C.J. Fair

Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Syracuse and St. John’s battle in the Garden

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s, noon (Fox Sports 1)

It’s an old school Big East battle inside Madison Square Garden. Sunday won’t get much better than that. The Johnnies are looking to defeated their in-state rival for the first time since 2007, and in the process earning a huge non-conference win. It won’t be easy for the Red Storm, as the Orange enter MSG unbeaten.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? La Salle over No. 10 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Villanova has skyrocketed up the rankings over the past few weeks since winning the Battle 4 Atlantis. In their first two Big 5 games, the Wildcats have breezed past Penn and St. Joseph’s. For the third straight game, Villanova goes head-to-head with a Philly rival. La Salle is just above .500 with a 5-4  record, but the Explorers are still a dangerous team.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Norfolk State vs. Boston University, 1 p.m.

The Terriers welcome the Spartans to Case Gym on Sunday afternoon in Boston. This game is part of a challenging portion of BU’s schedule. Since last Saturday, the Terriers have lost games to Harvard and George Washington. This afternoon BU plays host to the MEAC favorite, a team looking to add its eighth win of the year on the road against the Patriot League contender.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) Jordan Clarkson has been an impact transfer for Missouri leading them to a 9-0 record — with wins over West Virginia and UCLA this month — and has the Tigers in the top 25. Clarkson and Mizzou look to remain perfect in a game against MAC opponent Western Michigan, which has a talented guard of its own in David Brown.

2) Drexel and Davidson meet in a good mid-major matchup. Davidson put together another tough out-of-conference schedule. A win would go a long way, especially with games against North Carolina and Wichita State left on the non-conference schedule.

3) The Hall of Fame coach Herb Magee and his Division II Philadelphia University, make the trip to Chestnut Hill to play Boston College, a team in that has lost three straight.

4) UC Santa Barbara has already knocked off UNLV and Cal this season, while almost leaving Pauley Pavilion with an upset win over UCLA. The Gauchos should not be overlooked as they take on the San Diego (8-3).

5) Stony Brook, the favorite in the American East, begins conference play on Sunday against New Hampshire. Vermont, another contender in the American East, gets a good test with Quinnipiac.

THE TOP 25:

  • No. 2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s, noon (Fox Sports 1)
  • La Salle vs. No. 10 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Western Michigan vs. No. 24 Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

NOTABLES:

  • Philadelphia University vs. Boston College, noon
  • Manhattan vs. UNC-Wilmington, 2 p.m.
  • Stephen F. Austin vs. North Texas, 2 p.m.
  • Drexel vs. Davidson, 2 p.m.
  • Chicago State vs. DePaul, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • UC Santa Barbara vs. San Diego, 5 p.m.
  • UC Irvine vs. Eastern Washington, 5:05 p.m.
  • Troy vs. Kansas State, 6 p.m.
  • Georgia Southern vs. UAB, 8 p.m.
  • Pepperdine vs. Washington State, 8 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
  • CSU Bakersfield vs. USC, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.

 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POWER RANKINGS: Buddy Hield isn’t going anywhere

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
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It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.

And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.

The rest of the top 10?

They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: