Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:
Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.
Game of the Day: No. 11 Cincinnati vs. Xavier
The Crosstown Classic is back this year after last year’s match-up was scarred by an ugly brawl that erupted in the game’s final seconds. NBCSports.com took a look at that earlier today, but both teams are looking to turn the page from last season’s blemish. The tables have turned in the poll since last season, too, with No. 11 Cincinnati facing the unranked Musketeers. Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright will be important for the Bearcats. Keep an eye on freshman Semaj Christon for XU.
Despite not having one singular, dominant rebounder, the Bearcats rank No. 1 in the country in rebounding. That helps them toward averaging the sixth-most points per game in the country.
Who’s Getting Upset?: Temple against Canisius
With Billy Baron putting up a lot of points, the Golden Griffins have been an upstart in the MAAC this season. They score a lot of points as a team, too, and their weakness, rebounding, isn’t exactly Temple’s strength. I don’t know who I’d take in an actual fight between an Owl and a Golden Griffin, but I’m taking Canisius in this one.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: South Dakota State vs. Belmont
This isn’t the first time Belmont has been a part of the Mid-Major Matchup of the Day, and it likely won’t be the last. But the Kerron Johnson-Nate Wolters pairing Wednesday night is too good to pass up. Wolters has become something of a folk hero since the later part of last season, while Johnson still remains under the radar to many.
Both teams rank in the Top 75 in scoring nationally, so look for a lot of points Wednesday night.
Five Things to Watch
1. The Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry features contrasting backcourts. One, Cincinnati’s Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick, is older and experienced, where Xavier’s in young, Semaj Christon and Dee Davis.
2. It’s a Pitino-Pitino match-up when No. 5 Louisville and Rick Pitino take on Florida International and first-year head coach Richard Pitino. The younger Pitino came to FIU after serving on his father’s staff at Louisville.
3. The No. 1 Duke Blue Devils return to the floor for the first time in over a week, 11 days after defeating Temple. They take on Ivy League foe Cornell at Cameron Indoor.
4. There is still no word from the NCAA on Texas point guard Myck Kabongo, meaning that he likely won’t play when the Longhorns meet No. 23 North Carolina Wednesday night. Texas is 6-4, but ranks 270th in the country in points per game.
5. Very few people are talking about Iowa State. All I’m saying is, you ought to keep an eye on them. The Cyclones rank in the Top 10 nationally in scoring and rebounding, Top 30 in assists, and Top 85 in FG percentage. They take on UMKC Wednesday.
Rest of the Top 25
No. 1 Duke vs. Cornell (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
No. 5 Louisville vs. Florida International (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 6 Indiana vs. Mount St. Mary’s (7:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
No. 8 Florida vs. Southeastern Louisiana (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 11 Cincinnati vs. Xavier (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2) (See Above)
No. 14 Gonzaga vs. Campbell (9:00 p.m. ET, ROOT)
No. 16 New Mexico vs. New Mexico State (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 17 Creighton vs. Tulsa (8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 21 UNLV vs. Northern Iowa (10:00 p.m. ET)
No. 22 Notre Dame vs. Kennesaw State (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 23 North Carolina vs. Texas (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 24 Oklahoma State vs. Texas-Arlington (8:00 p.m. ET)
Other Notable Games
Virginia vs. Morgan State (7:00 p.m. ET)
Clemson vs. Coastal Carolina (7:00 p.m. ET)
Illinois State vs. Dayton (7:00 p.m. ET)
Oregon vs. UTEP (8:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
Murray State vs. Arkansas State (8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
West Virginia vs. Oakland (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Pittsburgh vs. Delaware State (7:00 p.m. ET)