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College basketball preview: Jan. 18

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Top five games

5 No. 21 Oregon at No. 24 UCLA » Wings Shabazz Muhammad (18.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Jordan Adams (16.4 ppg) have not played like freshmen during the Bruins' winning streak, which was at nine games before Thursday's game against Oregon State. The Ducks have a stellar freshmen duo as well in 6-foot-5 Damyean Dotson (11.8 ppg) and 6-1 Dominic Artis (10.1 ppg). (Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS)

4 No. 8 Gonzaga at No. 13 Butler » In the battle of the giant-killing mid-majors, Butler (15-2) has the homecourt advantage but will miss Arkansas transfer and top-scorer Rotnei Clarke (16.3 ppg), who has a sprained neck. Led by 7-foot junior Kelly Olynyk (18.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg), Gonzaga is back inside the top 10 for the first time since 2005-06. (Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN)

3 No. 11 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State » The Spartans (15-3) had a strange win Wednesday at Penn State. After scuffling with a teammate and being benched, 6-10 Adreian Payne scored a career-high 20 points in 17 minutes. Ohio State (13-3) lost its first three games against ranked teams before breaking through Sunday against Michigan. (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN)

2 No. 17 Missouri at No. 10 Florida » There is no need for a television clicker Saturday. Just keep it on ESPN, which will carry games between ranked teams at 2, 4, 6 and 9 p.m. In this one, which kicks it off, Billy Donovan and Florida try to live up to their lofty No. 1 ranking by numbers guru Ken Pomeroy in his indecipherable but often-quoted team ratings. (Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN)

1 No. 6 Syracuse at No. 1 Louisville » Backcourt pressure is key to the Cardinals' being tied for second in the nation in points-per-possession defense (0.82). But can it unravel Syracuse's brilliant 6-6 point guard Michael Carter-Williams? The Orange bring plenty of length and pressure as well but a little less now that 6-8 James Southerland has been sidelined by academics. (Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPN)

LOCAL GAMES

American at Holy Cross

When » Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where » Hart Recreation Center, Worcester, Mass.

After outrebounding Lehigh 40-26 but losing to the defending Patriot League champions 63-57 on Wednesday, American (6-11, 1-1) tries to cash in on its inside power against Holy Cross (9-8, 1-1), which is led by 6-9 junior Dave Dudzinski (15.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and 6-9 senior Phil Beans (8.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg). AU looks to get more from its bench than it got Wednesday -- two points in 43 minutes. The Eagles got plenty from 6-8 senior Stephen Lumpkins (10 points, 17 rebounds).

Florida State at Virginia

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » John Paul Jones Arena,

Charlottesville, Va.

TV » Ch. 20

Two teams in recovery. Florida State (10-6, 2-1) was flying high until a 77-72 loss at home to North Carolina in which it was outrebounded 41-19. Virginia (11-5, 1-2) has had a week to figure out its pack-line defense after yielding 51.5 percent shooting from the floor and 60 percent from the arc in a 59-44 loss at Clemson. Virginia needs more from senior point guard Jontel Evans than he delivered Saturday -- two points, three assists and five turnovers in 33 minutes.

George Washington at Massachusetts

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass.

Radio » 1500 AM

GW (7-9, 1-2) showed its inexperience Wednesday night, going 0-for-11 from the floor and 0-for-3 from the free throw line in the final 7:53 of a crushing 55-53 loss at home to Temple. The Colonials try to recover at streaking UMass (11-4, 1-1), which had won eight of its last nine entering Thursday behind 5-9 Chaz Williams (15.8 ppg, 7.3 apg) and a roster packed with D.C.-area products, including rotation players Terrell Vinson (Montrose Christian), Raphiael Putney (Woodbridge) and Maxie Esho (Wise).

Hofstra at George Mason

When » Saturday, 5 p.m.

Where » Patriot Center

TV » NBC Sports Network

While George Mason (10-7, 3-2) and Hofstra (5-12, 2-2) are in the middle of the pack of the CAA standings, statistics tell another tale. The Patriots rank first in the league in scoring margin (plus-2.7) and scoring defense (62.8 ppg), while the Pride are last in both categories (minus-8.7, 70.9). Hofstra's top scorer is Penn State transfer Taran Buie (14.3 ppg), who is shooting just 36.2 percent from the floor. The Pride have lost their last 15 games away from home, dating to Jan. 21 of last season.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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