PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: It should be a thrilling night of hoops

(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 11 Iowa State at No. 22 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.

We’re going to learn a lot about the Cyclones tonight. We saw on Saturday another example of the issues that Iowa State has when it comes to defending penetration, and tonight, we’ll see them try to deal with Cincinnati’s big, athletic and aggressive front line. Jameel McKay, who is the only non-Georges Niang big man in Iowa State’s front court rotation, is going to have his work cut out for him in Fifth Third Arena.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 6 Xavier at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m.

The on-the-court stuff is plenty intriguing here. The Musketeers are the best team in the Big East and a legitimate national title contender, but Wake Forest not only has wins over UCLA and Indiana this season, but they’ve had a knack for beating top ten teams in Winston-Salem over the years. This is also the Skip Prosser Classic. Prosser was the head coach at Xavier before taking over at Wake Forest. Prosser passed away in the summer of 2007.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Cal at No. 5 Virginia, 9:00 p.m.: In October, this looked like one of the best games of non-conference play. But Cal has not looked like a team that can compete for a Pac-12 title. This will be a gauge game for them.
  2. No. 1 Michigan State at Oakland, 7:00 p.m.: This game got a whole lot more intriguing when Denzel Valentine injured his knee. Oakland has a kid named Kahlil Felder, who is one of the nation’s most dynamic players.
  3. Vanderbilt at No. 14 Purdue, 8:00 p.m.: Purdue is coming off of a loss to Butler, which means it may not be the best time for a visit from Vanderbilt.
  4. No. 2 Kansas at San Diego State, 11:00 p.m.: In the past, SDSU has given the Jayhawks trouble.
  5. UMKC at No. 19 Louisville, 9:00 p.m.: The Cardinals are once again playing a team that will be totally overmatched, but the interesting part here is that Andre McGee, the former Louisville staffer that set up the hookers for recruits in the past, was at UMKC before he resigned.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 3 Oklahoma vs. Washington State, 11:00 p.m.
  • Long Beach State at No. 8 Arizona, 9:00 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at No. 9 Butler, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 13 Miami at La Salle, 5:00 p.m.
  • Delaware at No. 17 Villanova, 7:00 p.m.
  • Kent State at No. 18 SMU, 8:00 p.m.
  • No. 20 George Washington at DePaul, 9:00 p.m.
  • Delaware State at No. 24 Utah, 9:00 p.m.
  • St. John’s at No. 25 South Carolina, 9:00 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • Arkansas-Little Rock at Texas Tech, 3:00 p.m.
  • Stephen F. Austin at Arizona State, 3:00 p.m.
  • Kennesaw State at Indiana, 6:00 p.m.
  • Nevada at Wichita State, 8:00 p.m.
  • American at LSU, 8:00 p.m.
  • Colorado vs. Penn State, 10:00 p.m.