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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / July 10.
  • Mike Rice has never coached a game in Madison Square Garden.

    And wouldn’t you know it?

    His first encounter there as a head coach will come against North Carolina, the 2009 NCAA champions and one of the most storied programs ever.

    “It’s a privilege to coach at the Mecca of college basketball,” Rice said Monday. “And to do it against one of the best college coaches is an honor.”

    Rutgers (9-2) takes a six-game winning streak into Tuesday’s tilt with Roy Williams and North Carolina (8-4) at the Garden (9 p.m., ESPN2).

    A few things became pretty clear after Pitt’s 78-63 victory over previously unbeaten UConn Monday night.

    First, Kemba Walker, the leading scorer in Division 1, looks like a heavy Big East Player of the Year favorite after scoring 31 points, but he doesn’t get enough offensive support from his teammates.

    Not a single other Husky scored in double-digits.

    How far can UConn expect to go with this formula?

    I think the Big East comes down to Pitt, Syracuse and Villanova.

    Three days after he took a gunshot wound to the side of his body and was attacked by four men during a robbery-gone-bad in Harlem, Jeremy Hazell will be on the bench for Seton Hall’s Big East opener Tuesday night.

    “Jeremy’s doing fine,” Pirates coach Kevin Willard said Monday by phone. “He’s at home, he’s resting, he’s doing fine. He will actually be at the game [Tuesday].”

    The Pirates (6-6) host South Florida (6-7) in their Big East opener (7 p.m., SNY), three days after Hazell was attacked by four men at the Carver Houses on E. 104th St. after returning from a Christmas Day party.

    “I just got to the front door of my building when these four dudes came up to me,” Hazell told the Daily News Monday.

    The Big East named Louisville guard Peyton Siva and DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin the winners of the conference’s weekly men’s basketball honors for the week ending Dec. 26.

    Siva was named Big East Player of the Week. In Louisville’s only game of the week, Siva poured in 29 points and dished eight assists in a 114-82 victory at Western Kentucky.  He shot 8-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.  For the year, Siva, who hails from Seattle, Wash., is averaging 12.1 points, 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals.  His steals average is third in the Big East.

    Melvin, who was named Big East Rookie of the Week led the Blue Demons to a 71-62 win over Florida Atlantic by scoring 23 points and grabbing four rebounds.  He outscored FAU 13-12 in the first 11 minutes of the game.  Melvin, a native of Baltimore, Md., has reached double figures in his last five games.  For the season, he is averaging 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.

    BIG EAST Player of the Week
    PEYTON SIVA, Louisville, G, So.

    BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
    CLEVELAND MELVIN, DePaul, F, Fr.