Tuesday NCAAB Picks

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Tuesday, March 3.

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Rutgers at Syracuse, 9:00PM ET

As one of the top offenses in the nation, scoring is rarely a problem for Syracuse. Slowing down opponents is where the Orange have run into trouble, but they've suddenly stepped up their defense.

The 25th-ranked Orange look for another strong defensive effort Tuesday night as they go for their 13th straight home victory over Rutgers, which is trying to avoid its eighth consecutive loss.

After being left out of the Feb. 23 poll - the first time since Nov. 24 it was not in the Top 25 - Syracuse (21-8, 9-7 Big East) returned to the rankings Monday on the heels of two lopsided wins. The Orange, the top-scoring team in the Big East (80.2), beat Cincinnati 87-63 on Sunday after an 87-58 win over St. John's last Tuesday.

While Syracuse's offense continued to roll in those two victories, its defense surprisingly led the way.

The Orange's 2-3 zone baffled the Bearcats, who scored 17 points in the first half while making just 6 of 30 shots - including 1 of 15 from 3-point range.

NCAA Free Pick: Rutgers  View Game Matchup | Best Line: +16 Sportsbook.com

Wake Forest at Maryland, 9:00PM ET

Wake Forest didn't have a great showing its last time out but still managed to beat one of the ACC's worst teams. It probably won't be as lucky with a sub-par performance against a Maryland team making a late push for an NCAA tournament bid.

In their first meeting of the season, the 10th-ranked Demon Deacons look to avoid losing their fifth straight to the Terrapins on Tuesday night in College Park.

Led by sophomores Jeff Teague and James Johnson, Wake Forest (22-5, 9-5 ACC) boasts the fifth-best scoring offense in the nation (82.1), but each struggled to get on track in Saturday's 70-60 win over Virginia.

Johnson had eight points on 4-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds after averaging 26.0 points on 73.3 percent shooting and 13.3 boards in his previous three games.

NCAA Free Pick: Maryland View Game Matchup | Best Line: +1.5 Sportsbook.com

Florida State at Duke, 8:00PM ET

This weekend, Duke visits its archrival in a game that could potentially decide the ACC title. While that matchup is already receiving some hype, the seventh-ranked Blue Devils can't avoid overlooking Tuesday's opponent.

Led by the dangerous Toney Douglas, No. 24 Florida State looks for its seventh win in nine games as it arrives at Cameron Indoor Stadium on the heels of an upset victory.

With only two regular season games remaining, Duke (24-5, 10-4) is seeking its first conference title since 2005-06. The second-place Blue Devils are one game behind second-ranked North Carolina, and the two powerhouses meet Sunday at Chapel Hill.

Duke didn't look like it would be playing for the ACC title after dropping back-to-back games in mid-February, but it's since won four games to stay in the race.

The Blue Devils defeated Virginia Tech 72-65 on Saturday, but it wasn't easy. With just over 30 seconds remaining, Kyle Singler threw a baseball-style inbound pass to Greg Paulus at the other end of the court for an easy layup that put Duke up 68-63.

NCAA Free Pick: Duke View Game Matchup | Best Line: -12 Sportsbook.com

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Posted: 3/3/09 11:07AM ET

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