Wednesday NCAAB Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their College Basketball picks and predictions for Wednesday, January 21.
Northwestern at Michigan State, 6:30PM ET
As a perennial Big Ten power, Michigan State has established a significant home-court advantage at the Breslin Center since its opening two decades ago.
Northwestern is fully aware of the Spartans' dominance there.
Off to their best conference start in more than 30 years, the seventh-ranked Spartans look to extend their home winning streak to 29 games on Wednesday when they host the Wildcats, who have never won at the East Lansing venue.
Michigan State (15-2, 5-0) stayed atop the conference standings with a 63-57 win over Illinois on Saturday, but it wasn't easy. The Spartans rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit, and closed the game with a 12-3 run to win their 11th in a row.
Villanova at Connecticut, 7:00PM ET
Jeff Adrien has had his way in the paint over the past few games, recording three consecutive double-doubles to help Connecticut get through a lighter portion of its Big East slate.
As the schedule toughens up, Adrien's ready to do the same.
Minutes after the third-ranked Huskies defeated their latest opponent, Adrien was looking ahead to his team's two showdowns this week, beginning on Wednesday night in Hartford against No. 20 Villanova.
UConn lost its conference opener to Georgetown on Dec. 29, but has since reeled off five straight wins. The Huskies (16-1, 5-1) won three in a row on the road from Jan. 6-15 before returning home on Sunday to face woeful Seton Hall, and they made sure early that the Pirates wouldn't have a chance.
A.J. Price scored 14 of his 23 points in the first half as UConn jumped out to a 16-point lead, and cruised to a 76-61 victory behind the dominant inside duo of Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet.
Thabeet had 15 points and 17 rebounds while Adrien chipped in 13 and 12.
Adrien immediately seemed ready to move on and prepare for a tough week ahead. UConn has lost its last two games to Villanova (14-3, 2-2), and then on Saturday will try to end No. 19 Notre Dame's 45-game home winning streak.
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 7:00PM ET
The last time Wake Forest was No. 1, its stay at the top lasted two weeks. If the Demon Deacons want to hold the nation's highest ranking for longer, they first need to get by an opponent that has proved troublesome over the last couple of years.
Top-ranked for the second time in school history and the last remaining unbeaten team in Division I, Wake Forest (16-0, 3-0) hosts Virginia Tech (12-5, 2-1) in an ACC matchup Wednesday.
The Hokies have taken four of the last five meetings with the Demon Deacons, including an 80-58 rout last season in Blacksburg, and Virginia Tech enters this game with three straight wins and a 7-1 mark in its last eight games.
However, the Hokies will face a Wake Forest team that has reached No. 1 by producing the best start in school history and passing a few tests already this season.
Since Jan. 3, the Demon Deacons have ended BYU's national-record home win streak, knocked off third-ranked North Carolina, thumped Boston College by 20 points on the road and ended No. 10 Clemson's undefeated run with a 78-68 road victory Saturday.
The win over the Tigers combined with Pittsburgh's loss at Louisville on the same day pushed Wake Forest to No. 1 for the first time since Chris Paul helped the Demon Deacons occupy the top spot from Nov. 22-29, 2004.
Posted: 1/21/09 9:50AM ET