Thursday’s slate and what to watch


Game of the Night: No. 22 Florida State @ Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Ok, ok, ok. Game of the Night may be a bit of a stretch, at least for those that prefer offense over 55 possession games where the first to 50 points has a legitimate shot at winning. The first time these two teams got together, in Tallahassee, Virginia erased a big second half deficit but still fell to the Seminoles, 58-55. This time around, there is less on the line — Florida State is pretty firmly entrenched at the three seed in the ACC Tournament while UVA just needs to split their last two games to lock up the four seed and a first round bye — but that doesn’t mean this game doesn’t carry weight. Both teams have struggled of late and both teams are going to be in the NCAA Tournament, meaning that there may end up being some seeding implications pending the outcome.

Mid-major matchup of the Night: New Mexico State @ Nevada, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

Neither of these two teams are going to be getting at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be talent on the floor as the Wolf Pack take on the Aggies. Nevada has had a bit of a resurgence this season, with their talented transfers meshing and Deonte Burton turning into the star that the recruiting experts expected him to be when he signed. But NMSU has a kid by the name of Wendell McKines who is as good as anyone power forward out west. Late night WAC hoops are a guilty pleasure of mine.

Who’s getting upset?: No. 13 Michigan @ Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Bear with me for a minute: I know that Illinois has had their fair shar of struggles late in the season, but picture a win over the Wolverines would mean that the Illini have beaten each of the top three teams in the Big Ten. I know that we’ve all written off the Illini, but if they can put it back together for two games and win out the regular season, they will be 8-10 in the conference with three wins better than any other bubble team can claim. That has to get them back into the discussion for an at-large bid, right?

Other notable games:

– Georgia @ No. 1 Kentucky, 9 p.m.
– Villanova @ Rutgers, 9 p.m.
– Virginia Tech @ Clemson, 9 p.m.
– Washington @ USC, 10:30 p.m.
– Colorado @ Oregon, 10:30 p.m.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.