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Top of the Arc - December 8, 2008

Dec. 8, 9:15 a.m.: It is time to turn our attention to basketball after a final weekend of college football. This week, I’m going to take a look at a local conference each day, beginning this afternoon with the ACC. But first, here are five things we learned on the court this weekend:

1) Both Curry Brothers are on a Tear: Stephen Curry scores 44 in Davidson’s win over North Carolina State. Davidson’s only loss was a four-point defeat against Oklahoma. Curry will still get his shots against Purdue and Duke, but Davidson faces West Virginia first Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic. Seth Curry, meantime, scores 24 points as Liberty lost to Clemson by five.

2) Gonzaga is a favorite for a No. 1 seed: This is Coach Mark Few’s best team and the Zags are a legitimate Final Four contender. With basketball in the West measurably weaker this season, the Bulldogs should be the favorite for a top seed in the Phoenix Regional. UCLA remains strong, but the Bruins are not what they have been the past three seasons.

3) John Beilein is Maryland’s best friend: I joked with Gary Williams that he should send Beilein a thank-you note or something. Maryland’s win over Michigan could be the gift that keeps on giving. Michigan’s wins over UCLA and Duke will enhance Michigan’s RPI, which, in turn, will significantly help Maryland’s RPI. It’s too early to tell how much it will help, but it will help.

4) Ohio State is back: Thad Matta’s team missed the NCAA tournament last season, but the Buckeyes are on track, at least for now, to make a return appearance. They have two quality wins under their belts already. They got an impressive road win at Miami after Jack McClinton got tossed for taking a swipe at a player. And the Buckeyes beat a Notre Dame team that could finish among the top four of the Big East. They’ll get a chance against another likely tournament team, Butler, on Saturday.

5) Who is on the ACC’s bubble?: I’ll get into this more this afternoon when I break down the ACC early in this season. But the ACC may again have two teams on the bubble that have been in that position a time or two the past few years: Virginia Tech and Florida State. The Hokies don’t have a quality win and won’t have an opportunity to get one in non-conference play. The Seminoles beat Florida to help make up for a loss to Northwestern. FSU has a ways to go, though.

By Eric Prisbell  |  December 8, 2008; 9:06 AM ET
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