College basketball preview: Jan 4, 2013

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Top five games

5 Bucknell at No. 12 Missouri » At 6-foot-11, Mike Muscala is a rarity in the Patriot League, a dominant big man with a European skill set. The senior leads the Bison (13-2) in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding (10.7 rpg), blocked shots (2.5 pg) and even assists (2.5 pg). Saturday is his chance to demonstrate that he has enough game to be selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. (Saturday, 4 p.m.)

4 North Carolina at Virginia » With 13 seconds left last February, the Tar Heels needed a dunk from Tyler Zeller with the shot clock expiring to escape Charlottesville with a 54-51 win. Virginia (10-3) now gets another shot at UNC (10-3) and won't have to deal with NBA first-round draft choices Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes. (Sunday, 8 p.m., ESPNU)

3 Lehigh at Virginia Commonwealth » This is an interesting test for defending Patriot League champion Lehigh (9-3) and national scoring leader C.J. McCollum (25.7 ppg), who is shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 53.2 percent from beyond the arc, both career bests by a wide margin. On Saturday, he will have to deal with the havoc defense of VCU (11-3). (Saturday, 5 p.m., NBCSN)

2 Temple at No. 6 Kansas » Fran Dunphy's dangerous Owls have knocked off top-10 teams five straight years while unranked. The last to fall to Temple was No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 22. The Owls (10-2) try for another upset in Lawrence against Kansas (11-1) and emerging freshman star Ben McLemore (15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg). (Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS)

1 No. 8 Ohio State at No. 11 Illinois » After opening with 12 straight wins and reaching No. 10, Illinois (13-2) has lost to Missouri and at Purdue. Illinois coach John Groce served four years as an assistant at Ohio State under Thad Matta, then four more as coach at Ohio University, so he would like nothing more than to topple the Deshaun Thomas-led Buckeyes. (Saturday, 2:15 p.m., Big Ten Network)

LOCAL GAMES

George Washington at Georgia

When » Friday, 7 p.m.

Where » Stegeman Coliseum,

Athens, Ga.

TV » CSN

Dwayne Smith is on an impressive roll for George Washington (6-6). In his last 57 minutes over four games, the 6-foot-6 senior has scored 50 points on 20-for-31 shooting from the floor and 8-for-8 from the line while grabbing 16 rebounds. Georgia (5-7) answers with 6-5 sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who leads coach Mark Fox's struggling team in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (7.3 pg) and steals (2.3 pg).

George Mason at William & Mary

When » Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where » Kaplan Arena,

Williamsburg, Va.

TV » CSN

After going 6-26, its worst season since 1993-94, William & Mary (7-5) already has more wins than last year thanks in large part to the emergence of guard Marcus Thornton (McNamara). The 6-4 sophomore ranks third in the CAA in scoring (17.9 ppg) and 3-point accuracy (39.2 percent). Thornton's matchup with George Mason's Sherrod Wright, a 6-4 junior and conference player of the year candidate, will be interesting. George Mason has won seven straight in Williamsburg.

Howard at Coppin State

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » Physical Education

Complex, Baltimore

Despite the struggles of Howard (3-12) and Coppin State (3-12), there is hope for both in the MEAC, in which no team has a winning record. Coppin State is led by conference rebounding leader Michael Murray (13.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg) and Towson transfer Troy Franklin (11.3 ppg, 2.8 apg). Howard counters with 6-7 senior Mike Phillips (12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg). Only five coaches in Division I have a longer tenure at their schools than Coppin State's Fang Mitchell, the six-time MEAC coach of the year.

Navy at Norfolk State

When » Saturday, 5 p.m.

Where » Echols Hall, Norfolk, Va.

Radio » 106.7 the Fan

After pulling off a stunning upset of second-seeded Missouri in the NCAA tournament, Norfolk State (6-10) has struggled following the departure of 6-10 Kyle O'Quinn, now with the Orlando Magic. The Spartans still have 6-6 junior Pendarvis Williams (12.0 ppg), who scored 20 points in a 71-65 win on New Year's Day last year in Annapolis. The Midshipmen (6-9) counter with point guard Tilman Dunbar, who captured his fourth straight Patriot League rookie of the year award.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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