Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Memphis and Oklahoma State meet in Old Spice Classic title game
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 Oklahoma State vs. No. 21 Memphis (7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
Twelve days ago, Marcus Smart went off for a career-high 39 points, reasserting his place in the player of the year conversation, in Oklahoma State’s 101-80 rout of Memphis. The Cowboys and Tigers meet in the Old Spice Classic title game on Sunday night. In the semifinals, the Cowboys held on to defeat Butler with a blocked shot from Michael Cobbins. The Tigers hung tough and erased a second half deficit to defeat LSU to help set up Sunday’s rematch.
Does Marcus Smart go off on Memphis again? Or does Josh Pastner and his Tigers win the big game and silence critics?
THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 25 Marquette vs. San Diego State (9:30 p.m., ESPN2)
San Diego State looks to close out the Wooden Legacy with its second consecutive win over a top 25 team. On Friday night, the Aztecs jumped out to an early lead and prevented a comeback attempt to knock off No. 20 Creighton. Marquette previously lost to Ohio State and on the road against Arizona State. Sunday night’s game is made more important with a game against Wisconsin next weekend.
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 12 Wichita State vs. Saint Louis (1 p.m., CBSSN)
It’s going to be a defensive battle between the Shockers and Billikens. Wichita State is coming off a CBE Classic win over BYU, holding the Cougars to 62 points. Wichita State will have to face a tough defense of its own against a Saint Louis team that is forcing opponents to shoot less than 40 percent from the field. Emotions will be high inside Chaifetz Arena as the Billikens will honor Rick Majerus, who died one-year ago today.
MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Iona vs. Florida Gulf Coast (2 p.m., ESPN3)
Both these teams qualified for the NCAA tournament last season -- being slate as No. 15 seeds -- and each team is projected to contend in their respective conferences again this season. Iona comes in a .500 while Florida Gulf Coast suffered its second loss of the season against North Carolina State on Tuesday.
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW:
1) LSU lost to UMass during the Tip-Off Marathon and then again to Memphis on Friday. The Tigers are matched up with Butler in the Old Spice Classic third-place game. Sunday afternoon offers another opportunity for LSU to land a quality out-of-conference victory.
2) Two weeks ago, Belmont went into Chapel Hill and shocked the Tar Heels. The Bruins host another challenging opponent in VCU on Sunday, as Havoc tries to get back on track after two losses in Puerto Rico last week.
3) Kentucky’s December schedule features games against Baylor, Boise State, North Carolina, Belmont and Louisville. The Wildcats kick off the month against Providence at the Barclays Center.
4) North Carolina has had an up-and-down two weeks. Tar Heels lost to Belmont at home then struggled against Richmond before coming back and dominating Louisville. UNC is back in action on Sunday against a solid UAB team. Following Sunday’s game, North Carolina prepares for No. 1 Michigan State on Wednesday night in East Lansing.
THE TOP 25:
- Providence vs. No. 3 Kentucky (8:30 p.m.)
- Coppin State vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (8 p.m.)
- Cal Poly vs. No. 14 Oregon (10 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
- No. 16 North Carolina vs. UAB (6 p.m.)
- Hardin-Simmons vs. No. 16 Baylor (3 p.m.)
- George Washington vs. No. 20 Creighton (6:30 p.m., ESPNU)
- Cornell vs. Notre Dame (1 p.m., ESPN3)
- Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Seton Hall (2 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
- Stephen F. Austin vs. High Point (2 p.m.)
- Norfolk State vs. LIU Brooklyn (2 p.m.)
- Butler vs. LSU (2 p.m., ESPNU)
- Miami (FL) vs. Arizona State (2 p.m., ESPN3)
- Oregon State vs. DePaul (4 .m., Fox Sports 1)
- VCU vs. Belmont (5 p.m., ESPN3)