Can't-miss college hoops games this week

Can't-miss college hoops games this week

Can't-miss college hoops games this week
By MATT SEVERANCE

Purdue at Wisconsin (Tuesday, 9 p.m., ESPN)

I wrote in a story last week that Wisconsin has turned into arguably the most overrated team this season. That was proven again when the Badgers lost at Illinois, their fourth straight Big Ten setback. At 12-7 overall and 3-4 in the conference, UW needs to get going quickly or it's NIT time.

The Boilermakers were Big Ten favorites (ahead of Michigan State by the media) but started 0-2 in conference. Now they are looking like one of the conference's elite teams. In fact, since Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer returned from missing a game against Penn State (loss), Purdue hasn't been beaten.

It began the turnaround with a Jan. 11 65-52 win over these Badgers. The Boilermakers had just four turnovers in that game, winning for the fourth time in the past five meetings in the series and is on a four-game winning streak.

"We're starting to really come together," coach Matt Painter said to the AP.

Duke at Wake Forest (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN)

The Blue Devils, who will be the nation's new top-ranked team when the polls are released Monday, are coming off an 85-44 beatdown of Maryland that has begun the rumors of Gary Williams' ouster there. It was the biggest win by Duke in the history of that series and the Terps' worst loss since 1941.

The Blue Devils have won 20 straight games in the month January. Since losing to Michigan, Duke has won 10 in a row and hasn't allowed more than 70 points in a game. Fifteen of its wins have been by double digits. Duke lost the last meeting with Wake but had won five in a row in the series before that.

Wake is 2-for-2 against ranked teams this year, having beaten Clemson and North Carolina. And the Deacons will have had a week to stew over their upset loss to Virginia Tech that knocked them out of the No. 1 spot in the polls.

"You never want to lose, but I'm kind of glad we got it out of the way," guard Jeff Teague said to reporters after the loss to the Hokies. "Everybody was trying to play perfect, and everybody didn't want to mess up and things like that, because they wanted to stay No. 1. But now we've got that out of the way, we're just going to get back to doing what we were doing."

Saint Mary's at Gonzaga (Thursday, 11 p.m., ESPN2)

If you haven't seen Gaels point guard Patrick Mills yet, you will want to watch this game. The Aussie sophomore was a sensation for Team Australia in the Beijing Olympics and was stellar against the U.S. Redeem Team. He was the only American college player in the entire tournament, and boy do NBA scouts know about him. St. Mary's has the current longest winning streak in the country at 15 games.

Of course, Gonzaga is the standard when it comes to mid-major success and also the team to beat in the West Coast Conference. The Zags have won nine straight regular-season WCC titles. It's still early, with both Gonzaga and St. Mary's at 5-0 in the conference but this game could go a long way in deciding who wins the conference. The last time these two schools played was the first time ever that two WCC ranked teams faced each other. Gonzaga won that one at home but St. Mary's won an earlier meeting in the year.

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