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.
Game of the Day: No. 6 Kansas vs. Temple (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Temple already has one major upset under its belt, having beaten then-No. 3 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden in December. They now face another non-conference challenge as they travel to Allen Fieldhouse to take on No. 6 Kansas.
Khalif Wyatt and Anthony Lee were the catalysts in the win over Syracuse, Wyatt on the perimeter and Lee cleaning up down low. Against Kansas, Temple finds a team that has won ten straight games and rolled over then-No. 7 Ohio State on the road. Temple should be most concerned with two players, freshman Ben McLemore and senior Jeff Withey.
The Owls likely won’t have the same opportunities on the interior as they did against Syracuse, thanks mostly to the shot-blocking ability of Withey and the solid team rebounding of the Jayhawks. That means that Lee and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson will have to work harder on the boards to get Temple second-shot opportunities and keep Kansas at bay.
But that still leaves the problem of McLemore. He has scored in double figures in 10 of Kansas’ 12 games, including 22 points in the Jayhawks’ big win over Ohio State. His athleticism naturally creates a matchup problem on the perimeter, something that Temple coach Fran Dunphy will have to account for Sunday afternoon.
Who’s Getting Upset?: Virginia against North Carolina
The Cavaliers are favored by one or two points Sunday, being that the Tar Heels are traveling to Charlottesville for this ACC matchup. The key, though, will be the return of Reggie Bullock. After missing UNC’s win over UNLV due to a concussion, Bullock will return to the lineup Sunday, according to the school. This gives North Carolina more help on the perimeter defensively and also reinserts the team’s second-leading scorer into the rotation.
James Michael McAdoo will battle with Virginia’s Akil Mitchell down low, but the Tar Heels should be able to get an ACC win on the road.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Wichita State vs. Bradley (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
The Shockers were rolling before a loss to Tennessee on Dec. 13, but are now back on track with four straight wins. Bradley is hurt by the loss of Will Egolf, who was arrested on a drug possession charge this week and did not play Jan. 2 in a win over Southern Illinois.
Leading scorer Carl Hall has missed the last four games for the Shockers, but they have not missed a beat. That is due in large part to Cleanthony Early, who is averaging over 14 points per game in his absence. Wichita State will have the advantage on the backboards, especially without Egolf, which could be the difference on Sunday. Look for Bradley’s Tyshon Pickett (11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds per game) to try to change that.
Five Things to Watch
1) Iowa ran Indiana to the wire in their Big Ten opener, and now have another chance at an upset Sunday on the road at No. 2 Michigan. The Hawkeyes are one of the best rebounding teams in the country and will need to beat the Wolverines on the boards to limit second-shot opportunities for Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke, and Glenn Robinson III.
2) Andre Hollins had 22 points and six assists in a statement win over No. 18 Michigan State on New Year’s Eve. Expect something similar from him Sunday against Northwestern at home.
3) Colorado had its heart broken when a game-winning three-pointer was waved off against No. 3 Arizona and the Buffalos eventually lost in overtime. They return to the floor Sunday against tough freshman point guard Jahii Carson and Arizona State.
4) In what otherwise would be just another C-USA game on the schedule, Tulsa vs. Southern Methodist is special for one reason Sunday–the coaching matchup. First-year coach Larry Brown leads SMU against his former star player, Danny Manning, now the head coach at Tulsa.
5) The annual Civil War erupts in Oregon Sunday, as Oregon meets Oregon State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. The Beavers are still trying to work past their loss to Towson in late December, but face a tough test against Arsalan Kazemi and Oregon.
Top 25 Games
No. 2 Michigan vs. Iowa (12:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
No. 6 Kansas vs. Temple (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
No. 7 Syracuse vs. South Florida (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
No. 9 Minnesota vs. Northwestern (7:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
No. 13 Florida vs. Yale (5:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)
Other Notable Games
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska (4:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
Colorado vs. Arizona State (8:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)
Tulsa vs. Southern Methodist (8:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net National)
North Carolina vs. Virginia (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Oregon vs. Oregon State (10:00 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports)
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_