Monday’s slate and what to watch

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Ready to spend the rest of Martin Luther King, Jr. day watching college hoops? Good. ESPN wants it that way.

And I’m more than happy to oblige.

(All times ET)

Syracuse at Pitt, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN): One of two mammoth matchups today, both involving the Big East. The Orange (18-0) are off to their best start in more than 20 years, but probably won’t have swingman Kris Joseph for a trip to the Oakland Zoo. That’s no small thing, either. Pitt’s well equipped to handle Syracuse’s nasty 2-3 zone defense. Without Joseph, ‘Cuse may not have the scoring punch to extend that perfect season.

Villanova at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN): Will the Wildcats’ guards overwhelm Kemba Walker? Probably, so it’s a good thing the rest of Walker’s teammates finally decided to start playing. Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi both thrived in Saturday’s win at DePaul – which means they better be just as good against the likes of Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Maalik Wayns. And even that may not be enough.

Kansas State at Missouri, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN): The Wildcats got a much-needed win Saturday against Texas Tech, their first in the Big 12. Just in time for the start of brutal stretch of games that could determine their NCAA tournament hopes. If Monday’s good, it won’t be a surprise. Missouri seems to play in just about every memorable game from this season. Marcus Denmon & Co. will have their pressure defense ready.

Kansas at Baylor, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN): SPOILER ALERT! When Dave Ommen’s latest bracket projections arrive a little later, the Bears are one of the first five teams who didn’t make the cut. That makes a home stand against the No. 2 Jayhawks about as big as it gets. The last time the Bears beat KU? The 2009 Big 12 tournament. There was plenty riding on that game, too.

EAST
Quinnipiac at Brown, 1 p.m.
Niagara at Manhattan, 2 p.m.
Loyola, Md. at St. Peter’s, 2 p.m.
Villanova at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m.
Dartmouth at Colgate, 4 p.m.
Albany, N.Y. at Stony Brook, 5 p.m.
Hartford at Binghamton, 7 p.m.
Houston Baptist at Fairleigh Dickinson, 7 p.m.
Fairfield at Rider, 7 p.m.
Canisius at Siena, 7 p.m.
Boston U. at UMBC, 7 p.m.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

SOUTH
Elon at Appalachian St., 7 p.m.
Coll. of Charleston at Chattanooga, 7 p.m.
UAB at East Carolina, 7 p.m.
Davidson at UNC Greensboro, 7 p.m.
S. Carolina St. at Coppin St., 7:30 p.m.
Florida A&M at Delaware St., 7:30 p.m.
Bethune-Cookman at Md.-Eastern Shore, 7:30 p.m.
N. Carolina A&T at Hampton, 8 p.m.
The Citadel at Samford, 8 p.m.
Campbell at Lipscomb, 8:15 p.m.
Ark.-Pine Bluff at Alcorn St., 8:30 p.m.
MVSU at Southern U., 8:30 p.m.
Norfolk St. at Howard, 9 p.m.

MIDWEST
Kansas St. at Missouri, 5:30 p.m.

SOUTHWEST
Grambling St. at Texas Southern, 3 p.m.
Jackson St. at Prairie View, 7 p.m.
Lamar at Arkansas St., 8:05 p.m.
Kansas at Baylor, 9:30 p.m.

FAR WEST
Idaho at Fresno St., 10 p.m.

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