Friday NCAAB Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Friday, March 13.
Penn State at Purdue, 9:00PM ET
A healthy Robbie Hummel may have made a difference in improving where Purdue finished in the Big Ten.
The No. 24 Boilermakers just hope he's healthy enough now to help them in the postseason.
Hummel and Purdue play their Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game against Penn State on Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse, looking for just its second win in the conference tournament since 2002.
Purdue (22-9) is looking to regain some momentum after dropping three of its final four regular-season games, closing with a 62-51 loss to then-No. 8 Michigan State on Sunday. The third-seeded Boilermakers, who were favored to win their first regular-season title since the 1995-96 season, finished four games behind the Spartans in a tie with Illinois for second place in the Big Ten.
Boston College at Duke, 9:20PM ET
After struggling through the middle of its conference schedule, Duke played well down the stretch - a run the Blue Devils hope will help them end their recent postseason struggles.
Playing their first game in the ACC tournament against one of the last teams to beat them could be a good barometer of their progress.
The ninth-ranked Blue Devils begin what they hope will be a long postseason run Friday night in a quarterfinals matchup against Boston College, which snapped a 24-year drought in the series less than one month ago.
Duke (25-6) dropped four of six games from Jan. 28-Feb. 15, the last of which was an 80-74 loss at Boston College. The Blue Devils were outscored 48-37 in the second half and allowed the Eagles to shoot a season-high 58.8 percent overall in their first loss to Boston College since March 17, 1985.
The Blue Devils rebounded from their slump by winning five in a row before a 79-71 defeat at then-No. 2 North Carolina in their regular-season finale Sunday. They hope to carry their recent success into tournament play, where they haven't had much over the last two years.
After finishing the 2007-08 regular season with a 26-4 record, Duke managed one win in the ACC tournament before getting upset by Clemson in the semifinals.
Villanova at Louisville, 7:00PM ET
When Louisville and Villanova met in a tight, physical battle more than two months ago, each team got a taste of what was ahead in a challenging Big East season, and both squads are happy with how it turned out.
Only one of the two will get a chance to play for the conference tournament title, however, something the fifth-ranked Cardinals and No. 10 Wildcats will settle when they meet in the semifinals Friday night at Madison Square Garden - a game Villanova reached with a thrilling last-second victory.
Louisville was ranked 23rd when it won 61-60 at then-No. 18 Villanova on Jan. 10, but neither surging team has received as much attention this season as league rivals Connecticut and Pittsburgh, both of which have held the No. 1 spot in the Top 25.
However, it was the Cardinals (26-5) who earned the top seed in the Big East tournament by going 16-2 in conference play, including five wins over ranked teams and a seven-game winning streak to close the regular season. With two more victories, they could end up with a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
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Posted: 3/13/09 12:48AM ET