ESPN has been touting this week as “Rivalry Week” and the World Wide Leader has a terrific doubleheader for Thursday night.
No. 8 North Carolina visits Cameron Indoor Stadium to play No. 18 Duke at 8 p.m. in the ESPN opener. No. 5 Oregon travels to Los Angeles to face No. 10 UCLA at 10 p.m. in the nightcap.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer writes that this is a chance for Duke take a giant leap forward. The Blue Devils have won three straight, including a 72-64 win over visiting Pittsburgh last Saturday in Mike Krzyzewski’s first game back after undergoing back surgery.
Jesskia Morgan of the News and Observer reports on Duke center Amile Jefferson, preparing for his final year of the rivalry. Meanwhile, Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald Sun reports that Duke’s guards appear to be finding come cohesion before the North Carolina game.
Dana O’Neil of espn.com reports that North Carolina is expected to have Theo Pinson available after a three-game absence. Andrew Carter of the Charlotte Observer reports on the how UNC’s Isaiah Hicks grew from his “deer in the headlights” says. Carter also reports that North Carolina coach Roy Williams thinks the Grayson Allen scrutiny has gone overboard.
Ken Pomeroy ranks North Carolina at No. 11 in overall efficiency. The Tar Heels rank sixth in offensive efficiency, 34th in defensive efficiency. Duke ranks 15th overall. The Ble Devils are 14th in offense and 32nd in defense.
Meanwhile, UCLA is No. 1 the Pomeroy rankings for offensive efficiency. Steve Alford’s club is 116th defensively, however, and 18th overall. Oregon is one spot back at 19th overall. The Ducks are 14th defensively and 36th offensively.
An Oregon win would tie the Ducks with Arizona at the top of the Pac-12 standings. Oregon whipped Arizona 85-58 last Saturday. Oregon also beat UCLA 89-87 last month in Eugene.
Aaron Torres of Fox Sports lists five five factors that will decide the second meeting between the two clubs. Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes that UCLA is not dwelling on the loss in the first game. Clay Folwer of the Inland Valley Times says the Bruins do what to redeem that last-second defeat. Chantel Jennings of espn.com writes that Dillon Brooks’ emotions, good or bad, guide Oregon.
The Associated Press runs down the particulars of the rematch.
At 7 p.m., you might want to check out Purdue at Indiana on ESPN2. Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall has a preview as Indiana needs a win over the Bolermakers. If it’s not a must-win for the Hoosiers, it’s close, writes Zac Osterman of the Indianapolis Star.
Here is the full list of games for Thursday:
Thursday, Feb. 7
▪ 7:00 - Purdue at Indiana (ESPN2)
▪ 7:00 - Winthrop at UNC Asheville (ESPNU)
▪ 7:00 - Belmont at Jacksonville State (CBS Sports)
▪ 8:00 - North Carolina at Duke (ESPN)
▪ 9:00 - Wisconsin at Nebraska (Big 10)
▪ 9:00 - Washington State at Utah (Pac-12)
▪ 9:00 - SMU at Temple (ESPN2)
▪ 9:00 - Missouri State at Wichita State (CBS Sports)
▪ 9:00 - New Hampshire at Vermont (ESPNU)
▪ 10:00 - Washington at Colorado (Fox Sports 1)
▪ 10:00 - Oregon at UCLA (ESPN)
▪ 11:00 - Oregon State at USC (Pac-12)
▪ 11:00 - BYU at Pepperdine (ESPNU)
ACC men’s basketball standings