North Carolina's Marcus Paige (AP Photo)

Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Duke-UNC will finally happen

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 Duke at North Carolina, 9:00 p.m.

Tonight’s the night it finally happens.

Eight days after the game was initially postponed due to a snowstorm, the Blue Devils will make the eight mile trek down Tobacco Road to take on the Tar Heels. North Carolina has been playing much better basketball of late, as Marcus Paige has taken over more point guard duties and James Michael McAdoo has become more consistent over the last month.

Duke, however, has looked like a top ten team as Jabari Parker has embraced the aggressiveness that he needs attacking the rim. While Saturday’s battle between Duke and Syracuse has commandeered the hype, it just doesn’t get much better than Duke-UNC.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 25 Gonzaga at BYU, 11:00 p.m.

You like points? This game will certainly have them. Both Gonzaga and BYU get up and down and put up big numbers on the scoreboard. Neither of them care all that much about defense. BYU desperately needs this win to solidify what is a marginal at-large profile.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 13 Michigan State at Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

The Spartans have struggled of late, losing four of their last seven games as they continue to deal with injuries. Keith Appling and Branden Dawson will both be out of this one. Purdue, on the other hand, has beaten Minnesota and Indiana in recent weeks. Can they keep their hot streak alive?


1) No. 22 Memphis will pay a visit to Rutgers tonight. The Tigers are coming off of a loss to UConn on Saturday.

2) Penn State will pay a visit to Nebraska tonight. The Cornhuskers have played their way onto the bubble, but will success go to their head? They can’t afford a loss.

3) First place in Conference USA is on the line as Middle Tennessee State, UTEP and Louisiana Tech will all be on the road on Thursday night.

4) Weber State, who is in first place in the Big Sky, will pay a visit to rival Montana tonight.

5) Georgetown is still on the bubble, and the one thing that they cannot afford is a loss to a team like Seton Hall. The Hoyas are on the road tonight.


  • No. 21 UConn at Temple, 9:00 p.m.
  • USC at Stanford, 11:00 p.m.
  • St. Mary’s at San Francisco, 11:00 p.m.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.