Duke-UNC rematch, two AAC tilts lead final regular season weekend
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
There haven't been many must-see games in the Ivy this season, but this one qualifies. The Crimson went 66 years between NCAA tournament appearances, but if they win in New Haven they will make the Big Dance for the third straight season. Four weeks ago, Yale beat Harvard in Cambridge behind 21 points and 11 rebounds from 6-foot-8 sophomore Justin Sears, but the Bulldogs are coming in having lost two out of three, and Harvard is playing for history -- and revenge.
Harvard 69, Yale 60
Saturday, Noon, CBS
The last thing Kentucky needs is to play a road game at the No. 1 team in the country, especially since that team has four senior starters playing their last home game with a chance at an undefeated SEC season on the line. I don't think the Wildcats can win, but I'd like to see them do a better job taking care of the ball and defending with a purpose.
Florida 77, Kentucky 70
Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS
Normally I like to pick DHT's (Desperate Home Teams), but in this case I'm going to make an exception. Oregon has won six in a row, but the best of those was a double-overtime win at UCLA when the Bruins were missing their two best players. Oregon will face a much tougher defense than it did on Wednesday night, when the Ducks shot 47 percent from the floor in a win at home over Arizona State.
Arizona 71, Oregon 61
No. 14 North Carolina (23-7) at No. 4 Duke (23-7)
Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN
The Blue Devils thought all they needed was to put on their uniforms on Wednesday night at Wake Forest and they would win. They were wrong. That kind of reality check can either re-focus a team or destroy its confidence. I'm guessing it will be the former, especially since the memories of loss in Chapel Hill three weeks ago are still fresh.
Duke 78, North Carolina 73
No. 21 New Mexico (24-5) at No. 10 San Diego State (26-3)
Saturday, 10 p.m., CBS Sports Network
The Aztecs' offensive issues are not getting better. If anything, they're getting worse, because teams are aggressively keying on the lone scoring threat, Xavier Thames. He shot 6-for-17 in SDSU's win at UNLV Wednesday night. That is not going to fly against a New Mexico team that dominated the Aztecs in Albuquerque two weeks ago. SDSU is normally tough to beat at home, but New Mexico is a bad matchup because of its frontline duo of Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow.
New Mexico 68, San Diego State 64
No. 19 UConn (24-6) at No. 11 Louisville (25-5)
Saturday, 2 p.m., CBS
It's the final regular season meeting between these two teams as members of the same conference. It's Russ Smith's Senior Day. More to the point, Louisville is really, really good.
Louisville 80, UConn 71
Saturday, Noon, ESPN2
Some would say Memphis has been inconsistent lately. I say the Tigers are playing good teams. I also say the Tigers are a good team themselves, and they will return home and bounce back from Thursday's drubbing at Cincinnati. For a team anchored by four seniors, Senior Day should carry special meaning, although it would help if a couple of those seniors made a three-pointer once in a while.
Memphis 79, SMU 75
Sunday, Noon, CBS
It has not been a stellar final season in the ACC for the Terrapins; their inability to win close games will keep them out of the NCAA tournament. During a win over Virginia Tech Wednesday, their best inside player, Charles Mitchell, was sent to the locker room late in the first half for arguing with an assistant coach. Now, their biggest rival is coming to College Park having already wrapped up the regular season championship. The Cavaliers are playing better defense than any team in the country, which is fatal for a Maryland team that has struggled to score.
Virginia 65, Maryland 51
Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
When the University of Nebraska opened the gleaming new Pinnacle Bank Arena last fall, the school could hardly have imagined it would host a game of this magnitude. More than 15,000 strong will be on hand to see their Cornhuskers try to lock up an NCAA bid against the hottest team in the Big Ten. It won't be easy to get that win over the Fighting Kaminskys; but, while Wisconsin would like to win this game, Nebraska needs to win it. Call me sentimental, but I think they will pull it off.
Nebraska 72, Wisconsin 71 (OT)
No. 22 Michigan State (23-7) at Ohio State (22-8)
Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS
Spartans fans don't know whether to cheer or sigh with relief. Not only did Michigan State show signs of its old dominance during a win over Iowa Thursday night, but senior point guard Keith Appling made his first three-pointer since Jan. 28. We've been saying all season that if Michigan State could get its full complement of players, it would be a title contender again. This game in Columbus against an offensively challenged Buckeyes team is another opportunity to prove it.
Michigan State 74, Ohio State 62