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Duke Stays #1 and Does the ‘Catholic Seven’ Have a TV Deal?

Quinn Cook

Cook averages 10 points and more importantly, about 6 assists for top-ranked Duke.

The Duke Blue Devils remain in the number one position in both polls this week after beating Wake Forest handily to open ACC play. This week however, things could get a little more interesting for the nation’s top squad. Duke will host an 8-5 Clemson team that cannot be taken lightly and then the Blue Devils will travel to Raleigh to play #23 and vastly improving NC State for a Noon tip.

Duke has not really been challenged since late November when they beat then #4 Ohio State by five. NC State has only lost one time, and that was to #2 Michigan, since losing to Oklahoma State back in November. Richard Howell has been a key to the WolfPack getting back on track. He’s picked up eight double-doubles this season and continues to get better game in and game out.

The one Achille’s heel that I see with Duke is nothing new and that would be redounding. The Blue Devils rank 153rd in the country in that department and while NC State isn’t much better, they do rank number one in college basketball in field goal percentage and that means they are getting good, close looks. Duke will need to limit the WolfPack to one shot on the defensive end.

“Catholic Seven” TV Deal?

Catholic Seven

The "Catholic Seven" could be on the verge of a TV deal.

As the Big East Conference continues to dissolve, the seven catholic schools not named Notre Dame have been hard at work trying to figure out exactly what they are going to do. Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville are off to the ACC and Notre Dame will head in that direction in one form or another as well.

It appears now that DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova have at the very least a television deal to consider which of course is the cash cow for all collegiate entities these days. It looks like the seven schools could be headed for the Fox Sports One network which is scheduled to open up shop in August. The new network is of course owned by Fox and would be the latest in a series of network powers to open up sports only programming. ABC has ESPN and CBS and NBC have recently started up similar networks.

The deal could be somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million dollars over 12 years but nothing is final just yet. ESPN and the NBC Sports Network were believed to have had interest, but nothing was confirmed on that account. One thing I can tell you from a fan perspective is that these teams overall aren’t a huge draw. Georgetown, Marquette and ‘Nova have been pretty consistently good over recent years, but the other teams need to get into that echelon as well to create ‘must-see’ basketball in my opinion.

Game I’m Watching in the East This Week

#21 Notre Dame at #14 Cincinnati – This one is yet just another example of how the Big East coming to an end will deprive us of so many good match-ups almost on a daily basis. The Fighting Irish are 1-0 in the conference after whipping Seton Hall while the Bearcats are 1-1. Jack Cooley is the top man for the Irish as averages a double-double right now with 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Cincy gets 19 a game from Sean Kilpatrick and will need that and more against a Notre Dame team that is in the top five nationally in both rebounding and assists. I like the Irish on the road.

#24 Pittsburgh at #15 Georgetown – Pitt needs a win in Big East play and they need it now. They’ve dropped both of their conference contests to Cincinnati and Rutgers. Georgetown is also without a conference win at 0-1. While the Hoyas play great defense, they struggle to rebound and score. I like another low-scoring game here but the Panthers win simply because of desperation.

#9 Minnesota at #11 Illinois – In the loaded Big Ten, here’s a couple more worth watching. I like the Illini at home.

#1 Duke at #23 North Carolina State - In a weaker than usual ACC, I love NC State to keep this one close, but Duke will pull it out in the end.



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