There's a little bit for every fan on tonight's college basketball TV slate. You can watch teams try to snap losing streaks, grab their first decent road win, solidify or weaken their place on the bubble, attempt to stay unbeaten in conference, or beat up on an ancient crosstown rival. My picks tonight literally span from coast-to-coast, with a couple of surprises thrown in. More on these nine games after the jump.
Early Evening (ET)
HD TV: Syracuse Orange at Connecticut Huskies, ESPN/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)
The Huskies are knocking on the top line's door, while the Orange, who were once at those lofty heights, are just looking to win for the first time in five tries, and quiet all of the noise surrounding the program at the moment.
KenPom.com prediction: Huskies 71-67, 66 poss.
Alt. Ch.: Marquette Golden Eagles at Villanova Wildcats, ESPNU (7 p.m. ET)
The Golden Eagles' biggest wins (Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Syracuse) have all come at the Bradley Center. Tonight, they have a chance to grab a nice true road win, better solidify their shaky place in the field of 68, and hand the Wildcats a fourth loss in five games. With Syracuse's troubles, that Nova run is receiving little attention.
KenPom.com prediction: Wildcats 79-72, 70 poss.
Laptop: Virginia Tech Hokies at N.C. State Wolfpack, ESPN2/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)
This is the first of back-to-back road games for the Hokies, who struggled badly in their last game away from Blacksburg, a 15-point loss at Georgia Tech last Tuesday. While Saturday's game at Boston College may have more bubble impact, Virginia Tech's chances will take a severe hit if they don't win in Raleigh.
KenPom.com prediction: Hokies 69-65, 66 poss.
Late Evening (ET)
HD TV: San Diego St. Aztecs at Colorado St. Rams, CBS College Sports (9 p.m. ET)
The Rams are flying under the radar as a bubble team, but they can get themselves a lot more publicity if they upset the Aztecs at Moby Arena tonight. Colorado State features two solid senior forwards who are plying their trade in the relative anonymity of Fort Collins, 6-9 Andy Ogide and 6-7 Travis Franklin.
KenPom.com prediction: Aztecs 71-65, 64 poss.
SD TV: Duke Blue Devils at Maryland Terrapins, ESPN/ESPN3 (9 p.m. ET)
While this game doesn't have the hype surrounding it that last year's did, both teams need to make statements: the Blue Devils to show that Sunday's defeat at St. John's was an anomaly and the Terps to show they can beat a team that is actually off the bubble.
KenPom.com prediction: Blue Devils 75-74, 77 poss.
Alt. Ch.: Missouri Tigers at Oklahoma St. Cowboys, ESPN2/ESPN3 (9 p.m. ET)
Pace is going to be key for this contest, as Missouri tries to force nearly eight more possessions a game than the Cowboys are comfortable with. Mizzou could have trouble doing that in Stillwater, but should have a bit more offense and defense than struggling Oklahoma State, who's dropped three straight and five out of six.
KenPom.com prediction: Tigers 75-70, 71 poss.
Laptop: Nebraska Cornhuskers at Kansas St. Wildcats, Big 12 Network/Altitude 2/ESPN3/Full Court (9 p.m. ET)
Nebraska has quietly moved onto the bubble, thanks to two nice home wins over Colorado and Texas A&M. However, the Huskers have still only won one game away from Lincoln this year, a 62-47 victory over Hofstra in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off 7th place game back on November 21. Let that sink in for a moment. But a win in Manhattan isn't out of the question, especially with Wally Judge's departure from the K-State squad..
KenPom.com prediction: Wildcats 63-61, 66 poss.
Late Night DVR Specials (ET)
Since I need to get to work rather early in the morning, I plan on DVRing these two games and giving them a run through when I return from the office on Thursday.
Pick 1: USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins, FSN (11 p.m. ET)
It's a big week for the hopes of Ben Howland's team, thanks to tonight's contest, in which the Bruins will attempt to avenge an 11-point loss to the Trojans back on January 9th, and Saturday's visit by St. John's, coached by Howland's predecessor, Steve Lavin. Meanwhile, the Trojans would be a solid at-large candidate if they had more victories like the ones they picked up against Texas and Tennessee. However, some of USC's 10 losses are downright ugly looking on a profile (swept in Oregon, at home to Rider, neutral site to Bradley, at TCU).
KenPom.com prediction: Bruins 66-65, 65 poss.
Pick 2: Nevada Wolf Pack at Utah State Aggies, ESPN2/ESPN3 (11 p.m. ET)
Plan on checking in on this one to see if the Aggies can move to 21-2 overall and, more importantly, 10-0 in the WAC. A perfect 16-0 conference mark may be Utah State's best chance at an at-large if they don't win the conference tournament.
KenPom.com prediction: Aggies 75-59, 65 poss.
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