If there’s a downfall to Rivalry Week – one of the few manufactured ESPN “weeks” that actually works – it’s that Duke-North Carolina always steals the spotlight.
It’s a byproduct of college hoops’ biggest rivalry appealing to non-hoopheads, which is OK, I guess. Can’t hurt the sport to get some extra attention before March.
But it is Rivalry Week, not Rivalry Day. That means many, many other enticing games are on the schedule. Starting with tonight.
(All times ET)
Missouri at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN): The Border War (that overused term actually applies in the historical context between the two states) used to have more heat before the Big 12 diluted things a bit and Bill Self and Mike Anderson made everything more civilized. Games are usually good, though. At least when Missouri doesn’t get killed on the boards like it did last season. Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey and Matt Pressey should be a handful for Kansas’ guards, but unless Ricardo Ratliffe and Laurence Bowers protect the glass, the Tigers are gonna get killed.
Pittsburgh at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN): The Panthers will be without Ashton Gibbs for tonight’s Backyard Brawl and maybe even forward Dante Taylor, which should prevent this game from being a blowout. In theory. The Mountaineers got drilled by Villanova over the weekend and are still dealing with a short bench. If Pitt finds any rhythm on offense, West Virginia will have a hard time keeping up.
Manhattan at Iona, 7:30 p.m. (MASN/MSG): The underrated rivalry game of the night. The Gaels far outclass the Jaspers, who can’t seem to win on the road. But I’m going with the “throw out the records” cliché for this one. Just because.
Loyola, Md. at Siena, 7 p.m.
Pittsburgh at West Virginia, 7 p.m.
Manhattan at Iona, 7:30 p.m.
MVSU at Alabama St., 7 p.m.
N.C. Central at High Point, 7 p.m.
The Citadel at UNC Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Morgan St. at Bethune-Cookman, 7:30 p.m.
Coppin St. at Florida A&M, 7:30 p.m.
Campbell at Kennesaw St., 7:30 p.m.
N. Carolina A&T at Md.-Eastern Shore, 7:30 p.m.
S. Carolina St. at Howard, 8 p.m.
Tennessee St. at Jacksonville St., 8 p.m.
Austin Peay at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m.
Ark.-Pine Bluff at Alabama A&M, 8:30 p.m.
Grambling St. at Alcorn St., 8:30 p.m.
Jackson St. at Southern U., 8:30 p.m.
Norfolk St. at Delaware St., 9 p.m.
Ill.-Chicago at Butler, 7 p.m.
Cleveland St. at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Youngstown St. at Wright St., 7 p.m.
Murray St. at E. Illinois, 8 p.m.
SE Missouri at SIU-Edwardsville, 8 p.m.
Missouri at Kansas, 9 p.m.
Savannah St. at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 8 p.m.
Louisiana Tech at New Mexico St., 9 p.m.
CS Bakersfield at Fresno St., 10 p.m.
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