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Pregame Shootaround: Duke, Texas both in action on Monday

Elon v Duke

Getty Images

Getty Images

Game of the Night: Toledo at No. 2 Duke, 7:00 p.m.

It’s a bit of a quite night on the hoops front as teams get ready for the start of conference play this week. This won’t be a cakewalk for the Blue Devils, however, as Toledo is one of the better mid-major programs in the country. Duke’s guards get plenty of attention, which is why Monday will be a chance for Juice Brown to introduce himself to the country. The question for the Rockets will be whether or not they can slow down big man Jahlil Okafor.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Night: Cleveland State at VCU, 7:00 p.m.

VCU isn’t a mid-major program anymore, I know that, but this will still be a fun game. Cleveland State is one of the better teams in the Horizon this season and gave Louisville, another team that wins with their press, a fight earlier this season.

Five Things to Watch For

1. Rice at No. 9 Texas, 1:00 p.m.: How will Texas bounce-back from a loss to Stanford last week?

2. UC-Irvine at Oregon, 11:00 p.m.: Irvine is one of the best teams in the Big West, but they’ve played the last month without 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye.

3. No. 8 Gonzaga at San Diego, 11:00 p.m.: The Zags went into BYU and knocked off the Cougars in their WCC opener. The Toreros have a loaded back court, but how will they deal with Gonzaga’s size inside?

4. Southern Miss at LSU, 7:00 p.m.: LSU has turned things around after a slow start to the season.

5. Tennessee State at No. 25 TCU, 8:00 p.m.: This will be the last game that TCU plays before Big 12 play starts. Can they end the non-conference part of their schedule without a loss?