What I'm Watching this Week (and why)

Monday/January 25:

Georgetown at Syracuse (College Basketball on ESPN, 7:00) - Featuring two of the Big East's best, this showdown in the Carrier Dome shouldn't disappoint. Syracuse could be a contender for a number one seed come March, but don't expect Georgetown to back down from this contest. The Hoyas became the first Big East team to be Pittsburgh and gave Villanova all they wanted on the road. They're a tough out for any team.

Australian Open (Tennis on ESPN2, 9:00) - Getting down to the nitty gritty now in the Happy Slam. Men's quarterfinals begins today (this day actually being Tuesday in Australia at time of airing in the United States). Lone American Andy Roddick takes on the up and coming Marin Cilic. Assuming a sometimes troubling knee is not bothering him, Roddick's experience might just be enough to see him through against the more talented Croatian. The other quarterfinal is a mouth watering one as Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray square off. Murray has played nearly flawless tennis thus far while Rafa is struggling a bit for form and confidence. Murray might bring the best out of him, though.

Tuesday/January 26:

Catania at Roma in the Coppa Italia (Italian Soccer on GolTV, 3:00) - Roma has been on a massive unbeaten streak and is coming off a dramatic stoppage time victory over Juve in Turin. They'll be flying high regardless of whether Ranieri tinkers with the squad for this cup match. We're in the quarterfinals now, however, and I expect a strong team. Nobody wants to get this far in the cup and not take it seriously from here on out.

Kentucky at South Carolina (College Basketball on ESPN) - Heavy has been the head that wears the crown so far this year in college basketball. Kansas had a pretty solid run at number one before finally being toppled by Tennessee. Texas lasted only a matter of weeks and now has two losses. How will Kentucky handle the pressure of being ranked number one now? A trip to Columbia to face the Gamecocks is often tricky for any team, but a true number one shouldn't have any problems with this one.

Australian Open (Tennis on ESPN2, 9:00) - Men's quarterfinals action continues as Roger Federer takes on Nikolay Davydenko while Novak Djokovic will meet Muhammad Ali's doppelganger, Jo Wilfried Tsonga, in a rematch of the 2008 Australian Open Final. Davydenko has been on quite a run the last few months, which includes two wins over Federer, but matches in a Grand Slam are a different thing altogether. Djokovic-Tsonga could be an absolute classic.

Wednesday/January 27:

Manchester City at Manchester United in a Carling Cup Semi-final (English Soccer on ESPN360, 3:00) - After a heated affair in the first leg, a trip to Wembley is on the line in the return leg at Old Trafford. It was apparently in the stars (with the help of some questionable decisions from the ref) for Carlos Tevez to give his new Manchester team (Man City) a slim 2-1 lead over his old one (Man United) heading over to the red half of Manchester and everything has revolved around the Argentine since, especially his ongoing feud with Gary Neville. United still have a wonderful chance to advance to the final and put one over on their city rivals, though. The atmosphere should be incandescent.

Vanderbilt at Tennessee (College Basketball on ESPNU, 7:00) - Lost in the shuffle of Kentucky's unbeaten start to the season and Tennessee's recent short-handed heroics (up until they met a Georgia buzzsaw this last weekend anyway) is a Vanderbilt team that may just be one of the best teams in the conference. They've started SEC play with a 4-0 record, including two on the road. The competition hasn't been the best, but an unbeaten start still warrants mention. With a brand new top 25 ranking, they'll head into Knoxville with a chance to win over further doubters and establish themselves as Kentucky's main contenders in the East. Likewise for Tennessee as they look to bounce back from their rough outing in Athens.

Florida State at Duke (College Basketball on ESPN, 9:00) - Duke may have finally found some swagger this past weekend with a big road win over Clemson. They'll look to continue that momentum with a streaky Seminoles team coming to town. Florida State's two conference losses against N.C. State and Maryland sort flatter to deceive, but two wins over a ranked Georgia Tech team look nice. Plus, Florida State's athleticism usually gives Duke fits, both home and away. This could be an awkward matchup for the Blue Devils.

Thursday/January 28:

Australian Open (Tennis on ESPN2, 3:30) - That's 3:30 in the A.M. as the men's semi-finals get under way. This match will feature the Roddick-Cilic winner versus the Nadal-Murray winner. It's easy to envision either of the possible matchups (Roddick-Nadal, Cilic-Nadal, Roddick-Murray, or Cilic-Murray), such is the depth of balance in the men's game these days.

Juventus at Inter in the Coppa Italia (Italian Soccer on GolTV, 2:45) - These two teams enter this quarterfinal matchup in completely different moods. Juve is coming off of yet another loss, this time at home to Roma, and are sinking fast. Inter, meanwhile, after a shaky run of form, righted the ship with a comprehensive win over city rivals Milan in the Derby della Madonnina, despite being down to nine men by the end. The Nerazzurri (Inter) may finally put a nail in the coffin of Juve coach Ciro Ferrara.

Ole Miss at Auburn (College Basketball on ESPNU, 9:00) -  A top 20 team visiting Auburn usually means another loss for my Tigers, but Auburn has at least been playing somewhat adequately as of late. They followed up a tough loss to top ranked Kentucky with a road win in Baton Rouge. An eight point loss against Vandy followed on Saturday after having built up a sixteen point lead in Nashville. Granted, they did blow that lead and eventually lost by eight points, but they were good enough to build up a sixteen point lead to begin with. That's progress for this team. Probably won't bring a win against the Rebels, but they should play them close.

Friday/January 29:

Australian Open (Tennis on ESPN2, 3:30) - That's once again 3:30 in the A.M. as the men's semi-finals continue in Melbourne. This match will feature the Federer/Davydenko winner against the Djokovic/Tsonga winner. I think Davydenko has a shot againt Fed, but it's more likely that we'll see Roger versus one of the other two contenders. I'm tempted to say Djokovic for his Grand Slam experience and his form this tournament, but Tsonga has won the last four against the Djoker.

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