Pregame Shootaround: Big Ten play kicks off in exciting fashion

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Game of the Day: No. 12 Maryland at Michigan State, 5:00 p.m.

The question that everyone has been asking about the Big Ten this season is ‘Who is No. 2?’ It’s obvious that Wisconsin is the league’s power, but who will be their biggest challenger? As of now, that appears to be Maryland, who has rolled through the non-conference portion of their schedule despite playing much of it without Dez Wells healthy. The trio of Jake Layman, Melo Trimble and Wells is tough, but they will get quite a Welcome To The Big Ten moment as they make their first league road trip to East Lansing.

The Other Game of the Day: Davidson at No. 3 Virginia, 6:00 p.m.

I think that the Wildcats actually have a chance to pull off an upset here. The way to break down Virginia’s packline defense is to get it moving and to hit threes over the top of it. Bob McKillop loves running complicated sets that create open looks from the perimeter.

Who’s Getting Upset?: William & Mary at No. 19 North Carolina, 7:00 p.m.

William & Mary is one of the better mid-major teams on the east coast, and while going into the Dean Dome is never an easy task, this isn’t the North Carolina team that we expected to see this season. Keep an eye on Marcus Thornton, one of the most entertaining mid-major guards in the country.

Five Things to Watch For

1. Kent State at No. 13 Kansas, 8:00 p.m.: The last time the Jayhawks took the floor, they got utterly embarrassed by Temple. How will they bounce back from that?

2. Ole Miss at Dayton, 8:00 p.m.: I have a feeling that this is the kind of game that will be talked about come tournament time. Both Ole Miss and Dayton look like they’re headed for the bubble.

3. Iowa at No. 20 Ohio State, 1:00 p.m.: These are two of the Big Ten teams that I am trying to figure out this season. I had high hopes for Iowa, but they’ve looked downright bad at times this year. And Ohio State has impressed in every game except the losses to Louisville and North Carolina. Should I mention that they didn’t play anyone else of note?

4. Illinois at Michigan, 3:00 p.m.: Be prepared for the Khaki-Out. Also, get ready for two teams that really need this win.

5. Long Beach State at No. 4 Louisville, 4:00 p.m.: Don’t be surprised to see Louisville run out a new starting lineup this afternoon.

The Rest of the Top 25

  • Carroll at No. 10 Utah, 10:00 p.m.
  • Hartford at No. 14 Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.
  • Virginia Tech at No. 17 West Virginia, 2:00 p.m.
  • Norfolk State at No. 22 Baylor, 8:00 p.m.

Notables

  • Cincinnati at N.C. State, 5:00 p.m.
  • Florida State at Florida, 7:00 p.m.
  • Oklahoma State at Missouri, 9:00 p.m.