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Pregame Shootaround: Is Duke-UConn a rivalry?


Game of the Night: UConn vs. No. 2 Duke, 8:00 p.m.

It a rematch of the 1999 title game and the 2004 national semifinal, UConn and Duke will square off at the Izod Center in New Jersey as two teams headed in opposite directions. Duke looks like the only team in the country that should be in the same conversation as Kentucky at this point, while UConn looks like they are the best team in the American, an indictment on how weak that league is.

Here’s the problem for the Huskies: they try to play the same way that Duke does, but surrounding their center with four perimeter, forcing a mismatch somewhere. Duke just so happens to have lottery picks at three positions and McDonald’s All-Americans literally everywhere. That said, if Texas and Yale both miss threes from the corner at the buzzer, how much differently do we view this matchups?

Mid-Major Matchup of the Night: Yale at Vermont, 7:00 p.m.

Two of the better mid-major programs in the Northeast. Yale, who has beaten UConn, looks like a legitimate Ivy contender this season while Vermont, who is tough at home, is in a rebuilding stage at this point.

Five Things to Watch For:

1. Cleveland State at No. 6 Virginia, 7:00 p.m.: Cleveland State is pretty good this season, having given Louisville everything that they can handle earlier this year. Virginia, like Louisville, is tough as nails defensively, but instead of pressing, they play packline as well as anyone.

2. LSU at UAB, 9:00 p.m.: LSU looks like they might be on the verge of turning things around this season. A road test at UAB will be a good gauge.

3. Coastal Carolina at Ole Miss, 8:00 p.m.: If anyone can figure out Ole Miss, please drop me a note and let me know. Because I certainly cannot.

4. Seton Hall at South Florida, 7:00 p.m.: The Pirates got a wake-up call by going into Wichita and losing to the Shockers, but South Florida is not Wichita State.

5. Ohio at Evansville, 9:00 p.m.: Another solid mid-major battle on Thursday night between a MAC favorite and a MVC sleeper.