The Syracuse Orange put their undefeated mark on the line again on Sunday, hosting the Clemson Tigers in an ACC matchup. The Orange are coming off big wins over the Duke Blue Devils and Notre Dame Fighting Irish , but still hold just a half-game lead over the Virginia Cavaliers in the conference standings.
Jim Boeheim has kept his team motivated, repeatedly telling the media that "undefeated" does not necessarily mean "best team".
Depsite the motivational tactics of their coach, the Orange may be the most balanced team in college basketball, mixing a group of talented underclassmen with senior leading scorer C.J. Fair. Tyler Ennis is emerging as an elite point guard, dishing out nearly six assists per game in his freshman season.
Trevor Cooney had a career-day against Notre Dame, tying a school record by hitting nine three-pointers on his way to 33 points. The sophomore sharpshooter will be key in spreading the floor on offense, providing driving lanes for Fair and Ennis.
Clemson counters with an efficient point guard of their own in Rod Hall. The junior manages the floor while distributing to forward K.J. McDaniels, who averages over 16 points per game. McDaniels will be key in breaking Syracuse's 2-3 zone, as he can operate from any spot on the floor.
The Tigers have a solid frontcourt, with head coach Brad Brownell rotating in a host of big bodies for defense and rebounding. Clemson will need those bodies to keep Syracuse bigs Jerami Grant and Rakeem Christmas off the offensive boards, limiting the Orange to single-shot possessions.
The game airs at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
No. 2 Arizona vs. Oregon St., 7 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
The Arizona Wildcats won their first game following a season-ending injury to Brandon Ashley, a nail-biter against the Oregon Ducks on Thursday. Their next test is a road game at the Oregon St. Beavers, who have been playing some tight games of their own. The Beavers have gone to overtime in two of their last three games, with a four-point win over UCLA sandwiched in between.
Arizona has struggled to get off early, relying on their defense to wear down opponents in the second half. Freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will likely start in place of Ashley for the second straight game, having notched a double-double in his first start against Oregon. To win, Wildcat guard T.J. McConnell must shoot better. The junior point guard is 5-19 from three-point range in Arizona's last five games.
No. 9 Michigan St. vs. Wisconsin, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
With the Michigan Wolverines' loss to Iowa Saturday, the Michigan St. Spartans now hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. The Spartans are still trying to get healthy, with Adreian Payne's return against the Penn State Nittany Lions marred by Keith Appling sitting out with a nagging wrist injury.
The Wisconsin Badgers -- losers of five of seven -- need a win to get back on track in conference play. Leading scorer Sam Dekker averages just over 13 points, a testament to the balance scoring of Bo Ryan's team. But Wisconsin will need to spread the floor with outside shooting, as the Spartans are tough inside with the return of Payne and the emergence of Matt Costello.
No. 12 Creighton vs. St. John's, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
No. 22 Connecticut vs. Central Florida, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN2