two hottest teams in the Big East. The Mountaineers look like they’re finally getting the help they need around seniors Kevin Jones and Darryl “Truck” Bryant while Cincinnati is on the heels of a dramatic win on the road at UCONN. Mick Cronin worked for Bob Huggins when he was at Cincinnati and is doing maybe the best coaching job of his career following his team’s early season brawl with Xavier. West Virginia may have the game’s best player in Jones but one thing they don’t have is depth — and that could be a problem against the pesky Bearcats.
PREDICTION: CINCINNATI 73, WEST VIRGINIA 69
NEW MEXICO AT UNLV
If you’re reading this and haven’t watched the Runnin Rebels yet this season, make sure you set your DVR immediately. Dave Rice has made UNLV much more potent offensively in his first season in Las Vegas and UCLA transfer Mike Moser looks like pound for pound the best player in the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos are coming off a tough loss at home on Wednesday against San Diego State and facing the Runnin Rebels on the road simply isn’t the antidote they’re looking for.
PREDICTION: UNLV 91, NEW MEXICO 74
What’s your Rutgers-Georgetown prediction? Be heard in the comments below…