Rivalry Week continues with a huge slate of games filled with bad blood Wednesday. We give you betting news and notes for all the Top-25 matchups:
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Texas Tech Red Raiders (+12, 134)
No. 16 Oklahoma State goes for its sixth straight win when it travels to Texas Tech on Wednesday night. The Cowboys have made a January span in which they lost four of six contests seem like a distant memory. Because of the hot streak, Oklahoma State has positioned itself in the thick of the Big 12 race, half a game behind co-leaders No. 13 Kansas and No. 11 Kansas State.
The Red Raiders are on a four-game skid and will be playing to keep breathing room between them and conference newcomer TCU in the Big 12 basement. Oklahoma State routed Texas Tech, 79-45, in Stillwater on Jan. 19, and the Red Raiders have won at home just once in 2013.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Indiana Hoosiers (-24, 134)
There is no question No. 2 Indiana is one of the top teams in the country and has an excellent chance to land one of four No. 1 seeds for the NCAA tournament. If the Hoosiers are to win their sixth national title, though, they'll need 7-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller to continue to play a large role. Indiana hosts Nebraska on Wednesday in what figures to be a lopsided affair, so the Hoosiers should have little trouble providing Zeller more of an opportunity to become the focal point of the offense.
Zeller, a national player of the year candidate, scored a season-high 24 points in Indiana's 81-68 victory at then-No. 10 Ohio State on Saturday, but perhaps the most encouraging aspect was how aggressive he was in demanding the ball. The Cornhuskers, who are 11th in the 12-team Big Ten, got a boost of confidence with a 67-53 victory over last-place Penn State on Saturday. Nebraska, though, must shoot better than the 29.2 percent it achieved against the Nittany Lions for it to have a remote chance of an upset.
Charlotte 49ers at Butler Bulldogs (-12, 131)
Charlotte will try to get back on track when it visits No. 10 Butler on Wednesday night. After starting the season as the hottest team in the Atlantic-10 by winning their first nine games and 16 of 19, the 49ers have lost four of their last six and are coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season. Charlotte lost 68-61 at home to VCU on Saturday and fell 89-88 at Temple on Feb. 6.
Butler, the first A-10 team to reach 20 wins this season, has a three-game win streak and is coming off a 59-56 victory at George Washington on Saturday that helped it maintain a share of the conference lead with VCU and Saint Louis. The Bulldogs, who are 12-0 at home, last met Charlotte in 1993. The 49ers are 2-1 in the series.
Miami Hurricanes at Florida State Seminoles (+5, 124)
Miami (Fla.) continues to roll along, winning by more than 20 points four times in the last three weeks to take control of the ACC race. The fourth-ranked Hurricanes will be challenged with four road games in the next six, starting with a trip to play inconsistent Florida State on Wednesday. Miami can become the first ACC team to start 11-0 in the league since North Carolina in 2000-01 and extend its winning streak to 12 for the first time since 2007-08. The Hurricanes pounded the Seminoles 71-47 on Jan. 27 at home, but they have not won at Tallahassee since 2006.
Florida State have alternated wins and losses the last seven, capped by a dispiriting 71-46 thumping at Wake Forest last Saturday. The Seminoles, who stand last in the ACC in rebounding, are 6-6 at home overall -- 2-2 in conference play.
DePaul Blue Demons at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-14, 148)
On the heels of winning the longest regular-season game in Big East history over the weekend, No. 21 Notre Dame will host another team on Wednesday that stretched it into overtime earlier this month in DePaul. The Fighting Irish overcame an eight-point deficit with 50 seconds left in regulation and survived through five overtimes before toppling Louisville on Saturday. Oddly enough, Notre Dame’s second conference overtime win was only a week removed from its first such victory – a 79-71 triumph over the Blue Demons.
The Irish have won four of five and stand a good chance of keeping the pressure on the four teams above them in the standings. Their next two opponents – DePaul and Providence – are among the five teams in the Big East with losing conference records. The Blue Demons are mired in an eight-game slide after Saturday’s loss at Marquette and have dropped five straight road games against Notre Dame.
Syracuse Orange at UConn Huskies (+3, 131)
No.7 Syracuse looks for its third straight Big East win when the Orange travels to Connecticut for a Big East rivalry game Wednesday. Syracuse cruised past St. John’s 77-58 on Sunday in senior swingman James Southerland’s return from a six-game, academic-related suspension. Six days earlier, the Orange responded from back-to-back conference losses with a 63-47 rout of No. 21 Notre Dame. Syracuse is still without freshman forward DaJuan Coleman, who underwent minor knee surgery on Jan. 29.
