Weekend hoops previews: UVa, GMU on CSN

Weekend hoops previews: UVa, GMU on CSN
January 25, 2013, 3:00 pm
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*Virginia (13-5, 3-2 ACC) vs. Boston College (9-9, 1-4) -- Saturday, 1 p.m., Comcast SportsNet

Will the real Cavaliers please stand up? First, there was the eight-game winning streak, including victories over Wisconsin and Tennessee. That run ended shockingly with a loss to one-win Old Dominion. Virginia recovered with two victories, but consecutive road losses followed, including a 59-44 defeat at Clemson. Since then, the Cavaliers have turned up the defensive screws, demolishing Florida State 56-36 and trouncing in-state rival Virginia Tech by 16 points on Thursday as junior guard Joe Harris scored 17 points in each game The Eagles hung tough before losing at Maryland this week and now enter Charlottesville on a three-game losing streak.

*George Washington (9-9, 3-2 Atlantic 10) vs. Charlotte (16-3, 4-1) -- Saturday, 2 p.m., Comcast SportsNet plus

The Colonials opened conference play with two losses in three games, and then headed north for two in New England. Rather than let the conference season slip away, guard Joe McDonald and the rest of George Washington's freshman-heavy crew responded with thrilling wins at UMass and Rhode Island. The competition goes up a notch against the 49ers, who are tied with VCU and Xavier for the A-10 lead.

*Old Dominion (2-16, 0-6 CAA) at James Madison (10-10, 4-3) -- Saturday, 4 p.m., Comcast SportsNet

Just when it looked like the Dukes might be fading to the back of the CAA pack after consecutive losses, they hammered Delaware 64-50 on Wednesday. In the 150th win of coach Matt Brady's career, Rayshawn Goins tallied his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds. As for the Monarchs, they will settle for a single conference win. Old Dominion's best chance for a CAA victory came Jan. 2 against James Madison, but Goins scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime as the Dukes prevailed 58-55.

*George Mason (12-7, 5-2 CAA) at Northeastern (12-7, 5-0) -- Sunday, 8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet

The immediate upshot of George Mason coach Paul Hewitt reinserting guard Bryon Allen back into the starting lineup, a high-scoring road win over Towson. The three-guard look pepped up the Patriots lagging offensive attack yet did not take away from their stingy defensive effort as the Tigers shot 4 of 21 from beyond the arc.

Since the strategic change fueled the victory, it therefore also ensured the top two teams in the CAA would meet Sunday night in Boston. When conference play opened, George Mason had the front-runner label. That quickly changed after the Huskies' scorching second half shooting led to an 84-74 win at the Patriot Center on Jan. 3. Since then Northeastern has kept on winning and remain the only undefeated team in the conference after surviving a double-overtime thriller against William & Mary. Though plenty of games remain, a loss would severely hamper the Patriots' regular season title hopes. Of course, the current guard-heavy lineup is undefeated, so the Patriots have that on their side.

Other games in the area...

*Georgetown vs. Louisville (Saturday, 12 p.m.) - Since losing its opening two conference games with a pair of scuffling offensive performances, Georgetown (13-4, 3-3 Big East) has won 3 of 4 games heading into Saturday's contest against No. 5 Louisville. Forward Otto Porter has picked up his aggressiveness on the offensive end while confident freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is tallying points, rebounds and assists for the Hoyas. The visiting Cardinals enter the Verizon Center having inexplicably lost two straight and three in a row to Georgetown.

*Maryland at Duke (Saturday, 1 p.m.) - The Terps face the program fans love to jeer and which is currently doubling as the No.1 ranked team in the country. Yeah, there might be a few folks interested in this game. Good thing J.P. Finlay wrote a preview. As for the Alex Len vs. Mason Plumlee interior matchup, guessing a few NBA scouts will be watching that battle closely.