College basketball previews 1-19

PSU at Minnesota men

Tipoff: 8:30 p.m., Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minn.

Records: Penn State (7-11, 0-7 Big Ten); Minnesota (13-4, 3-3)

Coaches: Patrick Chambers is 120-132 in his eighth season at Penn State and 162-160 overall. Richard Pitino is 103-82 in his sixth season at Minnesota and 121-96 overall.


Radio: ESPN 1430, PSU Sports Network (Steve Jones, Dick Jerardi)

Notes: Penn State dropped to 0-7 in Big Ten play after losing to No. 23 Iowa, 89-82. The Lions had a good offensive outing against the Hawkeyes, but late game mistakes led to another conference loss. Freshmen Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread broke their cold streak, leading the Lions offense against Iowa… Minnesota got crushed by struggling Illinois, 95-68, on Wednesday night. Amir Coffey leads the Gophers with 15.9 points per game.

Mirror prediction: Minnesota 78, Penn State 75

Comment: Minnesota is going to come out swinging after getting embarrassed by Illinois. The Lions are probably going to have to wait longer for their first conference win.

Mirror prediction record: 11-7

— Paddy Cotter

Pitt men at Syracuse

Tipoff: 2 p.m., Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.

Records: Pittsburgh (12-5, 2-2 in ACC); Syracuse (12-5, 3-1)

Coaches: Jeff Capel is 12-5 in his first year at Pittsburgh and is 174-115 in his 10th season overall as a head coach. Jim Boeheim is 938-376 in his 43rd year at Syracuse.

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Notes: The Orange are coming off a dramatic 95-91 victory at Duke that included a 75-foot 3-pointer just before halftime. … Syracuse defeated Ohio State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. … The Syracuse football team will be honored at halftime. … Syracuse leads the series 68-45. … Capel is the 12th coach for Pitt in the school’s history, and each one has coached against Syracuse.

Mirror prediction: Syracuse 80, Pittsburgh 71

Comment: Capel will try to recapture Jamie Dixon’s magic hex on the Orange that Kevin Stallings let fade away.

Mirror prediction record: 14-3

— Michael Boytim

SFU men at Cent. Conn. St.

Tipoff: 3:30 p.m., Detrick Gymnasium, New Britain, Conn.

Records: Saint Francis (6-9, 2-2 NEC); CCSU (8-9, 2-2)

Coaches: Rob Krimmel is 85-117 in his seventh season at Saint Francis and overall. Donyell Marshall is 28-50 in his third season at CCSU and overall.

Radio: Online at

Notes: Three teams are 3-1 in the NEC, and Saint Francis is one of five teams that are 2-2. In short, the Flash, who were picked to win the league, have a bunch of competition and cannot afford many more losses early in the league campaign. … SFU is coming off a road loss at St. Francis Brooklyn and still has one more road game left in its four-game road stretch after this. … Keith Braxton has been added to the watch list for the Lou Henson Award, which goes to the top mid-major player in the country. … The Flash have a 53.2 percent chance to win, according to ESPN’s matchup predictor.

Mirror prediction: Saint Francis 81, CCSU 75

Comment: The Flash badly need this one. A loss here, to slip to 2-3, and the hopes for winning the league will be minimal.

Mirror prediction record: 12-3

— Cory Giger

SFU women at Cent. Conn. St.

Tipoff: 1 p.m. at Detrick Gymnasium, New Britain, Conn.

Records: Saint Francis (6-10, 3-1 Northeast Conference); Central Connecticut State (3-11, 0-4).

Coaches: Susan Robinson-Fruchtl, returning on an interim basis, is 79-91 in her sixth year at Saint Francis and is 104-185 in her 10th year overall; Beryl Piper is 138-177 in her 11th season at Central Connecticut State.

TV: NEC Front Row

Notes: Saint Francis was picked to finish second in the preseason NEC poll, while Central Connecticut State was in the eighth spot … The Red Flash have the advantage in the all-time series at 30-12, including four out of the last five … On Thursday, Kovatch was named to the Wade Trophy watch list which is given to the best player in women’s college basketball. Robinson-Fruchtl won the Wade trophy in 1991-92 and is still the only Penn State player to claim the trophy … CCSU sophomore Ashley Berube is shooting 46.5 percent — good for fifth in the NEC, and is ninth in rebounding (87) and second in blocked shots (28) behind SFU’s Courtney Zezza, who has swatted 44.

Mirror prediction: Saint Francis 79, Central Connecticut State 68.

Comment: The Blue Devils have registered seven of their 12 victories against the Red Flash on their home floor. No. 8 won’t be coming this year.

Mirror prediction record: 13-3

— Nate Ritchey