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Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big Ten, Pac-12 teams with something to prove

Andre Hollins, CJ Carter

Minnesota guard Andre Hollins (1) goes up for a shot over Nebraska-Omaha guard CJ Carter, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. Minnesota won 92-79. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Ann Heisenfelt

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Michigan at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m.

How good is Minnesota? The Golden Gophers have just two losses on the season as we head into league play, but we’ve seen this script before. We know what Minnesota does in non-conference play, and we’ve seen what happens when the Gophers get to league play. Will things be different under new head coach Richard Pitino? We’ll get our first viewing tonight, as Michigan comes to town fresh off of losing Mitch McGary to back surgery. The Wolverines will have plenty to prove themselves tonight.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 10 Oregon at Utah, 8:00 p.m.

Utah is currently sitting at 11-1 on the season with a young and talented roster that’s yet to really be tested. The only times that the Utes have played someone worth noting this season, they lost to Boise State by two points and beat an unimpressive BYU team by 17 at home. Oregon? The Ducks are undefeated right now and look like they might be Arizona’s biggest challenger in the Pac-12. Looks like we’ll get a good sense of whether or not we need to pay attention to the Utes tonight.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Saint Mary’s at No. 24 Gonzaga, 9:00 p.m.

The Gaels will be without head coach Randy Bennett, who is serving a five game suspension for NCAA violations. The Zags will be without Gary Bell and could be without Sam Dower as well. That doesn’t matter. These are still the two best teams in the WCC playing in one of the most underrated rivalries in the country. It’s worth tuning in for.


1) No. 4 Wisconsin is one of three undefeated teams that will head out on the road tonight. They make their way to Evanston to take on Northwestern tonight.

2) The third undefeated team playing on the road tonight? No. 8 Wichita State. The Shockers are heading to Southern Illinois to take on the Salukis.

3) You like scoring? I do. So if you’re like me, you’ll want to tune into Arizona State’s date with Washington tonight. It’s on at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

4) No. 1 Arizona kicks off Pac-12 play tonight hosting Washington State.

5) Eric Moreland returns to the court tonight for Oregon State against No. 20 Colorado.

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