Class schedule: Can't-miss college hoops

Class schedule: Can't-miss college hoops

Can't-miss college hoops
By MATT SEVERANCE

No need to check your local paper for the best upcoming college basketball matchups. Here is a look at five intriguing weekday games and you can check back on Friday for the best of the weekend slate.

Syracuse at Pittsburgh (Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN)

That two-week stay at No. 1 will end for Pittsburgh, which fell at Louisville Saturday in its first road game ever as the top-ranked team. The Panthers had a season-high 20 turnovers against the Cardinals, with point guard Levance Fields having six. He had only six turnovers in his previous four games combined.

In addition, senior forward Sam Young is slumping, hitting just 15-of-49 shots in the past three games. He's not getting to the line, either, with just four free-throw attempts in that stretch. Young was just 6-for-20 from the field against Louisville and 2-for-10 from behind the arc.

Pitt is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings in this series.

Ohio State at Illinois (Tuesday, 7 p.m., ESPN)

The Illini had a very good chance of ending Michigan State's 27-game home winning streak Saturday but faded down the stretch. Starters Demetri McCamey, Trent Meacham and Chester Frazier made one more field goal than you and I did – combining to shoot 1-of-17. The entire starting lineup accounted for only 25 points. It was the third straight season the Illini had a halftime lead in East Lansing only to lose.

“We didn’t execute or have the toughness to win in the last five minutes,.” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said to reporters afterward. “They had 10 layups in the second half. That was the difference in the game.”

The loser of this game will drop three games behind the Spartans in the loss column in the Big Ten. OSU has covered its past three games and beat Illinois by six in the teams' last meeting, almost a year ago to the day. The Buckeyes have won five in a row in the series and have never lost to the Illini when scoring 90-plus points.

North Carolina State at Duke (Tuesday, 8 p.m., ESPN)

Duke should get some No. 1 votes this week after an impressive 76-67 win over Georgetown on Saturday. It was the Blue Devils' 68th straight non-conference home win. The Blue Devils became just the 12th team in three-plus seasons to shoot at least 45 percent against the Hoyas.

The Blue Devils have won eight games in a row and Gerald Henderson has been a big part of that. The junior swingman has scored in double figures in nine straight games and has three in a row with at least 19 points. He had a team-high 23 against the Hoyas.

The Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point deficit with under five minutes remaining to beat Georgia Tech in overtime Saturday. They lost both games to Duke last season.

Villanova at Connecticut (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN)

The Wildcats have had the Huskies' number lately, winning three of the past four in this series and two in a row.

Connecticut, which faced Seton Hall Sunday, has been a little banged up with A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson dealing with minor knee injuries and Hasheem Thabeet fighting a sore hip. Price and Thabeet have disappeared for some games with Jeff Adrien emerging as the team's most consistent player. He has more career double-doubles than any current active Big East player.

Nine of the Huskies' final 13 regular-season games are against teams currently ranked.

Clemson at North Carolina (Wednesday, 9 p.m., ESPN)

The Tigers had the fourth-longest home winning streak in the country snapped by Wake Forest in a battle of unbeatens Saturday. That included eight straight ACC wins with the last loss coming against these Tar Heels, 90-88 in overtime last year.

Clemson has not had a winning January since 1996-97. And you could say it is due in Chapel Hill. The Tigers are 0-53 all-time at North Carolina and they lost to the Heels three times last year, although all were close (overtime, double overtime and by five in the ACC tournament championship game).

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