January is wrapping up, which means things are about to get really serious in the race to Selection Sunday. The matchups I've called out for tonight feature three conference leaders, two of whom face stern tests in rivalry games. The third cannot afford a stumble before a huge matchup to close the week.
Marquette @ Notre Dame (ESPN, 7 EST) - The Golden Eagles are off to a flying start in the Big East, fueled by the hot shooting of Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, and Dominic James. However, they've yet to be really tested in the conference, with wins over some decent teams (Cincinnati, Providence, Villanova, and West Virginia) and a couple of really lousy ones (DePaul and Rutgers). The Irish should be fighting mad after their 45-game home winning streak came to an end at the hands of UConn on Saturday night. One thing in Notre Dame's favor is that Marquette really doesn't have an answer to Luke Harangody inside.
South Carolina-Upstate @ East Tennessee State (CSS/Full Court, 7 EST) - The Spartans (4-14, 3-6 ASun) shouldn't be much of a test for the Bucs, but ETSU can't look ahead to their first place battle at Jacksonville Friday night.
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (ESPN, 9 EST) -It's Ibrahima Thomas' turn to try to stop Blake Griffin. The Cowboys have the outside shooters (Obi Muonelo, James Anderson, Keiton Page, and Terrell Harris are all shooting over 40 percent from outside the arc.) and point guard play (Does the name Byron Eaton sound familiar?) to cause OU trouble, particularly at Gallagher-Iba. A Bedlam win would help OSU's profile immensely.
Have I mentioned that I miss the post-SportsCenter "Big Monday" game yet?
On Saturday, I got to see games in two fantastic facilities. First up, Georgia State and Delaware at the Acierno Arena in Newark. Like many schools, the University of Delaware has grouped most of their athletic facilities so they're removed from the majority of campus. While this can help alleviate parking and transportation issues, it does take a bit away from the college athletics experience.