PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Duke on upset alert, and a SoCal showdown

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: UCLA at USC, 11:00 p.m.

I’m unnecessarily excited about a game tonight between two unranked teams that have yet to prove themselves to be anything more than inconsistent semi-contenders in a conference that may not actually have a true Final Four contender. UCLA is coming off of an impressive 2-0 week against the Arizona schools where they made us forget their losses at the Washington schools and remember just how much raw talent is on the roster. But USC? They went 2-0 last week as well, and they also have a talented and balanced roster and if it weren’t for one of the most important pieces on that roster getting hurt at Washington, they might actually be 4-0 and leading the conference right now.

This should be a fast-paced, high-scoring, fun basketball game between two rivals that really haven’t been good at the same time all that much of late. Sign me up for that.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. No. 9 Duke will pay a visit to Clemson at 7:00 p.m. in a game that is going to be tough for the Blue Devils. The Tigers are 3-1 in the ACC this year.
  2. No. 2 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State at 9:00 p.m. would be a lot more interesting if the Pokes weren’t bad.
  3. Houston is a team that we think is pretty good this season, and they’ll have a chance to prove it at Cincinnati at 7:00 p.m.
  4. Marquette has won two games in a row and will now have a chance to beat No. 6 Villanova on the road at 8:30 p.m.
  5. No. 19 South Carolina puts their perfect record on the line tonight at Alabama at 9:00 p.m.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 10 SMU at East Carolina, 6:15 p.m.
  • TCU at No. 22 Baylor, 8:15 p.m.
  • Penn State at No. 24 Purdue, 8:30 p.m.

NOTABLES

  • Georgetown at St. John’s, 6:30 p.m.
  • Ole Miss at LSU, 9:00 p.m.
  • Wichita State at Missouri State, 9:00 p.m.
  • Oregon State at Colorado, 11:00 p.m.