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Jeff Eisenberg

Breakfast buffet: Streaking UConn can't afford loss to WVU

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.

• UConn's victory over Villanova last week showed the Huskies may have a shred of life left in them, but we'll find out against West Virginia whether they're truly contenders for an at-large bid or not. A home win over the Mountaineers would give UConn a 17-11 record and move the Huskies within a victory of .500 in the Big East, with winnable games against Louisville, Notre Dame and South Florida remaining.

• Put Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon squarely in the conversation for national coach of the year after his Panthers toppled Villanova on Sunday to move just a game behind the Wildcats for second place in the Big East. Pittsburgh, which lost stars Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Levance Fields from last year's Elite Eight team, was picked ninth in the Big East preseason poll yet now could challenge for a top-three seed in the NCAA tournament.

• As bubble teams go, few are harder to figure out than Dayton. Every time it looks like the Flyers are set to go on a run that will put them safely in the field of 65, they suffer a loss like Sunday's at Duquesne that sends them tumbling back to the fringes of the bubble. At 7-5 in the Atlantic 10 with games at Temple and at Richmond remaining, Dayton probably needs to win at least one and avoid another upset loss to stay in at-large contention.

• Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Big Ten has hired a research firm to analyze the potential candidates for expansion and that 15 programs were included in an initial report. Somewhat surprisingly, neither Texas nor Notre Dame were among those 15. Not that I expected either one to jump ship, but I would have thought the Big Ten would have wanted to hear a firm "no" before discarding them.

• Guard Ty Abbott scored 28 points as Arizona State earned a split in its rivalry series against Arizona with a road victory over the Wildcats. The Sun Devils, picked seventh in the Pac-10 preseason poll, now stand just a half game behind first-place Cal, whom they'll face on Saturday in Berkeley perhaps with the conference lead on the line.

• And speaking of Arizona-Arizona State, fisticuffs nearly erupted at the end of the game when Wildcats freshman Kevin Parrom put a forearm in the chest of Sun Devils guard Derek Glasser, forcing coaches to have to hold both players back. Parrom apparently is determined to make an impact in the in-state rivalry as a freshman considering it was him who decked Ty Abbott on his way to the rim last month, leading to a near-altercation.

• Former Maryland star Juan Dixon hopes to be cleared to play internationally soon despite testing positive for steroids this month as a result of what he said was a mistake. "I'm a supplement junkie," Dixon told ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil on Sunday. "I like to try different things and I made the mistake of not doing the research and making sure it was legal."

• Binghamton's scandal-tainted demise has been well-chronicled the past year or so, but here's an unexpected consequence: The Bearcats are running out of assistant coaches. Head coach Mark Macon is down to just one assistant after Marc Hsu was placed on administrative leave immediately after the school released a report detailing the basketball program's transgressions under former coach Kevin Broadus. Earlier this season, another former Broadus assistant, Julius Allen, was reassigned for undisclosed reasons.

• The Seattle Times made note of Quincy Pondexter's "we're going to win" prediction for this week's Washington State game, but I was more interested in the Washington forward's response to another question in this TV interview. Asked how he failed to win a state championship at Fresno's San Joaquin Memorial High despite playing with former Stanford twins Brook and Robin Lopez, Pondexter chuckled and said, "I don't know. That's a million-dollar question. We played awful in some of those big games that we had to win to get to that state championship. That's a big question that will always stay with us."

• Another sure sign of the deplorable state of the Pac-10: The first-place team begging for fans to come to its games. Cal may be in position to win its first conference title in 50 years, but fans in the pro-sports-dominated Bay Area typically don't get behind a college team unless they sense the chance for that team to do something remarkable. This Cal team probably doesn't live up to that standard.

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