Before getting into the games of Thursday it would be appropriate to mention the tragic death of University of Southern Indiana basketball player Jeron Lewis, who fell and hit his head during a game against Kentucky Wesleyan. Tragically the senior had returned to school following the birth of his first child around Christmas. An autopsy will be performed on Friday. Jeron Lewis was 21 years old.
Three Key Happenings
Game of the Night: Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s (11:00 PM, ESPN2)
The final day of the decade also offers conference openers in both the Big Ten and Pac-10 with the best matchup being Ohio State visiting Madison to take on Wisconsin. Bo Ryan's club has been dominant during his tenure at the school in Big Ten home games, boasting a record of 61-5 in those games. Trevon Hughes is arguably playing the best basketball of any point guard in the conference and with the Buckeyes still without Evan Turner points could be even tougher to come by.
Betting odds are a great guide to college basketball entertainment. Unlike fans, who often ride the wave of media predictions, betting lines tend to be a bit more focused and can give you an objective picture of how teams matchup (though lines too can get caught up in the wave of human emotion).
A champion will be crowned out in Maui when Gonzaga takes on Cincinnati on ESPN. Both teams played well in semifinal wins on Tuesday, and there are some intriguing matchups to be seen. Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray going up against Deonta Vaughn and Cashmere Wright, Yancy Gates and Robert Sacre banging inside and a pair of talented freshmen (Lance Stephenson and Elias Harris) can all be seen in this one.
Gonzaga lacks the star power of recent seasons, so perhaps this is the year they get knocked out of 1st place. Portland looks to have the best chance, but Santa Clara, San Diego, and Saint Mary's are no slouches either.
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