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Wednesday’s slate and what to watch

If you’re like me and have put off your Christmas shopping until the last minute, that’s bad news. Not because you’ve missed all the good deals and the stores are out of the best presents (though neither is helpful to us procrastinators), but because unless you’re prepared to knock out all that shopping in a matter of minutes after work, you’re gonna miss some great basketball Wednesday and Thursday.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s time for a long lunch.

No. 21 Illinois vs. No. 9 Missouri (in St. Louis): This could’ve been a Top 10 matchup if the Illini hadn’t lost to Illinois-Chicago over the weekend. No matter. They have a perfect chance to regain the voters’ favor against the Tigers, who won’t have point guards Michael Dixon (indefinite suspension) and Phil Pressey (broken finger). Mizzou will still play its full-court pressure defense, but expect Demetri McCamey and the Illini backcourt to fare a bit better without having to cope with Dixon or Pressey.

No. 18 Texas at No. 12 Michigan State: Tom Izzo’s back from suspension not a moment too soon. The Longhorns are coming off an important win at North Carolina in which they didn’t do anything really well, but still pulled off a 78-76 victory. Actually, they hit the boards fairly well and could continue that trend against the Spartans. Izzo’s team is below average on the defensive glass (?!), which happens about as often as making the Final Four six times in 12 years.

Xavier at Gonzaga: The best mid-major programs of the last decade face off for the first time since 2006 when Gonzaga won their first-round NCAA tournament game. The Musketeers (7-2) have the better record, but the Zags (6-5) are coming off a win vs. Baylor, the best W for either program. Plus, the game’s in Spokane. Three in a row for Mark Few’s team?

Mississippi State at Washington State: Er, nevermind. Renardo Sidney won’t play, but did just make the Bulldogs far more interesting off the court.

Upset watch: New Mexico vs. Colorado, College of Charleston vs. Clemson, Siena vs. Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa vs. Indiana, Furman vs. South Carolina.

(All times ET)

Princeton at Towson, 4 p.m.
Bucknell at Boston College, 7 p.m.
New Hampshire at Cent. Connecticut St., 7 p.m.
Albany, N.Y. at Colgate, 7 p.m.
Harvard vs. Connecticut at the XL Center, Hartford, Conn., 7 p.m.
Kennesaw St. at Fordham, 7 p.m.
East Carolina at George Washington, 7 p.m.
Holy Cross at Hofstra, 7 p.m.
Rider at La Salle, 7 p.m.
UCF at Massachusetts, 7 p.m.
Villanova at Monmouth, N.J., 7 p.m.
Elon at Navy, 7 p.m.
Quinnipiac at Niagara, 7 p.m.
American U. at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Lafayette at Rhode Island, 7 p.m.
Dayton at Seton Hall, 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech at Siena, 7 p.m.
Drexel at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Vermont at Iona, 7:30 p.m.
George Mason at Duquesne, 8 p.m.
Penn at Delaware, 8:30 p.m.

Richmond at UNC Greensboro, Noon
Winthrop at Kentucky, 1 p.m.
UNC Wilmington at Campbell, 7 p.m.
Clemson at Coll. of Charleston, 7 p.m.
Florida A&M at Fla. International, 7 p.m.
Radford at Florida, 7 p.m.
South Carolina at Furman, 7 p.m.
Georgia St. at Georgia Southern, 7 p.m.
Liberty at Hampton, 7 p.m.
Loyola, Md. at Howard, 7 p.m.
Marshall at James Madison, 7 p.m.
Delaware St. at N.C. State, 7 p.m.
Seattle at Virginia, 7 p.m.
Wright St. at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.
North Texas at LSU, 8 p.m.
N. Colorado at Louisiana-Monroe, 8 p.m.
N.J. Tech at Maryland, 8 p.m.
Louisville at W. Kentucky, 8 p.m.

Manhattan at Bowling Green, 7 p.m.
Cornerstone at Cent. Michigan, 7 p.m.
South Florida at Cleveland St., 7 p.m.
Texas at Michigan St., 7 p.m.
Temple at Ohio, 7 p.m.
UMBC at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
Loyola Marymount at South Dakota, 8 p.m.
Detroit at Bradley, 8:05 p.m.
Arkansas St. at Missouri St., 8:05 p.m.
N. Illinois at S. Illinois, 8:05 p.m.
Florida Atlantic at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
Illinois at Missouri, 9 p.m.
Samford at Creighton, 9:05 p.m.

Texas Southern at Arkansas, 8 p.m.
Alabama St. at SMU, 8 p.m.
Texas-Arlington at Texas Tech, 8 p.m.
Loyola of Chicago at Texas-Pan American, 8 p.m.
Canisius at Lamar, 8:05 p.m.

Longwood vs. SIU-Edwardsville at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 2:30 p.m.
Rice vs. Miami at South Point Arena, Las Vegas, 3 p.m.
S. Carolina St. vs. The Citadel at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 5 p.m.
Stetson vs. Akron at South Point Arena, Las Vegas, 5:15 p.m.
Oral Roberts vs. Ark.-Little Rock at South Point Arena, Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m.
N. Iowa vs. Indiana at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m.
Idaho St. vs. Troy at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Ogden, Utah, 7:30 p.m.
Robert Morris at Arizona, 8:30 p.m.
Air Force at N. Arizona, 8:35 p.m.
Nevada at Washington, 9 p.m.
Wis.-Green Bay at Wyoming, 9 p.m.
UC Riverside at CS Bakersfield, 10 p.m.
New Mexico vs. Colorado at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 10 p.m.
Ill.-Chicago at Oregon St., 10 p.m.
Boise St. at Portland, 10 p.m.
IUPUI vs. San Diego St. at South Point Arena, Las Vegas, 10 p.m.
Puget Sound at San Jose St., 10 p.m.
Santa Clara at CS Northridge, 10:05 p.m.
Montana at Cal St.-Fullerton, 10:05 p.m.
W. Michigan at Utah St., 10:05 p.m.
Kansas at California, 11 p.m.
Xavier at Gonzaga, 11 p.m.


Cancun Governor’s Cup
At Cancun, Mexico
First Round
Northeastern vs. Saint Louis, Noon
ETSU vs. Southern Miss., 2:30 p.m.
Texas St. vs. Mississippi, 6 p.m.
Appalachian St. vs. Colorado St., 8:30 p.m.

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
At Honolulu
First Round
Mississippi St. vs. Washington St., 3 p.m.
San Diego vs. Baylor, 5 p.m.
Utah vs. Butler, 11 p.m.
Florida St. at Hawaii, 1 a.m.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.