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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Maybe the Illini don’t have Dee Brown, Deron Williams or James Augustine anymore, but they do have killer depth. Six of their guys average at least 10 points a game. And they have size, too, which Arizona can’t attest to. It’ll be nice seeing the Wildcats get a partisan crowd for a change in this series, but based on students’ lame turnout in their McKale Center section so far this year, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a more-than-fair smattering of orange shirts in the seats.

    Arizona 84, Illinois 76

    Clear the way, Arizona’s got the runs. On a four-game winning streak, the Wildcats have used scoring runs (24-3 against UNLV, 25-0 against New Mexico State) to average a 20-point margin of victory over their opponents. Forwards Marcus Williams and Ivan Radenovic are to thank, scoring a combined 51 points in a 14-point win over UNLV. Oh, and don’t forget Chase Budinger, who’s averaging 19.4 points per game. Michael Jordan said of Budinger, “”Man, I love that kid.””

    Arizona 97, Illinois 91

    I don’t normally hold grudges, but I can’t seem to lose the sour taste that Arizona left in my mouth two years ago. It would be classic if the Wildcats blew another 15-point lead. I don’t see that happening, though. Illinois has no Deron Williams this year, and it is not the same team that it was during my freshman year. The Wildcats will stick it to them – by 15 points.

    Arizona 93, Illinois 78

    If the ‘Zags were able to take down North Carolina on a neutral court, these young Longhorns – albeit led ably by freshman Kevin Durant, a top-three NBA draft pick in June – should be no problem. And come the NCAA Tournament, I don’t want anyone doubting Gonzaga’s legitimacy just because it plays in a weak conference. Its nonconference schedule – complete with four top-25 teams in a five-game stretch coming up – would put hair on even Adam Morrison’s lip line.

    Gonzaga 88, Texas 71

    Texas is usually known for its stellar high school and college football programs, but we’re talking about the game on the hardwood. The Bulldogs have snapped their leash and are off to nearly a perfect season, including an 82-74 win over then-No. 2 North Carolina. The Longhorns will be singing “”Who let the ‘Dogs out”” as this loss will prepare them for a beating from No. 10 Louisiana State on Dec. 10.

    Texas 94, Gonzaga 89

    There is something that’s just charming about a Mid-Major school winning handily over a NCAA powerhouse. Yes, Texas is not ranked this year, and it is definitely not where it was last year. But Digger Phelps will probably still favor them. In that case, I’ll side with Jay Bilas. He did go to Duke.

    Gonzaga 65, Texas 60

    Reason tells me there’s no way Urban Meyer will let the Gators lose this game, with a spot in the national championship game conceivably on the line. But I can’t help thinking the Razorbacks are due. For something, I don’t know. They’re coming off a close loss to No. 5 Louisiana State, but Florida has played every one of its conference rivals close and nearly lost to Florida State last weekend. Plus, the Gators have more to lose. The deciding factor will be whether Arkansas can keep its ground game going (I say yes) against Florida’s stellar run defense.

    Arkansas 24, Florida 21

    This game is all about momentum. Florida has it. Arkansas doesn’t. Last week, Arkansas had a 10-game winning streak snapped with a 31-26 home loss to No. 5 Louisiana State. Florida, which comfortably won the SEC East, is coming off a 21-14 victory at rival Florida State. The Gators are 5-1 against the Razorbacks with five straight victories. Good luck getting out of the Swamp, ‘Backs.

    Florida 45, Arkansas 35

    The Arkansas team that takes on Florida this week has come a long way since it played USC the first week. As the NCAA football season winds down, the Gators have been slacking by almost losing to rival Florida State, while the Razorbacks keep gaining steam. Sure, they lost to Louisiana State last week, but they will come out of Hotlanta with the Southeastern Conference title.

    Arkansas 31, Florida 28

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