In The Paint

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Roy Williams, AP

If you thought last weekend's stunner from Boston College was good, wait ‘til you hear what's in store for this weekend. While some of the top-ranked teams go at it, there are a number of matchups that feature unranked squads - ones with a chance of beating their superior rivals. But as the Eagles clearly showed, a small probability could turn into reality on the court.

Here are a few upsets-in-the-making:

No. 3 UNC at No. 4 Wake Forest
Is it really an upset when the lower-ranked team is undefeated and among the top five in the country? Yes, yes it is. Anyone who beats North Carolina, the team who was supposedly bound to demolish anything in its path this season, will be credited with an upset. And Wake Forest (13-0) certainly has the elements in its favor. The Demon Deacons have gone from one of the worst defensive teams a couple years ago (opponents shot 46.8 percent from the field against them) to one of the best in the nation - their defensive field goal percentage is now 36.4, the eighth-best in Division I. And on offense, well, it only gets better. Dino Gaudio's group averages 85.2 points a game, ranks No. 3 with a 51.2 field goal percentage and has six guys who are 6-9 or taller.

The factors working against them? Ironically, UNC's loss to Boston College. Roy Williams never wants to experience that feeling (see distraught picture of Williams to the right) again, and as Seth Davis pointed out, there's no way Carolina (13-1) isn't seething over the loss since it unfolded, especially since the only thing to keep them from boiling over was an easy win over College of Charleston.

Can the Deacs pull it off? Quite possibly.

No. 5 Connecticut at Cincinnati
Hey, if B.C. can do it, so can Cincinnati. However, no one said it would be easy.

Since losing to Georgetown in its final game of '08, Connecticut has since rebounded - literally and figuratively - to take wins over Rutgers and West Virginia. The Huskies posted their weakest performance on the boards against G-Town (31), but in their past two wins, rebounding has not been a problem. Against the Mountaineers, UConn had a 52-33 advantage on the boards, with Stanley Robinson and Hasheem Thabeet grabbing 15 and 13 rebounds, respectively. Against Rutgers, the Huskies grabbed 37 boards in comparison to the Scarlet Knights' 29. Yes, Connecticut's frontline could prove disastrous for Cincy.

But then again, the Bearcats have a) their home court, b) a lot of pent-up frustration, and c) Deonta Vaughn.

Seton Hall at No. 13 Notre Dame
As the Big East's leading scorer and second-best rebounder, Luke Harangody, is a force inside. But when it comes to the Fight Irish's last two losses this season, there common thread has been Kyle McAlarney. The sharpshooter, who is known to drain shots closer to his opponent's basket than his own, went 1-for-5 from behind the three-point arc in his team's loss to St. John's this past week and he failed to hit a single trey against Ohio State in December. So even though Seton Hall is riding a three-game losing streak, it still has a chance if it can shut down McAlarney.

If that approach fails, the Pirates can try to stop Harangody, but well, good luck with that one.

 

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