Duke's chances of winning the ACC's regular-season title aren't looking great, although who really cares about regular-season championships. There's the whole Grayson Allen situation as he remains indefinitely suspended for his ridiculous tripping issue. And when Allen comes back is really up in the air now because Coach Mike Krzyzewski is going to coach Wednesday's game vs. Georgia Tech but then have back surgery Friday and miss about a month. Associate head coach Jeff Capel, a former Blue Devils point guard, will coach the team while Krzyzewski recovers. Capel's first game will be Saturday against Boston College. You may not think coaching matters all that much but Krzyzewski had back issues in 1994, following surgery in October, and he stepped away in January 1995 for the remainder of the season. Duke was 9-3 overall at the time. Under Pete Gaudet, the Blue Devils went 4-15 the rest of the way and missed the NCAA Tournament. Capel played on that team.
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Rutgers at Michigan State (-14)
Big Ten matchup at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. Sometimes I just laugh when I see some teams' nonconference records. Rutgers entered Big Ten play at 11-2, so maybe the Scarlet Knights aren't wretched for once? But then you look at who they played and naturally Rutgers has opened Big Ten play with a 20-point loss at Wisconsin and by 13 on Sunday at home to Penn State. The Lions were ravaged by the flu as well in that one. Mike Williams had his third career double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Knights, who made a season-low 28.6 percent (18-for-63) of their field goal attempts, including 3-for-20 (15.0 percent) from behind the arc. Rutgers has just three wins in the Big Ten since joining in 2014. It hasn't won on the road.
Michigan State has won three straight and six of seven after a bit of a shaky start thanks to a ridiculously hard nonconference schedule . Coach Tom Izzo's club last took the court Friday and beat Northwestern 61-52. Sparty jumped out to a 28-9 lead and would see that lead shrunk to four but no lower. It was the seventh straight game missed for MSU star freshman and leading scorer Miles Bridges due to a high-ankle sprain. He is expected to play here but will come off the bench. Bridges is averaging 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds in his eight games. The Spartans are 4-0 all-time vs. Rutgers. The wins last year were by 34 and 31 points.
Key trends: Rutgers has covered six of its past 30 in the Big Ten. MSU is 16-5 against in its past 21 in the conference.
I'm leaning: Sparty.
South Carolina at Georgia (-4)
SEC game at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. It's the conference opener for the Gamecocks , who were ranked but have dropped three of five following a 70-54 loss at Memphis on Friday. USC shot just 31.6 percent overall and 28.1 percent after halftime. Gamecocks senior guard Sindarius Thornwell didn't play for a sixth straight game due to suspension for a violation of athletic department policy. Thornwell, the team's best player and the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has been reinstated and will go here. He was averaging 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in leading South Carolina to a 7-0 start. He has been able to practice with the team. Thornwell was arrested in May and charged with marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.
Georgia opened SEC play with a 96-84 win at Auburn last Thursday. Yante Maten scored 31 points and J.J. Frazier scored 27. The Dawgs were down with under eight minutes left. Maten was named SEC Co-Player of the Week on Monday. He ranks second in the SEC in both scoring at 20.6 points per game and rebounding at 8.2 per game. The Bulldogs were 3-0 vs. South Carolina last year but the final two, one in the SEC Tournament, were decided by a total of three points.
Key trends: USC is 5-21 ATS in the past 26 meetings. Georgia is 6-2 ATS in its past eight at home.
I'm leaning: South Carolina.
No. 15 Oregon at Washington (+7.5)
Pac-12 matchup at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. This screams potential letdown game for the Ducks even though the Huskies are their second-biggest rivals after Oregon State. Oregon had one of the best regular-season weeks in school history last week in beating unbeaten and No. 2 UCLA 89-87 on a 3-pointer in the final seconds from All-American Dillon Brooks and then stomping unbeaten and No. 22 USC 84-61 on Friday behind 28 points from Brooks (9-for-10 from the field). But those were both in Eugene, where Oregon is almost unbeatable and on a 35-game winning streak. The Ducks' two losses this year were by 17 at an excellent Baylor team and by four at a neutral site to Georgetown.
Washington has been a mammoth disappointment at 7-6 considering what a stellar recruiting class Coach Lorenzo Romar landed. That's led by guard Markelle Fultz, a potential No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA draft. He has been fantastic in averaging 22.3 points, 6.7 assists and 6.4 rebounds, but the Huskies have losses to the likes of Yale, Nevada and Washington State all at home (plus two losses to TCU). Fultz was one rebound shy of the first triple-double in school history in the loss last time out to the Cougars.
Key trends: The Ducks are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. UW is 1-6 ATS in its past seven overall.
I'm leaning: Washington.
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