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Pregame Shootaround: New Year’s Eve has some good basketball games

Steve Lavin



Game of the Day: No. 15 St. John’s at Seton Hall, 12:00 p.m.

For the first time in a long time, both of the Big East schools in the New York metropolitan area are good. The Johnnies enter the game ranked in the top 25 and look every bit the part of a challenger in the Big East. Seton Hall had the makings of a potential tournament team, but that was before Isaiah Whitehead went down with a stress fracture.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Northeastern at Richmond, 4:00 p.m.

Richmond is a sleeper in the Atlantic 10 this season, while Northeastern is one of the best mid-major programs in the country this year.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Butler at No. 6 Villanova, 2:30 p.m.

Butler is not all that talented this season, but they certainly are a scrappy bunch. That’s how they landed non-conference wins over North Carolina and Georgetown in the Battle 4 Atlantis. That will do them will against Villanova, who play a similar style to the Bulldogs.

Five Things to Watch For:

1. Penn State at No. 4 Wisconsin, 1:00 p.m.: Penn State fans hate Frank Kaminsky right now after he made fun of schools that use ‘We Are’ chants. I’m sure Frank The Tank cares a lot.

2. Indiana at Nebraska, 5:30 p.m.: Nebraska really needs a spark to turn their season around, and what better way to do it than to take down a good Indiana team at home in the Big Ten opener?

3. No. 25 Georgetown at Xavier, 10:00 p.m.: Xavier is flying under the radar right now. That will change if they can pick off the Hoyas at home in their Big East opener.

4. Minnesota at Purdue, 3:15 p.m.: Minnesota has scored more than 80 points in eight straight games and suddenly looks like a team that might be able to make some noise in league play. Let’s see what happens when they play a Big Ten team on the road.

5. Creighton at Providence, 7:30 p.m.: The Bluejays and the Friars are two of the tougher teams in the Big East to figure out.

The Rest of the Top 25

  • Wofford at No. 2 Duke, 3:00 p.m.
  • George Mason at No. 15 Oklahoma, 5:00 p.m.
  • No. 16 Wichita State at Drake, 6:00 p.m.
  • Mississippi Valley State at No. 9 Iowa State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Boise State at No. 24 Colorado State, 9:00 p.m.