Pregame Shootaround: SMU gets challenged, Gonzaga hits the road

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Game of the Night: Cincinnati at No. 23 SMU, 9:00 p.m.

The Mustangs have a showdown with Tulsa, the leader in the AAC, on Saturday — in Tulsa — but before they take on the Golden Hurricane, Larry Brown’s club will have to square off with Cincinnati, who has quietly put together an NCAA tournament caliber resume. The Mustangs whiffed on some chances in non-conference play, and their best wins — Wyoming at home, at Michigan — don’t look quite as good now as they did at the time. The American is not going to be a four or five-bid league this season, making games like this all the more important.

Five Things to Watch For

1. Iowa at Michigan, 7:00 p.m.: The Hawkeyes have had a disappointing season, but all hope is not lost. Michigan has already lost Caris LeVert and is likely to be without Derrick Walton, but the Wolverines have still been a tough out at home.

2. UCLA at Stanford, 9:00 p.m.: UCLA put themselves in a bad spot earlier this season with some poor performances in non-conference play and the start of the Pac-12 schedule, but the Bruins have had a couple of nice wins of late. They need to win some road games, however, and the Cardinal are probably the third-best team in the Pac-12.

3. No. 2 Gonzaga at Santa Clara, 11:00 p.m.: The road is never an easy place to win, but Gonzaga should be able to handle their business at Santa Clara.

4. Georgia State at Georgia Southern, 7:00 p.m.: Georgia State was the favorite to win the Sun Belt entering the season. Georgia Southern is currently in first place in the league.

5. Richmond at La Salle, 6:30 p.m.: This Atlantic 10 battle can be seen on NBCSN tonight.

Notables

  • Tulsa at Houston, 7:00 p.m.
  • Louisiana Tech at UAB, 9:00 p.m.
  • Eastern Washington at Montana, 9:00 p.m.