PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Georgetown/Syracuse, Arizona/Gonzaga lead a fun Saturday

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 14 Syracuse at Georgetown, 1:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s weekend preview:

The rivalry renewed.

For the first time since Syracuse left for the ACC and forced the old Big East to become the American while the new Big East split off, the Orange and the Hoyas — the fiercest rivalry from what was once college basketball’s best conference — will square off on a college basketball court. This year’s edition will take place at The Phone Booth in Washington, D.C., but the shame of it all is that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim will not be allowed to coach. He’s not even allowed to communicate with his team, as he “won” an appeal and will begin serving his nine-game suspension on Saturday.

Which kind of sucks, right? John Thompson Jr. is going to be there, and it was Big John and Boeheim that started this whole deal back in the late 70’s. Big John is still a larger-than-life presence around the Georgetown program — his son is the coach — and missing out on the chance to get those two legends of the game together is a blow.

Everyone is ripping the NCAA for this decision. I’ll get in on that as well. YOU COULDN’T HAVE WAITED UNTIL MONDAY????

Really?

Thanks, guys.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 19 Arizona at No. 13 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Also from Rob’s weekend preview:

This game doesn’t have quite as much intrigue as it did last season, but there is still plenty at stake here. Arizona is going to be looking to bounce back from a performance in the Wooden Legacy that left people seriously doubting whether or not they are going to be able to contend for the Pac-12 title. Winning at Gonzaga? That’s a good way to win back those doubters. For the Zags, they’re looking to notch a second win over a ranked team, having beaten UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis last week.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR

1. Ole Miss head up to Amherst to take on UMass in a game that will give the nation a chance to see Stefan Moody — a 5-foot-8 guard with a 45 inch vertical and range to 30 feet — play on NBCSN and the Live Extra App.

2. No. 10 Virginia should win this game handily, but William & Mary is pretty good this year. They already won by 17 at N.C. State this season.

3. Rivalry game! Providence and Kris Dunn will head to Rhode Island to determine who is the king of our nation’s smallest state. The shame here? E.C. Matthews is injured so we won’t get to see those two go head-to-head.

4. No. 11 Purdue should get a test from New Mexico, but it will be interesting to see if the Lobos have the size inside to handle Purdue. Watch for the production of New Mexico forward Tim Williams, who has to have a good game for the Lobos to have a shot.

5. Arizona State hosting No. 18 Texas A&M is an intriguing nightcap. The Sun Devils have two consecutive two-point victories, so they’ve been managing to win close games. They’ll try to stay close enough to win over a ranked opponent as the Aggies as deep and balanced.

6. Ohio State hosts VMI today as the Buckeyes look to snap a four-game losing streak. The Buckeyes have not looked cohesive at all and need to forge an identity at both ends of the floor.

OTHER TOP 25 GAMES

  • Binghamton at No. 3 Michigan State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Harvard at No. 4 Kansas, 2:15 p.m.
  • Buffalo at No. 7 Duke, 4:15 p.m.
  • Western Kentucky at No. 12 Xavier, 7:30 p.m.
  • Kennesaw State at No. 20 West Virginia, 11:30 a.m.
  • Charlotte at No. 21 Miami, 3:oo p.m.
  • New Hampshire at No. 22 SMU, 12:30 p.m.
  • No. 23 Providence at Rhode Island, 6:00 p.m.
  • Grand Canyon at No. 24 Louisville, 11:00 a.m.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Bucknell at N.C. State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Indiana State at Butler, 11:00 a.m.
  • Seton Hall at Rutgers, 11:00 a.m.
  • Eastern Michigan at Penn State, 11:00 a.m.
  • Temple at Wisconsin, 11:30 a.m.
  • IPFW at Utah, 1:00 p.m.
  • Abilene Christian at Nebraska, 1:00 p.m.
  • North Florida at Dayton, 1:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Loyola (IL), 1:00 p.m.
  • Chicago State at DePaul, 1:00 p.m.
  • Houston Baptist at Michigan, 1:00 p.m.
  • Maine at Marquette, 1:30 p.m.
  • Cal at Wyoming, 2:00 p.m.
  • SIU Edwardsville at Northwestern, 2:00 p.m.
  • Weber State at BYU, 2:00 p.m.
  • UMKC at Iowa, 2:00 p.m.
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Virginia Tech, 2:00 p.m.
  • Western Carolina at Illinois, 2:00 p.m.
  • South Dakota at Minnesota, 2:00 p.m.
  • Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m.
  • South Florida at South Carolina, 3:00 p.m.
  • Nevada at Oregon State, 3:00 p.m.
  • Georgia Tech at Tulane, 4:00 p.m.
  • Southeast Missouri State at Memphis, 6:00 p.m.
  • Morehead State at Indiana, 6:00 p.m.
  • UIC at UCF, 6:00 p.m.
  • Colgate at TCU, 7:00 p.m.
  • Wichita State at Saint Louis, 8:00 p.m.