College Basketball Viewer's Guide For (Official) Opening Night

After a trickle of games to start the week, the schedule is fairly heavy tonight (especially when compared a typical Friday in the regular season), since it's college basketball's mandated opening night.

While there are A LOT of guarantee games on tonight's slate, a few contests are worth a look. I'll go through the schedule after the jump.

Georgetown at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. ET (CSN Washington+/WSKY): Both of tonight's biggest games receive limited distribution, with this one airing regionally. However, this matchup may be worth a trip to your local watering hole. The Monarchs look to defeat the Hoyas for the second consecutive season (and last year's win can't be written off as a season-opening fluke, as the game was on December 19). Both squads return a lot of talent, but will be playing without their star big man from a year ago. Finn Gerald Lee graduated from ODU and Greg Monroe left Georgetown for the NBA.

Northern Iowa at Syracuse, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3): The other marquee contest of the evening is only available online. The defending Missouri Valley champions will look to stun the homestanding Orange in a battle of two teams that lost several key players after last season. The Panthers should still contend in the Valley, despite losing Ali Farokhmanesh, Adam Koch, and Jordan Eglseder, while the 'Cuse is still receiving a lot of national respect thanks to the arrival of a highly-ranked recruiting class to supplement a talented core anchored by Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, and Kris Joseph.

Stony Brook at Connecticut, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network/ESPN3): The Huskies, whose 2009-10 campaign was a book waiting to be written, open their home slate against a Seawolf team that's my pick in the America East.

East Tennessee State at Kentucky, 7 p.m. ET (Big Blue Sports Network/FS South or SportSouth/ESPN3): The Wildcats blew the Bucs out of the NCAAs last season, but most of that team has moved on. Not that it should matter. Still, it's not like Kentucky has been known as a strong starter of late. Plus, the Wildcats will be dealing with the news that Enes Kanter is ineligible to play for them (pending the inevitable UK appeal).

James Madison at Kansas State (CBE Classic), 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Frank Martin's team begins its quest to dethrone Kansas in the Big 12 against a Dukes team who finished 11th in the CAA last season. Denzell Bowles, JMU's 6-10 center, should be a significant test for Curtis Kelly and Wally Judge inside though.

Other nationally televised/streaming games of note:

Florida Gulf Coast at Indiana, 6:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The Hoosiers needed OT to dispatch D-II Ferris State in an exhibition Monday night.

North Carolina A&T at Ohio State, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3): The Buckeyes begin the post-Evan Turner era, and introduce a touted recruiting class to the rest of the country, by facing the Aggies.

South Dakota at Nebraska, 8 p.m. ET (FS Midwest/ESPN3): The heat is on Doc Sadler in Lincoln. An early loss to the Coyotes wouldn't help matters.

Bucknell at Villanova, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN3): Jay Wright's Wildcats open the season against his alma mater.

Longwood at Kansas, 8 p.m. ET (Jayhawk Sports/ESPN3): We know that UK's Kanter is out for the season, but still don't know if the other big eligibility question mark of 2010, KU point guard Josh Selby will join the Jayhawks anytime soon. It probably won't matter against the Lancers.

Wofford at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network Streaming): The Terriers nearly knocked off the Gophers rivals, Wisconsin, in the First Round of the NCAAs last year. Minnesota will be without guard Devoe Joseph, who coach Tubby Smith suspended indefinitely Thursday.

Eastern Michigan at Michigan State, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The Spartans open their quest for a third straight Final Four with a visit from the Eagles.

Prairie View at Marquette, 9 p.m. ET (Big East Network/ESPN3): The Golden Eagles begin life without Lazar Hayward.

Oakland at West Virginia, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN3): Keith Benson and the defending Summit League champion Golden Grizzlies will provide a stern test to a Mountaineer team that lost a lot of talent after a Final Four appearance.

The following games will only air regionally.

UNC Wilmington at Florida, 7 p.m. ET (Sun Sports): The Gators get only one test, a visit from Buzz Peterson's Seahawks, before Ohio State comes calling Tuesday night.

Lipscomb at North Carolina, 7 p.m. ET (FS South): The Tar Heels look to prove that last season was a fluke, but Adnan Hodzic and the Bisons will look to stun the world.

Western Michigan at Xavier, 7 p.m. ET (FS Ohio): The Musketeers were already going into this season without Brad Redford, their top 3-point shooter, because of a torn ACL. Now, top scorer Jamel McLean is out with a broken bone near an eye.

Mississippi Valley State at Georgia, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSS): Speaking of injury issues, the Bulldogs' Trey Thompkins, an SEC Player of the Year candidate, could miss this game (and more) with a bum ankle.

Chattanooga at Tennessee, 9 p.m. ET (SportSouth): The Vols look to rebound from their stunning loss at the hands of D-II Indianapolis Monday night.

Southern at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. ET (NBC 6 Spokane/FSN Northwest): The Bulldogs get one warmup game before starting the CBE Classic Sunday.

For info on other nationally televised/streaming games (like South Dakota State at Eastern Illinois) and regional telecasts (Rider at Massachusetts, Eastern Kentucky at Loyola (IL), Elon at South Carolina, Idaho State at Colorado, Montana State at Hawai'i), visit Matt Sarz' College Sports on TV site.

As for games that will not be televised/streamed (that I know of), you'll want to keep an eye on these via radio, the Web, or Twitter.

  • Kent State vs. Iona (in Cleveland), 5 p.m. ET
  • William & Mary at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
  • Seton Hall at Temple, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Western Kentucky at St. Joseph's, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Western Carolina at Clemson, 8 p.m. ET
  • Northwestern at Northern Illinois, 9 p.m. ET
  • Fresno State at BYU, 9 p.m. ET
  • Pacific at UTEP, 9 p.m. ET
  • Oral Roberts at Missouri State, 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Morgan State at Loyola Marymount, 10 p.m. ET

Feel free to use the Comments to discuss your expectations for tonight's action and the games themselves as they're going on.

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