Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:
Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.
Games of the Day/Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: No. 16 Creighton at Illinois State (8 p.m.)
A great matchup to start off Missouri Valley Conference play, both a team matchup, as well as an individual matchup. Illinois State had a four-game winning streak snapped by Indiana State in the conference opener, while Creighton, the MVC favorite, comes in with a 12-1 record, a lone loss to Boise State. Doug McDermott, one of the leading candidates for Player of the Year, enters averaging 23.5 points to go along with seven boards. He’ll share the floor with a talented opponent. Jackie Carmichael 17.5 points a game, as well as over eight rebounds
No. 1 Duke at Davidson (7 p.m., ESPN2)
Not really a road game for the nation’s top team, as it will be played in Charlotte. The Blue Devils are cruising as of late, behind the National Player of the Year-type play by senior Mason Plumlee. Davidson entered the season with a lot of hype, however the Cougars already have five losses and it’s Jan. 3.
Rutgers at No. 7 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN3)
The classic Big East matchup of a future Big Ten school taking on a future ACC school. But seriously, big-game tonight, filled with emotions tonight at the Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim looks to pass Bob Knight on the men’s Division I wins list, putting him behind only Coach K. This also marks the beginning of the end of a Big East charter member, with the Orange joining the ACC next year.
Five Things to Watch
1. Louisville looks for revenge against Providence. Last season the Cardinals suffered an embarrassing road loss to the Friars, 90-59.
2. Brothers go head-to-head. Jordan Bachynski and Arizona State host Dallin Bachynski and Utah. Jordan enters averaging 9.8 points per game, while Dallin chips in 7.6. per game.
3. Stevens to hit a milestone. Brad Stevens looks to notch his 150th victory against Penn tonight, in only his sixth season on the Butler sideline.
4. Catholic 7 start Big East action. St. John’s travels to play Villanova (8 p.m. ESPNU). Followed by DePaul hosting Seton Hall (9 p.m. ESPN3).
5. Another game to watch. La Salle travels down to Florida to take on Miami, in a matchup between two teams many believe could be on the bubble come March.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne