Head-to-Head: Tar Heels Take on the Wildcats
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 01/25/2007
Each week two of Doc's Sports gambling aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Here are this week's topics:
North Carolina at Arizona (Noon, Saturday, Jan. 27)
Drew: Lack of depth has hamstrung the Wildcats' quality starting five, with just 16 bench points in losses to Oregon, USC and UCLA. The Tar Heels may get most of their production from three players, but the bench kicked in 23 in a loss to Va. Tech, 23 in a win over Clemson and 14 points in a victory over Georgia Tech. That depth-and Tyler Hansbrough's relentless energy-will carry them in this non-conference road showdown pitting two of the country's top scoring teams. Plus, how can I go against UNC when my girlfriend is a Tar Heel.
Prediction: Tar Heels 83, Wildcats 77
Jordan: Unprecedented. That's the term used for Arizona's current losing streak. Never in Lute Olsen's career has the Wildcats lost three straight Pac-10 games. Granted Oregon, USC and UCLA are hardly slouches and all tourney bound, however this Arizona team needs much more than talent to win. No one has more than North Carolina, which goes nine deep with All-Americans. Zona will be ready to give the Heels a game, but Carolina has more options.
Prediction: North Carolina 78, Arizona 71
Oregon at Washington State (10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27)
Drew: Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks. I wonder if the Ducks' guard finds himself saying this about the failed Oakland QB? But this Aaron Brooks is legit, having drastically improved his shooting in his senior year. This may be the year he leads this otherwise young team deep in the tourney. The upstart Cougars are winning with no seniors and no stars and bounced back from losses to Utah and Stanford to win their rivalry games with Gonzaga and Washington. This is no rivalry game.
Prediction: Ducks 72, Cougars 61
Jordan: All year I've been huge on these Ducks. For the past three years they've managed to underachieve, but not this year. Aaron Brooks and Malik Hairston are quite a duo, and Chamberlain Oguchi could be the best shooter I've seen in college hoops, including J.J. Redick. WSU is not as talented, but they don't lose at home. The Cougars have already knocked off Gonzaga, Arizona and Washington in Pullman, however this is one game where home court won't be enough. Oregon is the best West coast team in the country.
Prediction: Oregon 69, Washington State 67
Which is better: NHL All-Star Game or NBA All-Star Game?
Drew: This is a no-brainer. Maybe I lack a true appreciation for hockey, but there's only so much you can do when shooting a puck past a goalie in net. For me, hockey's excitement comes in low scoring affairs where one goal can turn a game on its head. The combined scoring margin in the four most recent NHL All-Star Games other than 2003's OT game was 12 goals. Basketball is a game of runs and inherently less dramatic, so how the players score and defend provides the excitement, unless it's close in the fourth. So give me the best players in the world scoring in imaginative and fun ways for 48 minutes.
Prediction: The NBA will always get better ratings on Sundays than hockey on Wednesday night.
Jordan: With all due respect to lightning on ice, which is essentially what hockey showcases every year with their high scoring, abuse-the-goalie scoring binges in their game, basketball is what I want. Give me the NBA All-Star Game, not to mention their complete weekend. Granted the dunk contest is watered down with the fact that no dunk is original anymore, but the game itself is quite a show. There is enough defense to make this game mean something, but the overall amount of talent on the court makes it something to behold. If you blink your eyes you will miss something amazing.
Prediction: The game will be off the board in Vegas, however it's a sure lock that the public will continue to vote clowns into the starting five that have no business being there. Stop that madness.
Denver at Utah (9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26)
Drew: Bad Boy Isaiah's ploy to get in Mello's head worked, but never before has a 15-game suspension improved a team's chances of winning it all. Iverson has had that stretch of games to acclimate himself to the Nuggets squad. The team is already used to Carmello, so now it's just the two superstars that have to mesh and both of these guys are winners. Utah's frontline stormed out of the gates, but look for this to become a close race for the division title.
Prediction: Nuggets 112, Jazz 104, starting the charge toward the No. 3 seed.
Jordan: As good on paper as the Nuggets look, their run-and-gun, high tempo act is just a poor man's Phoenix. The Jazz continue to play strong and I don't see them relinquishing the division's top spot anytime soon. And when speaking of duos, Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams aren't bad by any stretch of the imagination. The Jazz are winning their division, so with that said Denver isn't touching a top four seed. Have fun winning a playoff series on the road.
Prediction: Utah 103, Denver 100
Dallas at Anaheim (3:30 p.m., Sunday Jan. 28)
Drew: The last match-up wasn't even close. At home, the Stars lost 5-1. Sure, three wins, the All-Star break and a home game against Pittsburgh will have passed, but I don't see how things will be much different this time around. The Ducks do have three All-Stars and a coach that will miss out on the rest this break would give, but Dallas has two players in, even if one is a goalie (We all know goalies aren't stressing the All-Star game). So you could bank on fatigue, but this is in Anaheim.
Prediction: Ducks 4, Stars 2
Jordan: With the first half of the season in the bag, the Pacific Division looks to have at least one of the Western Conference Finals teams among the Ducks, Sharks and Stars. Dallas is chasing from the third spot, on the road against an Anaheim team with the third-best home record in the league. But if there was a time to steal one, it's now, during the Ducks' current slide. They've lost more games in January than during the previous three months combined. I say Anaheim gets it fixed with a big win in Cali.
Prediction: Anaheim 4, Dallas 2
Jordan and Drew will be going Head-to-Head every week. If you have any comments or questions for them, or any topics that you'd like discussed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.