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Posted at 8:31 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Kemba Walker the difference for Connecticut against Villanova

By Eric Prisbell

What mattered Monday:

1) Pittsburgh 74, Syracuse 66: What was more surprising, Pittsburgh's 19-0 run to start the game or Syracuse's 17-0 run that followed? This was Pitt's eighth victory in nine games against Syracuse, which played without leading scorer Kris Joseph, who suffered a concussion Saturday against Cincinnati.

2) Missouri 75, Kansas State 59: The Tigers led by 15 at the half and dominated K-State in the final 7:15 to drop Frank Martin's team to 1-3 in Big 12 play. "You can't dig yourself such a big hole," Martin said. "We were pathetic defensively in the first half. We were not much better on offense." Later he added, "Lackadaisical travels, forced plays trying to go one-on-one, lazy passes, lazy cuts."

3) Connecticut 61, Villanova 59: Kemba Walker's 10-foot floater with 2.5 seconds left proved to be the game-winner. Walker made just 6 of 18 shots, but he finished with 24 points. On the final play, Villanova Coach Jay Wright said, "We wanted to double him, but he is so fast we could not catch him." Instead, Walker strengthened his case for national player of the year honors.

What to watch for Tuesday:

1) Michigan State at Illinois: After early season stumbles cost the Spartans a spot in the top 25, Michigan State has won back-to-back home games in overtime. Turnovers and free throw shooting will be key for the Spartans, who are looking to be the first team to win at Assembly Hall this season.

2) Clemson at North Carolina: Keep an eye on the Tar Heels, who could unite or fade further after the jaw-dropping blowout loss against Georgia Tech. On the topic of his players investing in the team, UNC Coach Roy Williams said on his radio show Monday, "And in today's culture, it's hard. I've got half of the guys on my team that their mom and dad and their friends and everything think that they're going to make $88 million. They could give a flip whether we win a game or not. They want their guy to get 37 shots and play 50 minutes in a 40-minute game. The culture is hard on kids nowadays, and I understand that, but it makes coaching harder...
"It's something that I've told many teams - if you cared one-tenth about it as much as I do, [gosh] it would be a lot of fun."

3) Georgetown at Seton Hall: The Hoyas need to play like they did against Rutgers, an effort that helped them snap a three-game losing skid. G-town made just 43.9 percent of its shots against St. John's, West Virginia and Pittsburgh during the losing streak. It shot nearly 48 percent and made 11 of 22 3-pointers against Rutgers.

By Eric Prisbell  | January 18, 2011; 8:31 AM ET
 
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Next: Pittsburgh making a push for a No. 1 seed

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