Tuesday’s slate and what to watch is focused on the CAA

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Tonight’s a first for the Colonial Athletic Association: A game between two CAA programs that have been to the Final Four.

It’s a nice moment of recognition for the conference and for VCU (went in 2011) and George Mason (2006), though neither team is thinking much about this season. They’re focused on how they can get back there. Because that seemed near-impossible back in November.

VCU ended the month 4-3. George Mason was 5-2, but had losses to FIU and Florida Atlantic.

“Let’s face it,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “Our teams, all of us — one through 12 — didn’t have quite as impressive of a November and December as last season, but there’s a reason behind that. Across the board teams in the CAA have gotten better.”

No kidding.

(All times ET; TV info from HDSportsGuide.com)

VCU at George Mason, 9 p.m. (CSN Philly, CSS, CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Smart’s Rams (22-5, 13-2) are tied atop the league with Drexel and George Mason (21-6, 13-2). Both are smokin’ right now. VCU’s won 11 in a row, mostly thanks to some solid defense. The Patriots have won 14 of its last 16 games, mostly thanks to its defense. See a trend here? Tonight might not be the prettiest game to watch, but you can be certain it’ll be compelling.

Florida at Alabama, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
The Tide (16-8, 5-5) won’t have its two best players tonight. That should be more than enough for the Gators to win. After all, Florida (19-6, 7-3) has dropped two straight and should be ready to throttle someone. Unless the ‘Bama defense brings it, it’ll be that team.

Ohio State at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
If there’s a #toprankedteamsproblems associated with the Buckeyes (21-4, 9-3), it’s this.  Hey, who wouldn’t like to have a guy who makes 50 percent of his 3s? (Answer? Nobody. Even Bob Knight.) But let’s be clear: Ohio State’s offense is good enough to compensate for the loss of a sharpshooter. If there’s something to be concerned about, it’s how William Buford and Deshaun Thomas handle the Gophers (17-8, 5-7) when added attention is given to Jared Sullinger.

Creighton at Southern Illinois, 8 p.m. (Action3 News, ESPNFC)
Panic time in Omaha? The Blue Jays (21-5, 11-4) have dropped three in a row and have to hit the road before hosting fellow BracketBuster Long Beach State this weekend. Now’s when Doug McDermott needs to drop 40. Did the SI jinx kick in?

Buffalo at Kent State, 7 p.m. (STOHD, ESPN FC)
Underrated game that should be the primary destination for hoops fans seeking a good game. The winner stays in reach of division-leading Akron.

EAST
Vermont at Binghamton, 7 p.m.
Stony Brook at Hartford, 7 p.m.
Georgetown at Seton Hall, 7 p.m.
Xavier at UMass, 7 p.m.

SOUTH
Auburn at Florida, 7 p.m.
Clemson at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
Wofford at UNC Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Miami at Maryland, 8 p.m.
North Carolina at NC State, 8 p.m.
Kentucky at Mississippi St., 9 p.m.
Virginia at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m.

MIDWEST
Ill.-Chicago at Butler, 7 p.m.
Kent St. at Miami (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Kansas St. at Missouri, 7 p.m.
Illinois at Ohio St., 7 p.m.
Evansville at Creighton, 8 p.m.
Cleveland St. at Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Michigan at Northwestern, 8 p.m.
Loyola of Chicago at Valparaiso, 8:05 p.m.

FAR WEST
New Mexico at Colorado St., 10 p.m.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.