Duke v Syracuse

Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Duke-UNC, Pitt-Cuse highlight snowy night

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 1 Syracuse at No. 25 Pitt

The game that everyone is going to be talking about will take place down on Tobacco Road, but the most important game of the night is going to be played in Pittsburgh, as the Panthers host No. 1 Syracuse in an old school Big East battle disguised an ACC Rivalry Week headline. The Orange are undefeated this season, but they are also 1-6 at the Peterson Events Center, where the Panthers are 9-0 under Jamie Dixon against top five teams. Pitt needs this win badly, however, as they have yet to beat a team that’s climbed above the bubble this season.

I can write all about how Jamie Dixon knows how break down the Syracuse zone or how they have the pieces to matchup with the Orange up front, but at the end of the day, Pitt won’t have a chance to win if Lamar Patterson’s thumb isn’t healthy.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 8 Duke at North Carolina, 9:00 p.m.

This will be fun. It looks like this game may end up being packed with students, as a snow storm is currently slamming the state, making traffic about as fun as it was in Atlanta last week. As far as the game itself, North Carolina is streaking right now, but they are doing it by knocking off teams that the Heels simply shouldn’t lose to. Duke has also found a rhythm, as Jabari Parker is playing as well as he has since November.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: New Mexico at Boise State, 9:15 p.m.

Boise State is not an easy place to play, and the Broncos are a difficult team for New Mexico to matchup with. It’s easy to look as BSU’s record and think this will be a win for UNM, but remember that Leon Rice’s club was up big on SDSU and UNLV late in the game before blowing those two leads.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) George Washington will be squaring off with VCU in a battle for second place in the Atlantic 10. The game will be shown on the NBC Sports Network.

2) No. 6 Villanova will be heading to Chicago to take on a DePaul team that will be without Cleveland Melvin, who got the boot last week.

3) No. 14 Kentucky is heading to Auburn, where they should win if they can get to the arena through the storm. The attendance at this game might end up being in the single digits.

4) Playing their first game since Marcus Smart overshadowed their best win of the season, Texas Tech will be headed up to Norman to take on Oklahoma.

5) Some bubble games on the docket tonight:

  • Baylor at TCU, 7:00 p.m.
  • Penn State at Indiana, 8:00 p.m.
  • LSU at Texas A&M, 9:00 p.m.
  • Stanford at Washington, 9:00 p.m.
  • Cal at Washington State, 11:00 p.m.

NOTABLES:

  • Central Florida at No. 20 Memphis, 9:00 p.m.
  • South Florida at No. 24 UConn, 7:00 p.m.

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.

No. 23 USC falls at Arizona State

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley applauds the efforts of his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
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No. 23 USC missed a golden opportunity to make up a game in the Pac-12 standings on Friday night.

No. 11 Oregon lost to Colorado on Thursday night, dropping back into a tie for first place in the league with the Trojans, a game ahead of No. 17 Arizona. But USC fell at Arizona State, 74-67, keeping them a game off of the pace that the Ducks have set.

The loss is even more painful when you consider that, on Sunday, the Trojans will be making the trip to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Wildcats are not what we have become accustomed to seeing under Sean Miller, but they are still a top 25 team and the McKale Center is still one of the toughest places in the country to get a win.

Thanks to Friday’s loss, instead of entering McKale with an outside chance of taking over sole possession of first place in the league, USC will have top hope they don’t fall two games off the pace.

As far as the game itself was concerned, USC committed 17 turnovers, shot 2-for-11 from three and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona State. That’s how you lose a game where you shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. USC was just never able to consistently get out into transition, and that caused them to struggle¬†executing in the half court.

Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 25 points and 15 boards for USC.

Tra Holder’s 20 points made the difference for Arizona State, who kept themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid with the win.