PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Iowa-Maryland, Arizona-Oregon headline a good night in hoops

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: N0. 3 Iowa at No. 8 Maryland, 7:00 p.m.

This is the last truly difficult test that the Hawkeyes are going to get in the Big Ten regular season, meaning that if there is any real chance of the Terps — or anyone else, for that matter — catching Fran McCaffery’s club for the conference title, Maryland needs to get this win. The Hawkeyes are the hottest team in college hoops, steam-rolling to a sweep of Michigan State and Purdue to climb to 7-0 in the conference while Maryland is sitting two games back, still trying to figure out how all of their pieces fit together. The key matchup here is going to be Jarrod Uthoff and whoever he ends up guarding. Robert Carter? Jake Layman? Will Maryland be forced to go small against the Hawkeyes?

In any case, it’s going to be a fun watch and the XFinity Center will undoubtedly be rocking.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. This game won’t get the pub as Iowa-Maryland, but it’s a critical Pac-12 battle between what may be the two best teams in the league. No. 23 Oregon at No. 18 Arizona, 9:00 p.m. Get to a TV.
  2. No. 25 Notre Dame will be without Demetrius Jackson as they visit Syracuse, who could really use the win. How will the Irish deal with the Orange zone without their playmaker? Tip is at 7:00 p.m.
  3. A battle between two of the ACC teams that are going to be scrapping it out for at-large bids come February. Cincinnati’s size visits UConn’s talented back court. Tip is at 7:00 p.m.
  4. No. 12 Michigan State snapped their three-game losing skid against Maryland on Saturday. Can they now take out Northwestern on the road?
  5. If you like high-scoring basketball games, give Washington at UCLA a watch. Both teams run and both teams hate playing defense. Tip is at 10:00 p.m.