With there still being one day left in the weekend we've gout ourselves quite the question: who should be the nation's top-ranked team when the new polls are released on Monday? The top two teams, Kansas and Kentucky, went on the road Saturday and return to their respective campuses with losses. The Jayhawks fell to an Oklahoma State team likely one marquee win away from sewing up an NCAA bid 85-77 as they were unable to slow down James Anderson (27 points, eight rebounds) and three other Cowboys who finished in double figures.
Touted as the "Game of the Year" in the Big East, either Villanova or Syracuse will take a step towards a regular season title in front of what's expected to be the largest crowd in Carrier Dome history. The Wildcats bounced back from two straight losses to beat USF earlier this week while the Orange outran a Providence squad whose defense would be complimented if described as a "speed bump". Can the Wildcats find enough open looks (that they want) against the tough Syracuse zone?
While UConn/Syracuse and Duke/North Carolina have been given the ESPN stage on Wednesday night neither one is the biggest game of the night. For that honor, look out west where UNLV hosts New Mexico in a game matching two of the three teams tied for first place in the Mountain West. The Lobos have won seven straight since losing 74-62 to the Runnin' Rebels back on January 9th, and in addition to the revenge angle Steve Alford's team needs the win to avoid losing out on an important tiebreaker.
The beginning of conference play can be quite an adjustment for teams, especially if you rely on players who haven't been through league play before. That may have been what happened to #14 New Mexico in San Diego, where they slowly lost control of the game in a 74-64 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West opener for both. But the Aztecs suffered a loss during the game with Billy White going down late in the first half to a high (right) ankle sprain.
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