Pregame Shootaround 2.13.13: Two great rivalries highlight loaded slate
Game of the Day: San Diego State at No. 24 Colorado State (10:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
This is a game that Colorado State really needs to win if they are going to bring home the Mountain West regular season title. While the Rams do get New Mexico at home, they still have road trip to UNLV, Air Force, Boise State and Wyoming. Putting themselves in a one-game hole behind the Lobos with that kind of schedule remaining would be tough.
The Rams also happen to matchup quite well with the Aztecs. Colorado State is big and physical and one of the best rebounding teams in the country. They’ll be going up against an SDSU team that’s perimeter oriented and currently dealing with injuries to their starting back court of Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames.
Part of what makes the MWC so entertaining this season is that the conference is so deep, and that, in turn, means that there really aren’t all that many bad losses to be had. But just because it’s not a bad loss doesn’t mean that the loss won’t hurt.
Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 6 Syracuse at UConn (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
This is a rivalry game, and rivalry games are always going to be difficult to predict. But there’s so much more to the story here. UConn, with everything that they’re dealing with as a program, has nothing to play for this season beyond pride and the chance to play spoiler. And there would be nothing that the Huskies would enjoy more than handing a loss to the Orange -- the team that helped precipitate the downfall of the Big East, which leaves UConn as a team without a conference -- that would knock them out of sole possession of first place in the Big East.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Creighton at Northern Iowa (8:00 p.m. ET)
Creighton needs a win. Badly. They’ve lost two in a row and four of their last seven games. Four of their next five games are on the road, and they close the season with a home game against Wichita State. That’s a long way from an easy schedule, but thanks to some question performances from Indiana State and Wichita State of late, the Bluejays still control their own destiny in the Missouri Valley. Win out, and they’re regular season champs. Sounds easy, but it won’t be. Northern Iowa has had a tough season, but Cedar Rapids is never an easy place to get a win.
Five Things to Watch For
1) North Carolina and Duke play tonight. We gave it the preview treatment here. I think the Blue Devils win easily. (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
2) Butler will be playing without starting center Andrew Smith as they take on one of the A-10’s biggest surprises in Charlotte. The Bulldogs cannot afford to lose a game and fall a game off the pace in the conference standings. (7:00 p.m. ET)
3) No. 22 Memphis has finally made their way back into the top 25, but the question is whether or not this team has really gotten better, or if they are simply feasting on the lesser competition in Conference USA. Want to prove it’s not the latter? Don’t lose league games you should win. (8:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
4) Believe it or not, a visit to Texas A&M may be the toughest game that Ole Miss has left on their schedule. And considering that they’re anything but a lock for the NCAA tournament at this point, the Rebels probably cannot afford a loss tonight. (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
5) Oregon is 2-3 since losing Dominic Artis to a foot injury. Their first game without the freshman point guard was against Washington at home. The Ducks won. (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Top 25
- Nebraska at No. 1 Indiana (7:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
- North Carolina at No. 2 Duke (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- No. 3 Miami at Florida State (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
- No. 6 Syracuse at UConn (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Charlotte at No. 11 Butler (7:00 p.m. ET)
- No. 17 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
- DePaul at No. 21 Notre Dame (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- Central Florida at No. 22 Memphis (8:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
- San Diego State at No. 24 Colorado State (10:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
- No. 23 Oregon at Washington (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Other Notable Games
- Delaware at Northeastern (7:00 p.m. ET)
- Akron at Eastern Michigan (7:00 p.m. ET)
- Iowa State at Texas (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- Creighton at Northern Iowa (8:00 p.m. ET)
- Purdue at Illinois (9:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
- West Virginia at Baylor (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.