By Jon Rothstein
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1. HOW DANGEROUS IS PROVIDENCE AT HOME?
And that’s bad news for Cincinnati.
The Bearcats are a lethal defensive team but they’ve regularly struggled on the offensive side of the floor.
In order to beat Providence on the road, Cincinnati is going to have to neutralize the Friars’ perimeter — and that’s not going to be an easy task.
Bryce Cotton has emerged as the top scorer in the Big East and Vincent Council is always capable of exploding for a monster game.
A big X-Factor in this game will be Friars’ forward LaDontae Henton, whose yet to hit his stride offensively in league play.
2. CAN STANFORD REBOUND WITH ARIZONA?
We’re not sure.
The Cardinal are in a really good way right now after winning their last three games, and have started to resemble the team that won the Postseason NIT last season.
However to beat the Wildcats in Tucson, Stanford is going to need monumental efforts on the backboards from both Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell.
For Johnny Dawkins’ team, it’s real simple. Be competitive on the boards and be competitive in the game.
3. CAN RUTGERS HANDLE LOUISVILLE’S PRESSURE?
To be determined.
The Scarlet Knights have had several opportunities to play their way into the middle of the Big East standings, but they’re constantly turning the ball over at key junctures of games.
Rutgers led Cincinnati for nearly 30 minutes last week before succumbing to a slew of unforced errors that led to their unraveling in the game’s final minutes.
Louisville’s relentlessness is unmatched by just about any other team in college basketball, and there’s no question that they’re going to attack the Scarlet Knights’ perimeter trio of Jerome Seagears, Myles Mack, and Eli Carter.
Mike Rice’s team has three straight home games starting with tonight against the Cardinals. The time for this team to make a move is right now.
4. WHICH BUBBLE TEAM HAS THE MOST TO GAIN?
The Sycamores already have a strong resume with wins over Miami and Wichita State, but beating Creighton at home would really enhance their chances of playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Greg Lansing’s team isn’t flashy but they know to grind things out and win in the mud.
This game will be a complete contrast in styles. The Bluejays are one of the better offensive teams in college basketball and will do everything they can to augment the pace against Indiana State.
If this game breaks 70, take Creighton. If it’s in the 60’s, I’m going with the Sycamores at home.
5. IS AIR FORCE FOR REAL?
We’ll know after they take on New Mexico at the Pit.
The Falcons have won five straight games and are officially a factor in the Mountain West Conference.
Air Force is an experienced team filled with upperclassmen — but the Lobos are the best team in their league.
New Mexico needs to win this game to hold serve in the conference standings before traveling to UNLV this weekend.
Think you have the answers? Be heard in the comments…