Shane Southwell, Angel Rodriguez, Rodney McGruder

Pregame Shootaround 2.11.13: Sunflower Showdown heats up

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Game of the Night: No. 10 Kansas State at No. 14 Kansas (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

We may still be more than a month away from the start of March Madness, but it’s hard to imagine much more riding on a game than there is tonight in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are coming off of a three-game losing streak, having their offensive issues supplemented with confidence issues that have put them in a position that we’ve rarely seen out of a Bill Self-coached team: second place in the conference standings. That’s right. Kansas, who has won at least a share of the last eight Big 12 regular season titles, is currently sitting a game behind in-state rival K-State for the Big 12 lead.

That should give you a sense of just how big tonight’s game is. With a win, the Wildcats would move two games up on Kansas with seven left to play. And those final seven games aren’t exactly a murder’s row. They get Baylor twice and have to make a trip to Oklahoma State. Beyond that? A lot of ‘meh’, which means that Kansas State is one win in Lawrence away from having the Big 12 title within their sights.

The Phog will be rocking tonight.

Mid-Major matchup of the night: Old Dominion at Delaware (7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSports)

Since firing head coach Blaine Taylor, Old Dominion has notched a win at Drexel and taken CAA leader Northeastern to overtime. Tonight, they visit Delaware. This Monarch team seems to have something to prove to the CAA. The Blue Hens better be ready for a fight.

Five Things to Watch For:

1) No. 15 Georgetown wil host No. 18 Marquette tonight in the Big Monday opener. There haven’t been ten coaches in the country that have consistently churned out winners like Buzz Williams. Every year, he loses a handful of pieces that make you think his program is ready for a rebuilding season. And by the time Big East play roles around, you realize that all he needs to rebuild in non-conference play. It will be interesting to see how the Golden Eagles handle Georgetown’s zone. They struggled with it the last time these two got together in Milwaukee, where Marquette survived when Greg Whittington missed a free throw with 2.3 seconds left on the clock.

2) Oklahoma will host TCU, who knocked off Kansas last week. The Horned Frogs then proceeded to lose by double-digits to West Virginia.

3) Don’t expect to see Sacred Heart visit Bryant of Central Connecticut State play Quinnipiac, as the northeast is still digging out from Winter Storm Nemo.

4) There are three teams sitting with two losses in the SWAC. All three — Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Southern, and Texas Southern — play tonight.

5) Norfolk State and North Carolina Central are both undefeated this season in the MEAC, but they won’t play unless they meet in the conference tournament title game. That said, both teams will take the court in league play tonight.

Top 25

  • No. 18 Marquette at No. 15 Georgetown (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • No. 10 Kansas State at No. 14 Kansas (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Ex-Duke guard, Marshall assistant Chris Duhon suspended after arrest

Chris Duhon
AP Photo/The Herald-Dispatch, Sholten Singer
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Marshall assistant coach Chris Duhon has been suspended by the university after he was arrested on a charge of aggravateddrunken driving early Monday morning.

Duhon, who is currently in his second season at Marshall, was booked into the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville, West Virginia, at 4:15 a.m. on Monday, according to the Herald-Dispatch.

The athletic department released a statement saying that Duhon had been suspended later on Monday.

Duhon was a member of Duke’s 2001 National Title team. He played for the Blue Devils from 2000-2004 and spent nine years in the NBA with the Bulls, Knicks, Magic and Lakers.

North Carolina’s Marcus Paige to play on Tuesday

Marcus Paige
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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No. 9 North Carolina will be at full strength when they host No. 2 Maryland on Tuesday.

“He’ll play,” head coach Roy Williams said on ESPNU’s college basketball podcast. “Unless something weird happens today in practice. He practiced Friday and Saturday.”

Paige was an Preseason All-American, but he broke a broke a bone in his right — non-shooting — hand prior to the start of the season. Prior to the 2014-15 season, Paige was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year, but he had a disappointing year as he spent the majority of last season battling a variety of injuries, from plantar fasciitis to sprained ankles.

He missed the first six games of this season with the hand injury, including UNC’s loss at Northern Iowa last week.