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A Weekend Full of Upsets for NCAA Hoops As Syracuse Moves to the Top Spot

After all the hype surrounding it, the Syracuse vs. Duke game lived up to expectations on Saturday. Not only did the Orange keep its perfect season with a 91-89 OT win, it will also advance to No. 1 after Arizona finally suffered a blemish on its record with a 60-58 loss against California. The Wildcats also lost Brandon Ashley for the season with a foot injury.

Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis

But that was just one of many upsets for the weekend. Other teams suffering losses on Saturday included No. 6 Kansas to No. 25 Texas (81-69), No. 7 Michigan State to Georgetown (64-60), Baylor over No. 8 Oklahoma State (76-70), No. 14 Wisconsin to No. 24 Ohio State (59-58), No. 21 Massachusetts to Saint Joseph’s (73-68) and No. 22 Memphis to SMU (87-72).

Sunday’s upsets included Indiana over No.10 Michigan (63-52) and Virginia over No. 18 Pittsburgh (48-45).

Look for a shakeup in Monday’s top 25 list.

For Vegas, it has the following for the 2014 NCAA Men’s basketball championship (via Bovada as of Feb.1):

Arizona 11/2
Kansas 6/1
Syracuse 7/1
Michigan State 15/2
Duke 10/1
Florida 10/1
Kentucky 12/1
Wichita State 12/1
Michigan 14/1
Louisville 18/1
Oklahoma State 18/1
Villanova 25/1
Creighton 28/1
Iowa State 28/1

On Monday, there’s three top 25 games and this includes Notre Dame at No. 2 Syracuse, No. 16 Iowa State at No. 8 Oklahoma State and Xavier at (9) Villanova.

Let’s take a look.

Notre Dame vs. Syracuse

These two teams are familiar with each other from their Big East days but Monday’s game represents their first meeting as ACC teams.

Syracuse (21-0, 8-0) will seek its 22nd straight win for the season. This has only been done by five teams over the 10 previous seasons, including No. 3 Wichita State at 23-0.

Meanwhile Notre Dame (12-10, 3-6) is looking to snap a six-game losing streak on the road. In their last meeting in the 2012-2013 season, Syracuse won 63-47 on the home court with C.J. Fair leading the team in scoring with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Fair is continuing to play at a high level this season and on Saturday had a career-high 28 points. This came after his 14.0 average with 36.0 percent shooting over his last four games.

Notre Dame is coming off a 76-73 OT win over Boston College on Saturday with Eric Atkins hitting a 3-pointer for the win. For the night he had 24 points (16 in the second half) and will have experience as an advantage over Syracuse’s freshman guard Tyler Ennis.

But that may not be enough as Syracuse gets another win (-12, 131 o/u).

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State

The Big 12 has been the most exciting conference this season and this game should follow suit.

Oklahoma State (16-5, 4-4) is trying to snap a two-game losing streak. Fortunately for them, they play well on the home court–especially against Iowa State (16-4, 4-4) where they have won their last 18 home games against them.

Georges Niang

Georges Niang

Iowa State will try to shake off their recent challenges in conference games, losing their last three of four after a 3-1 conference start. On Saturday, they won 81-75 at home over No. 23 Oklahoma with Georges Niang scoring 27 points (a 21.8 point average over his last four games) while Melvin Ejim added 22 points and tied a career-high 16 rebounds.

Oklahoma State could be without guard Steve Clark after a Saturday arrest but his team will still get the win (-6, 158 o/u).

Xavier at Villanova

Both teams enter this matchup with strong offensive games and will look to improve on defense.

On Saturday, Villanova (19-2, 7-1) had a 90-74 win over Temple, shooting 52.5 percent and achieving another 90-point game for a sixth time this season. However, it is allowing a 71.4 point average in the conference–the fourth-worst in the Big East.

Xavier (15-6, 5-3) isn’t far behind as it gives up 74.0 points per conference game–the second-worst in the league. The team is coming off a Saturday 68-60 loss to Seton Hall, allowing the Pirates 52.4 percent shooting in the game’s first half.

With a Villanova win, it will be tied for the top conference spot; this will happen on Monday (-10, 148 o/u).

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