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Pregame Shootaround: North Carolina on upset alert, Utah’s bounce back?

Notre Dame v North Carolina

Marcus Paige (Getty Images)

Getty Images

Game of the Night: New Mexico at UNLV, 11:00 p.m.

New Mexico is a surprising 4-2 in Mountain West play, while UNLV is a surprising 1-4 in the conference. But records get thrown out when there is a rivalry game to be played, which is exactly what this is.

Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 15 North Carolina at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m.

Wake Forest has developed a well-deserved reputation of being a pest against top-ranked teams in Winston-Salem. They gave both Duke and Louisville a fight earlier this season. They upset then-No. 4 Duke last season. They blew out then-No. 2 Miami and caught then-No. 18 N.C. State slipping the season before that. Will the Tar Heels be the team to stumble this year?

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Indiana State at No. 20 Northern Iowa, 8:00 p.m.

The Panthers appear to be the second-best team in the Missouri Valley this season, good enough to give Wichita State a run for their money at the top of the conference. But Indiana State, like UNI, is also 5-1 in the MVC, although four of their five wins were either in overtime or by one possession.

Five Things to Watch For

1. Memphis at Tulsa, 7:00 p.m.: This is a sneaky-good game. Tulsa is undefeated in American play, and while Memphis was awful during the early part of the season, they’ve had a bit of a bounce back as their young guards have gained some experience.

2. No. 14 Wichita State at Missouri State, 8:00 p.m.: The Shockers are sitting all alone in first place in the Missouri Valley and will take their game on the road tonight to Springfield, where the Bears will be playing without their leading scorer.

3. Washington State at No. 12 Utah, 9:00 p.m.: The Cougars are coming off of an 18-point beatdown at the hands of Arizona over the weekend. Wazzu is better than people think this season, sitting just a game out of first place in the Pac-12.

4. SMU at Tulane, 9:00 p.m.: The Mustangs have a lot going on around their program right now, but they’ve won two games since Justin Martin and Keith Frazier were kicked out of the program.

5. Marquette at St. John’s, 7:00 p.m.: The Johnnies are now 1-4 in Big East play. Losing at home to one of the lower level teams in the league would not be a good thing to have happen right now.

The Rest of the Top 25

  • Huston-Tillotson at No. 21 Baylor, 8:00 p.m.


  • Penn State at Michigan State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Purdue at Illinois, 9:00 p.m.
  • Creighton at Butler, 9:00 p.m.

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