The Huskies are fresh off a 78-67 comeback win over Seton Hall on Sunday in which Shabazz Napier led the way with 22 points, nine assists and six steals. Connecticut has won four of five after starting 2-3 in Big East play and sits two games behind the Orange in the conference. All six teams above the Huskies are nationally ranked. Syracuse beat Connecticut three times last season, including a 58-55 victory in the Big East Tournament semifinal to snap the Huskies’ 13-game postseason win streak.
Creighton Bluejays at Northern Iowa Panthers (+2, 127)
No. 23 Creighton looks to bounce back from back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference losses when the Bluejays travel to Northern Iowa Wednesday night. Creighton, the most-efficient field-goal shooting team in the nation at 51 percent, is coming off losses to Indiana State and Illinois State and will likely lose a share of first place in the conference with a third straight defeat. National Player of the Year Candidate Doug McDermott (23.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) scored a season-low eight points on 3-of-10 shooting against the Sycamores before managing 24 points on 0-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc in Creighton’s 75-72 loss to the Redbirds on Saturday. The Bluejays are currently tied with Wichita State and Indiana State atop the MVC conference standings.
The Panthers host the Bluejays riding a three-game winning streak that includes a 57-52 win over then-No. 15 Wichita State on Feb. 2. Most recently, Northern Iowa held off a stifling second-half comeback from Bradley for a 68-65 win on Saturday. The Panthers are 11-2 at home this season and undefeated in their last five games at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. Northern Iowa is tied with Evansville for fourth in the MVC, trailing the trio of leaders by two games. Creighton defeated the Panthers 79-68 on Jan. 15.
Central Florida Knights at Memphis Tigers (-13, 139)
No. 25 Memphis looks to extend its 14-game winning streak and stay perfect in Conference USA play when it hosts Central Florida on Wednesday. The Tigers have quietly been one of the hottest teams in the country, with their only losses on the season coming to VCU, Minnesota and Louisville, who have all been nationally-ranked.
The Knights are hoping to pull closer to Memphis in the league standings, with Southern Miss and Central Florida sitting two games behind the Tigers heading into this contest. This is the first of two meetings between the two teams in the next three weeks, so getting a win now could set up a big showdown on UCF's homecourt on March 2. But beating Memphis these days is easier said than done, with only four of the 14 straight wins coming by fewer than 10 points.
North Carolina Tar Heels at Duke Blue Devils (-11, 156)
Duke looks to extend its winning streak to six when the top-ranked Blue Devils and Tar Heels renew the Tobacco Road rivalry on Wednesday in Durham. Duke enters the contest in sole possession of second in the ACC, two games behind first-place Miami. Senior forward Mason Plumlee is the reigning ACC player of the week after averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in wins over North Carolina State and Boston College.
North Carolina has won six of its past eight games, but the Tar Heels looked overmatched in an 87-61 loss at Miami on Saturday. The Tar Heels allowed the Hurricanes to shoot 54.4 percent from the field, and they’ve allowed an average of 79.6 points in their seven losses. They’ll need a much stronger effort against a Duke team that leads the ACC in scoring while averaging 75.8 points in conference action.
San Diego State Aztecs at Colorado State Rams (-5, 126)
Colorado State is nationally ranked for the first time since 1954 and puts its 26-game homecourt winning streak on the line when it meets No. 22 San Diego State on Wednesday. The No. 24 Rams have a rising program under first-year coach Larry Eustachy and are in second place in the Mountain West Conference, a half-game ahead of the Aztecs. San Diego State defeated the Rams 79-72 in overtime on Jan. 12 in San Diego.
The Aztecs were the preseason conference favorite but lost three of their first seven league games before winning their last two outings. San Diego State faces a tough week with a visit to Nevada-Las Vegas looming on Saturday after the Colorado State contest. “We know what it takes to win away games and we have been in that environment before,” junior guard Jamaal Franklin said after Saturday’s win over Fresno State. Rams senior forward Greg Smith was giddy upon learning Monday that the Rams had become nationally ranked. “I think all of us that have been around here for a while are really just happy that we’re finally being recognized as being one of the best teams in the nation,” Smith said. “We’ve just got to go out and keep playing like it, starting Wednesday.”
New Mexico Lobos at Fresno State Bulldogs (+6, 119)
Just when it looked like New Mexico was ready to pull away in the Mountain West race, the Lobos were tripped up by UNLV on Saturday. New Mexico will try to get back on track Wednesday at last-place Fresno State, which has lost of five of its last six games. The Bulldogs are hoping for a better outcome than the first meeting, when the Lobos cruised to a 72-45 win in the Pit on Jan. 12.
Fresno State doesn’t shoot well enough to contend in the conference, but the Bulldogs’ defense can keep games close. “One of Fresno’s strengths is how hard they play,” San Diego State coach Steve Fisher told the U-T San Diego after the Aztecs beat the Bulldogs 75-53 on Saturday. The Bulldogs will likely struggle again to stop New Mexico center Alex Kirk, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting.