Thursday’s slate and what to watch

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Is this the year the streak ends?

Gonzaga’s won the WCC regular-season crown every year since 2001, fending off challenges from St. Mary’s no less than half a dozen times. But tonight’s Gaels-Zags showdown in Spokane (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2) could serve as a crucial step toward the Gaels finally finishing first.

They’re 17-3 overall, 5-0 in conference play. A win tonight would place them three games ahead of struggling Gonzaga (13-7, 3-2) with almost half of the conference season gone. A win would be small feat, either.

In nearly 10 years as the St. Mary’s coach, Randy Bennett has never won in Spokane. The Gaels haven’t won there since 1995. And the last time the Zags lost three straight WCC games was 1997. No small thing.

(All times ET)

Michigan at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN): It’s the Spartans’ first game since Tom Izzo booted guard Korie Lucious for the remainder of the season. Does MSU (12-7 overall, 4-3) snap a two-game skid, or can their in-state rivals snap a six-game losing streak of their own? The Wolverines (11-9, 1-6) have the conference’s least efficient defense, which will probably be the saving grace for the Spartans.

Vanderbilt at Miss State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2): The Commodores are back in the Top 25, but better find a way to win on the road if they want to stay there. All four losses have come on the road. This game shouldn’t be close, but who knows? Renardo Sidney, Dee Bost and the Bulldogs could actually start playing up to their potential. Stranger things have happened in the SEC this season.

UCLA at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2): If you think the Wildcats look sharper than normal tonight, you’d be correct. They’ll need it vs. the Bruins, who’ve quietly won four straight and are 13-6.

Hofstra at VCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU): Jimmer’s great. Yet Pride guard Charles Jenkins is arguably the most important player to his team in all of D-I. The guy does it all – wins games, helps new coaches adjust and even saves opposing programs. A win at VCU would be par for the course for Jenkins.

EAST
Wagner at Bryant, 7 p.m.
Mount St. Mary’s, Md. at Cent. Connecticut St., 7 p.m.
Long Island U. at Fairleigh Dickinson, 7 p.m.
Colgate at Holy Cross, 7 p.m.
Robert Morris at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.
St. Francis, Pa. at Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.
Marist at St. Peter’s, 7 p.m.
Rider at Iona, 7:30 p.m.
St. Francis, NY at Monmouth, N.J., 7:45 p.m.

SOUTH
Wofford at Appalachian St., 7 p.m.
UNC Greensboro at Chattanooga, 7 p.m.
W. Kentucky at Fla. International, 7 p.m.
Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.
Coastal Carolina at High Point, 7 p.m.
UNC Asheville at Liberty, 7 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi St., 7 p.m.
Charleston Southern at Radford, 7 p.m.
Gardner-Webb at VMI, 7 p.m.
Hofstra at Va. Commonwealth, 7 p.m.
Maryland at Virginia, 7 p.m.
Furman at W. Carolina, 7 p.m.
Austin Peay at E. Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
Tennessee St. at Morehead St., 7:45 p.m.
Boston College at Duke, 8 p.m.
Idaho at Louisiana Tech, 8 p.m.
Elon at Samford, 8 p.m.
South Alabama at Troy, 8 p.m.
North Texas at Louisiana-Lafayette, 8:05 p.m.
Southern U. at Alcorn St., 8:30 p.m.
DePaul at South Florida, 9 p.m.

MIDWEST
Kent St. at Ball St., 7 p.m.
Miami (Ohio) at Cent. Michigan, 7 p.m.
Centenary at IPFW, 7 p.m.
Michigan at Michigan St., 7 p.m.
Oral Roberts at Oakland, Mich., 7 p.m.
Cleveland St. at Ill.-Chicago, 8 p.m.
Youngstown St. at Loyola of Chicago, 8 p.m.
S. Utah at N. Dakota St., 8 p.m.
UMKC at S. Dakota St., 8 p.m.
Tennessee Tech at E. Illinois, 8:30 p.m.
Jacksonville St. at SE Missouri, 8:30 p.m.
Illinois at Indiana, 9 p.m.
Texas-Pan American at North Dakota, 9 p.m.
Houston Baptist at South Dakota, 9 p.m.

SOUTHWEST
Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas St., 8:05 p.m.

FAR WEST
Southern Cal at Arizona St., 8:30 p.m.
UCLA at Arizona, 9 p.m.
Boise St. at New Mexico St., 9 p.m.
Chicago St. at Utah Valley, 9 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Cal Poly, 10 p.m.
San Francisco at Loyola Marymount, 10 p.m.
San Diego at Portland, 10 p.m.
Utah St. at San Jose St., 10 p.m.
Oregon at Stanford, 10 p.m.
UC Riverside at UC Davis, 10 p.m.
CS Northridge at UC Irvine, 10 p.m.
Portland St. at E. Washington, 10:05 p.m.
Idaho St. at Sacramento St., 10:05 p.m.
Fresno St. at Nevada, 10:30 p.m.
Santa Clara at Pepperdine, 10:30 p.m.
Oregon St. at California, 11 p.m.
Saint Mary’s, Calif. at Gonzaga, 11 p.m.

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