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Rivalry Week's must-see games

Rivalry Week's must-see games

Rivalry Week's must-see games
By MATT SEVERANCE

Here are the five most intriguing matchups this week in college basketball, which also features one of the best rivalries in sports. Check back Friday for a look at the weekend action.

Kansas at Missouri (Monday, 9 p.m., ESPN)

The Border War features two teams that seemed to fly under the radar for much of the season. Kansas is 8-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2005. The Jayhawks are money at the line lately, hitting 46-for-55 from the charity stripe in the past three games.

Missouri, which should be ranked when the new polls are released, is unbeaten at home and 2-0 against ranked teams, beating Southern Cal and Texas. Mizzou has won 15 consecutive home games and is averaging 90.5 points per game at Mizzou Arena this season (5-2 ATS). The Tigers' average of margin of victory there during the stretch is a ridiculous 28.5 ppg (all four Big 12 games by double digits this year). The 7-2 start in the Big 12 matches Mizzou's best, but the Jayhawks have won the past two meetings at Missouri.

Marquette at Villanova (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2)

The Golden Eagles got caught in a major trap game at South Florida Friday night, losing their first Big East game. You can't blame Jerel McNeal, as he scored 22 points and has now scored at least 20 points in seven consecutive games. The senior guard is 20 points away from tying the school's career scoring mark set by George Thompson. McNeal leads an attack that is tops in the Big East in scoring.

Nova is rolling, having won five in a row (5-0 ATS as well) after stomping Syracuse Saturday. Wildcats senior forward Dante Cunningham matched a career high with 31 points in that one. Cunningham could have a big night against the Golden Eagles, who don't have much of a post presence. But Marquette has won the past two meetings in this series.

Xavier at Dayton (Wednesday, 7 p.m., ESPN2)

The Flyers might have gotten caught looking ahead to this game when they lost at Charlotte by 13  points Sunday. They had a chance to tie Xavier atop the Atlantic 10 after the Musketeers were surprised at Duquesne Saturday. Xavier had won its first eight conference games by an average of 18 points and had won its last 15 games in February.

The Musketeers, who have struggled from the free-throw line this year (just 53.8 percent against the Dukes), have beaten Dayton three times in each of the past two seasons. The Flyers are 14-0 at home this year but just 3-7 ATS.

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

Dickie V. The Cameron Crazies. Does it get any better than North Carolina-Duke?

The Blue Devils are looking pretty bad lately. The were crushed by Clemson and then trailed Miami by 16 points in the second half before rallying for an overtime victory Saturday.

Star Kyle Singler has been struggling. He had just six points against Clemson and was 5-for-23 from the field against the Canes. If he's off, this team is off.

North Carolina beat Virginia for its seventh win in a row Saturday. Wayne Ellington has been on fire, totaling 54 points on 20-for-30 shooting from the field in the past two games.

These teams split two meetings last year, each winning on the other's floor. But UNC star point guard Ty Lawson played less than 25 minutes combined because of injury.

UCLA at Arizona State (Thursday, 9 p.m., ESPN)

The Bruins, who lead the Pac-10, look for a little payback after the Sun Devils beat them by three in overtime earlier this season.

Starting point guard Derek Glasser sat out ASU's ugly 49-38 win over Oregon State Saturday which was the Sun Devils' fourth consecutive conference road win. Glasser suffered a neck bruise in a collision against Oregon in the previous game. He is expected to be ready to play by Thursday. The Devils need him after shooting just 38 percent from the field against the Beavers.

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Re: Rivalry Week's must-see games

Rivalry Week: Craig's Can't Miss Contests
By: Craig Trapp

ESPN has done an unbelievable job of creating rival week this year. Every day this week we will have a hated rivals game and will see some great match ups. Rivalry games are always tough to predict the winner and even harder to pick against the spread. Craig has been busy breaking down all of these games below. Check out Craig's can't miss schedule!

MONDAY: WVU @ Pittsburgh (7pm est)- Backyard Brawl II will be an intense contest between two teams that play very similar styles. Huggins and his WVU team need a premier win and what would be better than taking down your hated rival at the same time. Pittsburgh on the other hand is trying to win the Big East Conference and also trying to get a #1 seed in the Big Dance. This game winner might be last man standing as these teams really don't like each other!

TUESDAY: Michigan St @ Michigan (7pm est)- This game finds a desperate Michigan team in a rivalry game. They are a very dangerous team already defeating Duke and UCLA at home this year. But currently it looks like Michigan is out of the big dance and they need to win 5 out of there last 7 to feel safe going into selection Sunday. Michigan St on the other hand is a solid tournament team looking to improve there seeding. Of course they would also love to keep there rival out of the big dance.

WEDNESDAY: Xavier @ Dayton (7pm est)- Rivalry game with added intensity is that possible?? Yes, both teams coming off a loss with winner in 1st place in the league. All the chips are down and Dayton Flyers must win this game at home to control there own destiny for March Madness this year. With 21 wins they still can't feel safe to get in the big dance with only one quality win over Marquette. Xavier was cruising along looking like a lock for a high seed but a loss on the road at Duquesne this weekend has put that in jeopardy. This I-75 match up should be hotly contested game with added intensity this game will come down to the final horn.

Thursday: UCLA @ Arizona St (9pm est)- Not a huge rivalry game but ESPN must have been desperate. At least they got the two best teams in the league here. Also got a good rematch of a OT game at UCLA where ASU pulled out a close win. ASU best player Hardin is a for sure lottery pick and looks to see if he can lead his team to there first conference title in forever. UCLA with a win could take a stranglehold on another conference title and also a high seed come selection Sunday.

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