The race towards March is on. Check out all of Wednesday's Top 25 betting action:
DePaul Blue Demons at Georgetown Hoyas (-15, 135)
It wasn’t long ago that No. 11 Georgetown was an unranked team that began Big East play with a 2-3 record. However, the Hoyas will put the conference’s longest winning streak on the line on Wednesday when they host DePaul. On Jan. 19, Georgetown provided South Florida with its only league win, but since that setback, the Hoyas have trumped three top-25 opponents and won seven straight overall.
The win streak has allowed Georgetown to move from the bottom half of the conference and into a three-way tie for first with Marquette and Syracuse, the latter of which it will meet Saturday. In the meantime, the Hoyas stand a good chance at remaining atop the Big East with a home game against the Blue Demons. DePaul snapped a nine-game slide with Saturday’s victory over Rutgers, but has lost 11 straight against Georgetown.
Providence Friars at Syracuse Orange (-12.5, 130)
Providence has suddenly put itself in major contention for a postseason bid after a four-game win streak, its longest in Big East play since 2004. The healthier Friars attempt to beat their third ranked team of the month when they travel to Syracuse on Wednesday. Providence was without guards Vincent Council and Kris Dunn for 10 and nine games, respectively, with injuries and leading scorer Bryce Cotton missed two close Friars’ losses. Providence must continue its strong play on the defensive end to win at the Carrier Dome for the first time since 1999.
Eighth-ranked Syracuse is only 3-3 its last six games, but is 15-0 at the Dome this season – 5-0 in league play. The contest will start a critical three-game stretch for the Orange, who host Georgetown on Saturday and play at Marquette on Monday. Syracuse won at Providence 72-66 on Jan. 9.
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes (-6, 121)
Both Minnesota and Ohio State have 18 victories this season, but neither is playing well entering Wednesday’s matchup at Columbus. The visiting Golden Gophers are far removed from a 15-1 start, losing seven of their past 10 and falling into a three-way tie for sixth in the Big Ten standings. Minnesota is last in conference games in defending the 3-point shot, which could prove problematic against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is third in the conference in 3-point shooting (36.5 percent), and junior Lenzelle Smith Jr. (39.1 percent) and Deshaun Thomas (38.5 percent) rank in the top 12 in the Big Ten in shooting from beyond the arc. Ohio State is fifth in the conference standings, three games out of first.
Wisconsin Badgers at Northwestern Wildcats (+7, 112)
No. 17 Wisconsin will be fighting to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive when it travels to slumping Northwestern on Wednesday night. The Badgers are two games behind conference co-leaders No. 1 Indiana and No. 5 Michigan State, but are flying high after a routine 71-49 win over No. 18 Ohio State.
The Wildcats enter on a three-game losing streak, having posted a season-low 41 points against in-state rival Illinois on their home floor on Sunday. Its the longest skid of the season for Northwestern, and even a matchup against a Badger squad that's been less than adequate on the road would seem a tough place to stop it. Wisconsin hasn't lost to the Wildcats since Jan. 7, 2009, in Evanston.
Kansas Jayhawks at Oklahoma State Cowboys (-1.5, 138)
Oklahoma State puts its seven-game win streak on the line Wednesday against No. 9 Kansas in a critical Big 12 contest, with both teams trailing first-place Kansas State by a half-game. The 14th-ranked Cowboys are trending upward behind the play of freshman point guard Marcus Smart, who scored a career-high 28 points in an 84-79 overtime win over Oklahoma on Saturday.
Kansas bounced back after suffering its first three-game losing streak since 2005 with dominating wins over Kansas State and Texas last week. Oklahoma State ended Kansas’ 33-game home win streak with an 85-80 victory Feb. 2, but the Jayhawks have defeated the Cowboys in five of the last seven games. Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore, who leads the Big 12 in scoring in conference play at 17.8 points per game, had 23 points against the Cowboys in the first matchup.
Houston Cougars at Memphis Tigers (-19, 158)
Memphis staved off a second-half rally from Marshall last time out to win its 16th straight game, the second longest streak in the nation. The 19th-ranked Tigers host Houston Wednesday in a Conference USA game needing two more wins to clinch their second-straight conference title. Memphis has try to avoid looking past the Cougars with Southern Mississippi, its lone threat in the conference, on deck.
Houston is coming off a heart-breaking loss to Tulsa in triple overtime. The Cougars scored five points in the final five seconds of regulation to force the extra sessions but ran out of gas in the final period. TaShawn Thomas was named the conference's Player of the Week averaging 27.5 points and 13 rebounds over a pair of games last week.
Colorado State Rams at UNLV Runnin' Rebels (-3, 138)
Colorado State has a clear route to sole possession of first place in the Mountain West. It will be far from easy though. To reach a showdown for the top spot in the league on Saturday with New Mexico, the 21st-ranked Rams must first end UNLV’s 13-game home winning streak on Wednesday night. Colorado State has won six straight contests since losing at New Mexico on Jan.23. That came one game after beating UNLV 66-61 at home. The Rams have five players averaging at least 9.9 points and led the nation in rebounding through Monday.
UNLV has lost three of its last five games, but the two victories were against No. 16 New Mexico and talented San Diego State at home where the Runnin’ Rebels are 15-1 overall and 7-0 in the league. UNLV, led by freshman Anthony Bennett, could use another key victory to seal an NCAA bid.
Washington Huskies at Arizona Wildcats (-12, 137)
A Pac-12 championship is still within reach for No. 12 Arizona heading into its game Wednesday night against visiting Washington. The Wildcats ended a two-game losing streak with a win Sunday against Utah, leaving them a game behind first-place Oregon with five remaining. Washington ended a three-game losing streak with Saturday’s victory against Oregon State. The Huskies, the defending conference champions, were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 but are tied for eighth with Stanford.
Washington has one of the premier scorers in the Pac-12 in junior guard C.J. Wilcox but he was stymied by Nick Johnson when these teams met Jan. 31, scoring 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting in the 57-53 win by the visiting Wildcats. That was part of an overall decline by Wilcox, in which he shot 34.9 percent from the floor during an eight-game stretch that resulted in seven losses. He regained his touch against Oregon State, shooting 7-for-14 and scoring 24 points.
Santa Clara Broncos at Gonzaga Bulldogs (-15, 142)
No. 3 Gonzaga appeared to have cleared the last major hurdle on the way to an undefeated season in the West Coast Conference when it eased past Saint Mary's to cap a sweep against its biggest conference rival. The Zags host dangerous Santa Clara needing one more win to match the most its ever had in regular-season play. Kelly Olynyk continues to state his claim for national Player of the Year winning the conference's weekly honor for the second time last week.
Rising Santa Clara looks to end the Zags' eight-game winning streak in the one-sided series. Gonzaga has won 26 of the last 27 meetings. Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating has beaten Gonzaga just once, that coming in 2011. The Broncos beat Pepperdine last game 70-60 as senior Raymond Cowels III scored the 1,000th point in his career.