PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: The final night of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 24 Louisville at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:15 p.m.

Michigan State has played like the best team in the country this season. That doesn’t mean that they are the best team in the country, but the games they’ve won and the manner in which they’ve won them — namely, Denzel Valentine turning into Oscar Robertson — has them legitimately in the conversation as the nation’s best. Louisville, on the other hand, has looked impressive while playing a schedule that isn’t that much tougher than what my men’s league team plays. We’ll get a chance to find out if they’re for real tonight.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: Indiana at No. 7 Duke, 9:15 p.m.

While the matchup doesn’t look nearly as good today as it did before Indiana flamed out in the Maui Invitational, the intrigue level is as high as ever. Tom Crean entered this season under all kinds of pressure, and the early returns are devastating. Indiana’s defense as been awful, and the one thing we know about this Duke team is that they can score and they can beat people off the dribble. This is not exactly an ideal matchup for the Hoosiers, and if things go bad, it could end up getting real nasty for Crean in Bloomington.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Butler at No. 17 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.: I’m still trying to get a read on both of these teams, but I think both of them are legit. This sh
  2. Wisconsin at No. 14 Syracuse, 7:15 p.m.: Two programs heading in different directions.
  3. No. 13 Gonzaga at Washington State, 11:00 p.m.: The Zags always seem to have trouble when they play in Pullman.
  4. BYU at Utah, 10:00 p.m.: Rivalry game! Two of college basketball’s best players will be on the floor in Utah’s Jakob Poeltl and BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth.
  5. Notre Dame at Illinois, 9:15 p.m.: Notre Dame desperately needs a bounce back win. The Illini? They need to hit the season’s restart button.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Detroit at No. 16 Vanderbilt, 8:00 p.m.
  • Florida-Gulf Coast at No. 18 Texas A&M, 8:00 p.m.
  • Hartford at No. 23 Providence, 7:00 p.m.
  • Prairie View A&M at No. 25 Baylor, 9:30 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • Seton Hall at George Washington, 7:00 p.m.
  • Tulsa at Oklahoma State, 8:00 p.m.
  • North Florida at LSU, 8:00 p.m.
  • Arizona State at Creighton, 9:00 p.m.
  • Florida State at Iowa, 9:15 p.m.