DePaul Blue Demons at Syracuse Orange (-22, 148)
Syracuse will try to stop its slide down the Big East standings and snap a three-game skid when the 16th-ranked Orange host DePaul on Wednesday night. Syracuse has slipped into a tie for fifth in the conference with three straight losses to ranked opponents, but it has a prime opportunity to get on track with a visit from struggling DePaul.
The Blue Demons have lost four straight and 13 of 14 after an 83-73 loss at South Florida on Sunday. DePaul has lost 42 consecutive games against ranked opponents since knocking off No. 16 Villanova on Jan. 3, 2008. Syracuse has won the past six meetings dating to 2006. The Orange have lost two straight at the Carrier Dome after a 38-game home winning streak.
Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers (+6, 134)
Michigan’s Trey Burke has been a model of consistency. The sophomore guard has scored at least 15 points in all 16 Big Ten games as the eighth-ranked Wolverines prepare to play at Purdue on Wednesday. Burke came through with 21 points and had two clutch steals late as Michigan beat rival Michigan State 58-57 on Sunday, rebounding from a damaging loss at Penn State. The Wolverines need help to catch Indiana for a share of the league title, but would like to break out of a four-way tie for second in the conference.
Purdue helped Michigan by winning at second-place Wisconsin 69-56 on Sunday and has won two of three as it attempts to find a way into postseason play. The Boilermakers, who led by a point at halftime on Jan. 24 in Michigan before losing 68-53, stand first in the Big Ten in rebounding and Michigan is eighth.
Oklahoma State Cowboys at Iowa State Cyclones (-2, 151)
Oklahoma State looks to win its fourth straight game when the No. 14 Cowboys visit Iowa State on Wednesday night. Oklahoma State, which is 5-4 on the road, is coming off a 78-65 victory at home against Texas on Saturday. The Cowboys are 63-53 in the series against Iowa State and have won the last two meetings, including a 78-76 victory Jan. 30 in Stillwater.
Iowa State is on a two-game losing streak. The Cyclones are coming off an 86-69 loss at Oklahoma on Saturday. Iowa State is 15-1 at home, its only loss a 108-96 overtime defeat to Kansas on Feb. 25.Georgetown Hoyas at Villanova Wildcats (+1, 118)
On the doorstep of its longest winning streak in over a decade, No. 5 Georgetown can also clinch at least a share of its first regular-season Big East title since 2007-08 on Wednesday with a win at Villanova. The Hoyas, who have twice amassed 11-game winning streaks under coach John Thompson before this season, have a shot of enjoying their longest streak since the 2000-01 team opened up its season with 16 straight victories. Georgetown holds a half-game lead over second-place Louisville and can win the conference outright with two more victories.
Each of the Hoyas’ aforementioned winning streaks have come to an end on the road against Big East foes – a fate they hope to avoid against the Wildcats, who have already defeated two top-five teams this season. Villanova registered consecutive home wins against then-No. 5 Louisville and then-No. 4 Syracuse in late January, but is 5-5 since and has dropped two straight after Sunday’s 73-64 overtime loss at Pittsburgh.
Richmond Spiders at VCU Rams (-13, 136)
No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth doesn't control its own destiny for an Atlantic 10 regular-season championship, but a win over Richmond at home Wednesday would keep the Rams' chances alive. The last time these crosstown rivals met, Jan. 24, the Spiders snapped Virginia Commonwealth's 13-game win streak with an 86-74 overtime victory.
The Rams enter this edition of the Black & Blue Classic having won two of three in a crucial stretch against first-place No. 15 Saint Louis, Butler and Xavier. For Richmond, the win over VCU wasn't the turning point it had hoped. Since then, the Spiders have gone 4-5 with just one road win. But with wins in their last two games -- Richmond closes with last-place Duquesne on Saturday -- the Spiders can improve their conference tournament seed.
Vanderbilt Commodores at Florida Gators (-21, 113)
Ninth-ranked Florida seeks consistency as it takes the floor for its final regular-season home game Wednesday against Vanderbilt. The Gators have dropped two of their past four games, but hold a two-game lead over Kentucky and Alabama and already have clinched a share of the SEC’s regular-season title. Florida needed a 15-0 run to overtake Alabama on Saturday, 64-52, as the Gators shot 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
Vanderbilt is tied with Texas A&M for 10th in the conference, but the Commodores have won three in a row and four of their past five. Vanderbilt beat Georgia and Auburn last week by a combined eight points.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Miami Hurricanes (-14, 120)
After losing at Duke on Saturday, Miami (Fla.) has a chance for a big celebration at home. The seventh-ranked Hurricanes can clinch their first outright ACC title with a victory over visiting Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Miami has dropped its last two on the road, but has yet to lose in 13 games at its BankUnited Center. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin continues to enhance his candidacy for ACC player of the year, recording 25 and 22 points in the last two games for the Hurricanes.
Georgia Tech has shown progress, going 5-6 in the last 11 games since starting with five straight losses in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets struggle offensively, but have played pretty well on the other side of the court -- ranking fourth in the league in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense.Saint Louis Billikens at Xavier Musketeers (+3.5, 118)
No. 15 Saint Louis can claim at least a share of its first regular-season conference title in 42 seasons on Wednesday when it travels to Xavier. The Billikens, who have won 11 straight, are on their longest winning streak since a 14-game winning streak during the 1993-94 season. St. Louis owns a one-game lead over second-place Virginia Commonwealth and can also gain the top seed in the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament with a victory in one of its final two regular-season games.
In order for the Billikens to secure a share of its first regular-season title since finishing in a three-way tie for first in the Missouri Valley Conference during the 1970-71 season, Billikens interim coach Jim Crews will need to get a win over Musketeers coach Chris Mack, who he coached as a player at Evansville for two seasons. Xavier is 1-2 heading into the final game of its four-game homestand and coming off Saturday’s 77-72 loss against Massachusetts after ending Memphis’ 18-game winning streak on Feb. 26.
New Mexico Lobos at Nevada Wolf Pack (+7.5, 131)
No. 11 New Mexico can rest easy heading into the final week of Mountain West play after clinching its fourth conference title in five seasons as well as the No. 1 seed for next week's Mountain West tourney in Las Vegas. "This is a special group of young men to be in a league that's arguably the best in the country and to lead it wire to wire and win it speaks volumes," head coach Steve Alford told the Albuquerque Journal after the Lobos' title-clinching 53-42 victory over visiting Wyoming on Saturday. The Lobos, who are hoping to garner at least a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament with a strong finish, have won five straight since a 64-55 loss at UNLV on Feb. 9.
It's a entirely different story for Nevada, which limps into the contest in ninth (last) place in its first year in the Mountain West and needs a sweep of the Lobos and at Colorado State on Saturday to have any chance of avoiding the dreaded 8 vs. 9 play-in game on Tuesday. The Wolf Pack have dropped a season-high five straight, including a 80-63 home loss to in-state rival UNLV on Saturday, and eight of their last nine. This despite returning three starters from a squad that went 13-1 and won the WAC a year ago.