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News and Notes From Top 25

   by ASA - 01/25/2008

No. 1 Memphis: The Memphis basketball program accomplished something
it hasn’t done in a quarter century this week. The Tigers were voted
the No. 1 team in the country, aided greatly by Maryland’s upset of
North Carolina. They’ll get their first big test as the country’s
top-ranked team when they host Gonzaga Saturday. Memphis needed
overtime to beat Gonzaga last year but was unable to cover the
4.5-point spread in the one-point win.

No. 5 North Carolina: The Tar Heels are 2-3 ATS in their last five
games and much of that has to do with the odds-makers not taking
North Carolina’s struggling defense into consideration. The Heels
have fallen to 251st in the country with 71.8 points allowed per game
and have surrendered 84 points per game in those three ATS losses.
North Carolina is going to continue to have problems covering these
big spreads, like the 18-point spread against Maryland, if it can’t
play better defense.

No. 7 Indiana: With Eric Gordon and D.J. White demanding much of the
opposition’s attention, the Hoosiers need an outside threat to step
up to help spread the defense. Enter Lance Stemler. The senior
forward has utilized a pregame ritual – 100 three-pointers prior to
every game – to shoot 8-of-16 from that range over his last eight
games. More shooting like that will make Indiana’s 32nd-ranked
scoring offense even more dangerous.

No. 8 UCLA: Forwards Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real
both suffered first-half concussions in UCLA’s upset loss to USC and
were limited to just one minute each in the second half. Each showed
improvement the following day and will be monitored on a daily basis.

No. 10 Michigan State: Guard Drew Neitzel had been struggling this
year but received a boost from an unexpected source prior to Michigan
State’s game with Ohio State. ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews
interviewed him before the start of the game with Neitzel stating
afterwards, “I was pretty pumped up after talking to her. She gave me
that little boost I needed.â€쳌 Maybe the Spartans should put Andrews
on the payroll.

No. 11 Wisconsin: Many experts saw the Badgers falling off this year
with the graduation of last year’s leading scorers, Alando Tucker and
Kammron Taylor. They may not have any standout scorers but they
boast a well-balanced attack. Wisconsin is 6-0 in conference action
so far with five different Badgers scoring 20 or more points in each
of those wins.

No. 16 Dayton: The Flyers dropped two spots in the most recent AP
poll and injuries may lead to a more significant fall. Freshman
forward Chris Wright, who is the team’s second-leading scorer and
leading rebounder, is out until mid-February with an ankle injury.
Junior forward Charles Little, who is fourth on the team in scoring
and second in rebounding, is also sidelined with a broken foot.
These injuries will likely force Dayton to go with a small lineup
until each returns.

No. 17 Mississippi: The Mississippi frontline was missing one of its
key pieces Saturday with primary backup big man Jermey Parnell
sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Parnell’s stats are nothing
spectacular but his absence severely weakens the Rebels’ frontline

No. 21 Marquette: The Golden Eagles have been awful in Big East road
play this year, going 0-3 SU and ATS and losing by 17 points per
game. Dating back to last year, they’ve lost six straight conference
road games outright and ATS with five of the six losses coming by
double digits. A big part of the problem this year has been the
injured wrist of leading-scorer Dominic James, whose wrist has
bothered him since Marquette’s game against Seton Hall Jan. 8. He’s
averaging just 9.3 points per game since then.

No. 22 Drake: The Bulldogs survived a three-game absence from
leading-scorer Josh Young with wins in each game he missed and
celebrated his return with perhaps their biggest win of the season.
With Young coming off the bench to play 25 minutes, Drake downed
Creighton on the road, snapping a five-game road losing streak to the
Blue Jays.

No. 24 Arizona State: Leading-scorer James Harden is listed as
questionable for Thursday’s game with Washington after sustaining a
groin injury Saturday at Stanford. Harden, who is averaging 18.6
points per game, has been limited to shooting drills and riding the
stationary bike this week. He’s a game-time decision.

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