Rothstein: Butler, UNC And 5 Questions Heading Into Busy Night In College Hoops
By Jon Rothstein
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1. WHICH TOP 25 TEAM IS PRIMED TO BE BEATEN?
The Bulldogs host Charlotte, and will be playing without starting center Andrew Smith, who will miss both of his team’s games this week due to an abdominal injury.
If you haven’t seen the 49ers, you’ve missed out on one of the more physical teams in college basketball.
Charlotte isn’t great offensively, but Alan Major has built his program into a watered down version of Leonard Hamilton’s vintage Florida State teams.
The 49ers are big, strong and physically imposing.
Butler will be in a war on Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
2. CAN NORTH CAROLINA BE COMPETITIVE AT DUKE?
Maybe for a half, but there’s just something missing with this group of Tar Heels.
College basketball’s elite rivalry will bring out the best in North Carolina for the first 20 minutes, but we can’t see Roy Williams’ team staying close with the Blue Devils for an entire game.
Duke was fortunate to escape with a win against Boston College on Sunday and should be ready to roll on their home floor.
Look for big games from Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry as the Blue Devils try to hold down the fort until Ryan Kelly returns.
3. WILL MIAMI CONTINUE TO ROLL AT FLORIDA STATE?
We think so.
The Hurricanes are perfect in ACC play while the Seminoles have been one of the season’s biggest disappointments.
Florida State has more perimeter talent than they did a season ago when they won the conference, but that doesn’t mean they know how to play together cohesively.
Miami should continue to roll against their in-state rivals, and Jim Larranaga should start to emerge in the next week or so as the favorite for National Coach of the Year.
4. IS UCONN CAPABLE OF HOLDING THEIR OWN ON THE BOARDS AGAINST SYRACUSE?
It all depends on DeAndre Daniels.
The Huskies’ talented sophomore has been the X-Factor all season long for Kevin Ollie’s team, and he’ll need to rebound at a high level if UConn is to have a chance to stay close against the Orange.
It will also be interesting to see how the Huskies’ smaller backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright does physically against the bigger, stronger perimeter tandem of Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams.
5. HOW WILL SAN DIEGO STATE HANDLE COLORADO STATE’S SIZE?
It’s a fascinating contrast in styles, isn’t it?
The Rams are big, tough and grizzled, while the Aztecs have speed, agility and unbelievable athleticism.
San Diego State will need a big effort on the boards from both DeShawn Stephens and Skylar Spencer to hang with Colorado State in Fort Collins.
This will also mark the second game back for Aztecs point guard Xavier Thames, who continues to deal with a nagging back injury.
If you’ve enjoyed the Mountain West Conference, you’ll love this game. Tip off is at 10 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
Can North Carolina take down the Blue Devils tonight? Sound off with your thoughts and comments on Wednesday night’s games below…