Thursday’s slate and what to watch

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Some days, it’s all about the Big Five.

Thursday’s Temple-Villanova game is more than a showdown between two Top 25 teams. It’s about college hoops bragging rights in the city of Philadelphia. (Well, and the top spot in the Schuylkill 16) If you’re shrugging your shoulders, don’t. Right now, the Owls have those bragging rights for the first time in years.

Best believe the Wildcats want ‘em back.

Jay Wright’s team is 10-1, gets plenty of offense from different sources (usually Corey Stokes or Corey Fisher) and doesn’t turn the ball over. The defense looks fantastic on paper, but hasn’t been tested in weeks. (It may not be tested against Temple, either. Read on.)

Temple (9-2) has won six straight, including a win earlier this month against Georgetown. The Owls, once again, play terrible efficient defense. Opponents don’t shoot well and when they miss, they rarely get the rebound. Good thing, too. Offense isn’t always easy to come by.

Old Dominion at Missouri: Whether you call Mizzou “team excitement” or the “fastest 40 minutes in basketball, one thing’s certain – anyone facing the Tigers better take care of the ball. Only 10 teams force more turnovers per 100 possessions than Mizzou, which doesn’t bode well for ODU’s guards. Still, if there’s hope for the Monarchs, it’s in their rebounding. The Tigers are average on the glass – and ODU’s exceptional. If ODU limits its turnovers to 15, this one will be close.

Oakland at Oral Roberts: Thanks to its upset of Tennessee and playing seemingly every Big Ten team, Oakland’s garnered all sorts of attention as a mid-major to watch. The 8-8 record may not seem impressive, but with NBA-talent Keith Benson and solid seniors Will Hudson and Larry Wright, the Grizzlies are capable of making a clean sweep in the Summit League … if they win at Oral Roberts.

(All times ET) 

EAST
Dartmouth at Bucknell, 7 p.m.
BYU at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Columbia at Maine, 7 p.m.
Long Island U. at Navy, 7 p.m.
N.J. Tech at St. Francis, NY, 7 p.m.
Niagara at UMBC, 7 p.m.
Temple at Villanova, 7 p.m.
Albany, N.Y. at Wagner, 7 p.m.

SOUTH
Charlotte at Mercer, 2 p.m.
S.C.-Upstate at Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.
Pepperdine at Miami, 6 p.m.
Albany, Ga. at Alabama St., 7 p.m.
Milligan at Appalachian St., 7 p.m.
St. Joseph’s, Maine at Davidson, 7 p.m.
Campbell at ETSU, 7 p.m.
Manhattan at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.
Binghamton at Morehead St., 7 p.m.
Robert Morris at Morgan St., 7 p.m.
Toledo at UNC Wilmington, 7 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at Jacksonville, 7:15 p.m.
Miami (Ohio) at Belmont, 8 p.m.
IPFW at Centenary, 8 p.m.
Lipscomb at Memphis, 8 p.m.
Alcorn St. at Mississippi, 8 p.m.
Crowley’s Ridge at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m.
Lamar at Tulane, 8 p.m.
Iowa St. at Virginia, 8 p.m.
SIU-Edwardsville at Murray St., 8:30 p.m.

MIDWEST
UTSA at Bowling Green, 7 p.m.
Loyola of Chicago at Cleveland St., 7 p.m.
Wis.-Green Bay at Detroit, 7 p.m.
W. Illinois at IUPUI, 7 p.m.
Norfolk St. at Ohio, 7 p.m.
Wis.-Milwaukee at Wright St., 7 p.m.
Ill.-Chicago at Youngstown St., 7:05 p.m.
Old Dominion at Missouri, 8 p.m.
S. Dakota Mines at North Dakota, 8 p.m.
Doane at South Dakota, 8 p.m.
S. Dakota St. at UMKC, 8:05 p.m.

SOUTHWEST
Rogers State at Houston, 7 p.m.
Ark.-Little Rock at North Texas, 8 p.m.
Cent. Arkansas at Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
TCU at Tulsa, 8 p.m.
South Alabama at Arkansas St., 8:05 p.m.
Oakland, Mich. at Oral Roberts, 8:05 p.m.

FAR WEST
Louisiana-Lafayette at Denver, 9 p.m.
N. Dakota St. at S. Utah, 9 p.m.
Long Beach St. at Cal Poly, 10 p.m.
Arizona at Oregon, 10 p.m.
Hampton at San Francisco, 10 p.m.
Loyola Marymount at UC Irvine, 10 p.m.
Cent. Michigan at UNLV, 10 p.m.
UC Davis at CS Northridge, 10:05 p.m.
Pacific at Cal St.-Fullerton, 10:05 p.m.
Arizona St. at Oregon St., 10:30 p.m.

TOURNAMENTS

Cable Car Classic
At Santa Clara, Calif
First Round
Third Place, 9 p.m.
Championship, 11:15 p.m.

Dr Pepper Classic
At Chattanooga, Tenn.
Third Place, 4:30 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.

Hardwood Club Holiday Tournament
At Hattiesburg, Miss.
Third Place, 5:30 p.m.
Championship, 8 p.m.

UCF Holiday Classic
At Orlando, Fla.
Third Place, 5 p.m.
Championship, 7:30 p.m.

VCU Christmas Tournament
At Richmond, Va.
Third Place, 5 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.

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