This has not been a good week regarding the health of key players on potential Final Four teams. The latest injury has struck Indiana and sophomore forward OG Anunoby, who has been compared to former Hoosier Victor Oladipo for his athleticism. Anunoby went down at the end of the first half of Wednesday's win against Penn State with a knee injury, and it doesn't look good. He knee buckled as he planted his leg trying for a rebound. Anunoby finished the half curled up in obvious pain under IU's basket. After the game, Coach Tom Crean was choking up during interviews speaking about it. Anunoby, who has one of the best dunks in the nation this year, is averaging 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and had been likely to declare for the draft. No official word as of this writing on the severity of the injury, and the school is only saying Anunoby is out indefinitely, but Crean's reaction pretty much said it all.
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No. 9 North Carolina at Boston College (+17)
ACC matchup at noon ET. The Tar Heels have won five straight since that puzzling loss at Georgia Tech to begin conference play. On Monday, UNC pounded Syracuse 85-68. It was the 800th win of Roy Williams' Hall of Fame coaching career. He is the ninth Division I coach to reach the mark. Williams won his 800th game in fewer seasons (29) than any coach in history. Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski won their 800th game in their 33rd seasons. Isaiah Hicks scored 20 points for UNC, which shot 52 percent and never trailed after the game's opening possession. The Heels played without center Tony Bradley due to a concussion but he's expected back here. The freshman averages 8.1 points and 5.7 rebounds.
Boston College was winless in ACC play last year but started 2-0 at home in the conference this season before falling 71-54 to No. 16 Virginia on Wednesday. With the score tied 8-8, Virginia went on a 15-0 run to take a 23-8 lead that it would never relinquish. Eagles sophomore Jerome Robinson (19.6) and freshman Ky Bowman (17.0) entered as the top scoring backcourt in the ACC during league play, but Robinson was held to nine points and Bowman to seven. The Eagles coughed it up 16 times and it led to 26 points for the Wahoos. BC also shot just 38.5 percent to 51.9 for UVA. Boston College was 0-2 vs. North Carolina last year but only lost by three at home when the Heels were also No. 9.
Key trends: UNC is 1-4 against the spread in its past five road games. Boston College is 5-1 ATS in its past six after a loss.
I'm leaning: Boston College.
No. 12 Louisville at No. 10 Florida State ( -1 )
Another ACC game at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN. OK, I'm done with FSU games after this one. It's the Seminoles' finale of a six-game stretch against ranked teams. They are only the third team in ACC history to have that type of schedule in the regular season. Florida State is 4-1 in the previous five and I have been right on their decision in the past three, although I had them covering 5 points at home against No. 15 Notre Dame on Wednesday and the Noles won 83-80. They closed the game on an 11-1 run to hand the Irish their first conference loss of the season. Not too often you beat a team that shoots 15-for-21 from 3-point range as Notre Dame did. The 71.4 percent was just shy of the school record. Since 2010, there had been 18 different teams to make 15 or more 3-pointers while shooting 70% or higher. All 18 of those won.
Louisville avoided a trap game Thursday in routing visiting Clemson 92-60. Deng Adel scored 18 points to match a career high, and Donovan Mitchell scored 18 in the first half as the Cards began life without injured point guard Quentin Snider (out 2-3 weeks). The 56.3 percent shooting from the field (36-for-64) for Louisville was a season high The 32-point margin of victory matched U of L's biggest in an ACC game. Interestingly, the Cards are 16-3 for the fifth straight year. Louisville beat visiting FSU 84-65 in the lone meeting last season.
Key trends: The Cardinals are 4-11 ATS in their past 15 on the road. The Noles are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 in the ACC.
I'm leaning: Florida State.
No. 14 Arizona at No. 3 UCLA (-5)
Pac-12 game at 4 p.m. ET on CBS and the best matchup of the day, in my opinion. Arizona is already pretty good but could be even better whenever (or if) former five-star recruit guard Allonzo Trier becomes eligible. He has yet to play this season after testing positive for PEDs. He was suspended by the NCAA, but appealed and won. In typical NCAA fashion, it is still prohibiting him from playing until the drug is completely out of his system. I'm not a doctor and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I have no idea when it might clear from his system. Trier has been practicing and traveling with the team. He averaged 14.8 points and 3.3 rebounds last season for the Cats.
Both schools avoided being upset in look-ahead games on Thursday. Arizona won its 11th in a row with a 73-66 victory at formerly ranked USC. Finnish freshman center Lauri Markkanen, who will be a lottery pick this summer if he declares for the NBA Draft, had a key late 3-pointer among his 23 points. The Trojans had rallied from 23-point deficit to get within three. During their winning streak, the Wildcats have beaten their opponents by an average of 16.5 points. UCLA won a sixth straight with a 102-80 rout of Arizona State. Isaac Hamilton hit a career-high nine 3-pointers on the way to 33 points. The Bruins were 16-for-27 from long range and hit 59.3 percent from the field overall. They had 30 assists, their most in 22 years. UCLA and Arizona split two close games last season.
Key trends: The Cats are 5-0 ATS in their past five road games. UCLA is 9-3 ATS in its past 12 at home. Arizona is 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings.
I'm leaning: UCLA.
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