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Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: Staggering Texas challenges Kansas

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Pull up a chair and sit down at the breakfast buffet, a daily assortment of all the freshest newsworthy college hoops stories on the net. To make a submission, contact me via email or twitter.

• Tonight's matchup between Kansas and Texas was supposed to be a showcase of two of the nation's premier teams, but the free-falling Longhorns haven't held up their end in recent weeks. Either Texas rebounds from its four losses in six games and serves notice that it's worthy of its midseason hype, or the Longhorns tumble toward this prediction that they'll be a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

• Kansas big man Cole Aldrich is starting to show why he may be a lottery pick in this year's NBA draft, an uptick he attributes to the relief and release he felt after his cancer-stricken grandmother passed away peacefully last month. In his past four games, Aldrich has averaged 16.3 points, 13 rebounds and 4.5 blocks a game.

• Good news for Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats: They only have to wait a few more hours to get back on the court and atone for a brutal performance against Georgetown on Saturday. Bad news: Their opponent is surging West Virginia, whose infamous home crowd will surely be ready to welcome the Wildcats in what's likely to be the second ever matchup between a top-five Mountaineers team and a top-five opponent.

• North Carolina coach Roy Williams opened up to Yahoo's Jason King about his disappointment with his team's midseason crash, admitting, "I haven't done a good job with this team." Frustrated that he can't seem to get the Tar Heels to play with the effort level of his previous teams, Williams added, "This year has shaken my confidence a little. You start questioning your own worth to a team. You start wondering about your ability."

• Notre Dame took another step toward an NCAA tournament berth by holding off South Florida on Sunday, but here's a glass-half-full outlook for the Bulls. Leading scorer Dominique Jones shot just 3 of 17, second-leading scorer Gus Gilchrist sat out with an injury and still South Florida had a look at a game-tying three at the buzzer on the road against a upper-half Big East team.

• Intriguing matchup tonight in Pittsburgh, where NEC-leading Robert Morris throws its nine-game win streak at the No. 22 Panthers. Pitt has won all 27 meetings between the schools including the past nine by an average of 24 points, but the Panthers insist this Robert Morris team has their respect. "They're an NCAA tournament team," Pitt's Jermaine Dixon said. "They're in Pittsburgh, so they're going to play us hard."

• It feels like an awfully long time ago that Cincinnati upset Vanderbilt and Maryland in Maui before pushing Gonzaga to the wire, doesn't it? Syracuse swatted away the Bearcats' upset bid on Sunday despite getting virtually nothing from a foul-plagued, still-injured Wesley Johnson, leaving Cincinnati (14-9, 5-6) desperate for some big wins down the stretch to avoid falling off the bubble.

• Some of you took exception to my comment that the middle of the Big Ten was pretty mediocre, and your teams made me look foolish this weekend. After Minnesota avoided disaster at Penn State and Illinois took a huge step toward an NCAA berth with a win over Michigan State on Saturday, Northwestern continued to feast on the cushy portion of its schedule on Sunday with a convincing win over Indiana.

• John Wall certainly can't be counted out in the player of the year race, but Ohio State's Evan Turner is going to make him earn it. Turner matched his career high of 32 points and added 7 boards, 5 assists and 4 steals in a victory over Iowa on Sunday, all despite a severe lack of sleep as a result of staying up late to watch Illinois-Michigan State and then rising before 8 a.m. for an early Super Bowl tip-off.

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