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Pregame Shootaround: A Big 12 showdown, and Villanova on upset alert

Frank Mason III, Bryn Forbes

Frank Mason III (AP Photo)


Game of the Night: No. 18 Oklahoma at No. 9 Kansas, 9:00 p.m.

The Big 12 is going to give us great matchups like this on a nightly basis. Oklahoma has the look of a Final Four team, but they’ve been inconsistent this season. As good as they looked beating Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Sooners lost by 21 to West Virginia on the road last week as well. Kansas is coming off of a loss at Iowa State over the weekend, but home games in this year’s Big 12 are not things that title contenders can afford to lose.

Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 5 Villanova at Georgetown, 9:00 p.m.

Villanova is the best team in the Big East this season, but Georgetown as the pieces to matchup with them on the perimeter. The question is going to be Josh Smith. Villanova center Daniel Ochefu has been terrific of late, but if the Wildcats go small, they can neutralize the impact that Smith will have on the game.

Five Things to Watch For

1. Pitt at No. 4 Duke, 7:00 p.m.: The Blue Devils bounced back from two straight losses to beat Louisville at Louisville on Saturday. Was that a fluke -- a surprise, 2-3 zone that the Cardinals weren’t expecting -- or can Duke consistently win this way?

2. No. 20 Texas at TCU, 7:00 p.m.: TCU won 13 straight games to start their season, but they’ve struggled in Big 12 play. Texas bounced back from their slow start by pounding West Virginia on Saturday.

3. Florida State at Clemson, 9:00 p.m.: Can Florida State still be relevant in the ACC without Aaron Thomas on the roster?

4. UNC Asheville at Charleston Southern, 7:00 p.m.: Two of the best teams in the Big South square off.

5. Albany at Stony Brook, 7:00 p.m.: Stony Brook was the preseason favorite in the America East, but Albany is sitting here in mid-January at 4-0 in league play.