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Rothstein Files: 5 Questions Heading Into Busy Wednesday Night In College Hoops

John Gage #40 of the Stanford Cardinal attempts a jumper over the hands of Travis Wear #24 of the UCLA Bruins.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

John Gage #40 of the Stanford Cardinal attempts a jumper over the hands of Travis Wear #24 of the UCLA Bruins. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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By Jon Rothstein
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1. CAN PURDUE BEAT INDIANA?

Without question.

The Boilermakers are a different team at Mackey Arena and the Hoosiers will have to grind things out if they’re to beat Purdue on the road.

Tom Crean simply won’t allow his team to get caught looking ahead to their showdown with No. 1 Michigan on Saturday at Assembly Hall, but that doesn’t mean that Indiana will be able to play the way they want to against Purdue.

Matt Painter is one of the more underrated coaches in the country, and his team hasn’t surrendered 70 points in a game in a little over three weeks.

This will be a war.

2. WHAT TOP 25 TEAM COULD SUFFER AN UNEXPECTED LOSS?

Oregon.

The Ducks are playing at Stanford without their starting point guard in Dominic Artis, and the Cardinal have been desperate for a marquee win all season.

Johnny Dawkins’ team came into the year with monumental expectations, but they’ve struggled and sit at 12-8 overall with a 3-4 record in the PAC-12.

A big key in this game for Stanford could be reserve forward John Gage, a long-range specialist who’s made nine three-pointers in his last three games.

3. IS VILLANOVA FOR REAL?

We’ll know after we see them play at Notre Dame.

The Wildcats are coming off a sensational week where they won back-to-back home games against Syracuse and Louisville. But can they win on the road?

We’re still not so sure.

Jay Wright has made Villanova into a tough-minded defensive team, but trading haymakers with the Irish in South Bend is a completely different animal.

We’ll be pleasantly surprised if the Wildcats are within striking distance with 10 minutes to play in the second half.

4. HOW WILL MIAMI HANDLE BEING THE HUNTED?

With flying colors.

The Hurricanes are no longer just a threat to win the ACC — they’re a legitimate contender to play deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Miami is a terrific defensive squad with solid veterans and a burgeoning star in sophomore point guard Shane Larkin.

This team has yet to go on the road and deal with expectations, but we’re confident that they’ll beat a struggling Virginia Tech team on Wednesday night before heading to Raleigh for a showdown with NC State on Saturday.

5. WILL RUTGERS TEST CINCINNATI?

Don’t count on it.

The Scarlet Knights have yet to show us in the past two weeks that they’re ready to respond when adversity hits.

At one point, Rutgers looked like a team that was primed to make a jump in the Big East, but they’ve been really disappointing in their last few games.

At 3-5 in league play, the Scarlet Knights will have to show some toughness to have a chance against Cincinnati. The Bearcats pummeled the Scarlet Knights when these two teams met earlier in the year, and Rutgers has done little to show us that there’s any reason to think this game will be different.

Mike Rice’s team is talented, deep and has upside, but they don’t show the necessary fight of a team that’s hungry to climb.

Which college hoops game are you most looking forward to on Wednesday night? Let us know in the comments section below…