Welcome to the Madness.
Selection Sunday is still 13 days away, but two conference tournaments – the Big South and the Horizon – open their festivities today, which is more than enough for me to celebrate the greatest month of the year.
The best Horizon game should be Loyola at Detroit, but the most intriguing of the day comes from the Big South where overwhelming favorite Coastal Carolina plays host to Gardner-Webb. Yes, the same Gardner-Webb that produced a stunning win over The Chanticleers just 10 days ago. The odds of it happening again are mighty slim, but still. I’ll be eager to see the result. (7 p.m.)
(All times ET)
Missouri at Nebraska, 8 p.m. (ESPN-FC): The Tigers (22-7, 8-6) have just one Big 12 road win. The Huskers (18-10, 6-8) have beaten Texas, Texas A&M and Colorado at the Devaney Center. Another would get them back into the bubble discussion. Kinda like the most of the Big 12.
Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN): Speaking of bubble, here are the Illini. At 18-11 overall and 8-8 in the Big Ten, Illinois is in better shape than most bubble teams, but is hardly feeling good about their Selection Sunday prospects. A road win over Purdue is unlikely, but oh so ideal for Bruce Weber’s team.
Alabama at Florida, 7 p.m. ESPNU): ‘Bama! Bubble! Notice a trend? Alabama’s 19-9 and 11-3 in SEC play, which isn’t the end of the world, but doesn’t give it any room for error. Less promising for the Tide is playing a motivated Gators team in Gainesville.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 9 p.m. (ESPN): OK, enough with the bubble talk. How about a game featuring the SEC’s two best teams? After beating the Gators on Sunday, the Wildcats (20-8, 8-6) are trying to establish themselves as the league’s scariest team. For once, Vandy (21-7, 9-5) might actually be able to withstand the road pressure.
Ohio St. at Penn St., 9 p.m.
Alabama at Florida, 7 p.m.
N.C. State at Virginia, 7 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 9 p.m.
Boston College at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m.
Akron at Ohio, 7 p.m.
Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m.
Cent. Michigan at Toledo, 7 p.m.
Kent St. at Bowling Green, 7:30 p.m.
Missouri at Nebraska, 8 p.m.
Savannah St. at W. Illinois, 8 p.m.
Baylor at Oklahoma St., 7 p.m.
North Texas at Ark.-Little Rock, 8:30 p.m.
Seattle at Stanford, 10 p.m.
San Diego St. at Wyoming, 10 p.m.
Big South Conference
No. 8 Gardner-Webb at No. 1 Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
No. 7 High Point at No. 2 Liberty, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Charleston Southern at No. 3 UNC Asheville, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Winthrop at No. 4 VMI, 7 p.m.
No. 10 UIC at No. 3 Cleveland State, 7 p.m.
No. 9 Youngstown State at No. 4 Valparaiso, 8 p.m.
No. 8 Loyola at No. 5 Detroit, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Green Bay at No. 6 Wright State, 7 p.m.
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