It's hard to believe that three weeks from tonight, the First Four will be tipping off in Dayton and the march to Houston will be underway. However, with the way this season has played out, there are sure to be many surprises in store over the next 20 nights, perhaps even on this Tuesday, which is highlighted by a crucial SEC East matchup and two significant Big Ten games, one of which features two teams who are surprisingly camped out on the bubble.
My six viewing picks for the evening follow after the jump.
Early Evening (ET)
Illinois Fighting Illini at Ohio St. Buckeyes, ESPN/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)
The Illini played the Buckeyes close in Champaign, falling by just five, but will find the going much more difficult in Columbus, particularly with the Buckeyes coming off a loss at Purdue on Sunday afternoon.
KenPom.com projection: Buckeyes 73-61, 66 poss.
Virginia Tech Hokies at Wake Forest Demon Deacons, ESPN2/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)
The Hokies simply cannot be caught looking ahead to Saturday's huge game with Duke. Considering they're fresh off a loss in a game they should have won in Charlottesville, Virginia Tech fans should be very worried about their team's hopes, even if they are playing a team that's won once in their last 12 outings. However, the Deacons own something the Hokies don't: a win over Virginia.
KenPom.com projection: Hokies 79-64, 69 poss.
Iowa St. Cyclones at Texas Longhorns, Big 12 Network/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET)
This is the second game of four straight against Big 12 North opponents for the Longhorns. They'll hope it goes better than their first, Saturday's loss at Nebraska. Expect the Cyclones to have a rough time against a fired up Texas team in Austin.
KenPom.com projection: Longhorns 78-60, 71 poss.
Late Evening (ET)
Tennessee Volunteers at Vanderbilt Commodores, ESPN (9 p.m. ET)
The Volunteers won an exciting, but sloppy game over the Commodores in Knoxville on January 15, their first SEC win of the season. However, they'll need to win in Memorial Gym to avoid dropping below .500 in the conference.
KenPom.com projection: Commodores 76-67, 67 poss.
Louisville Cardinals at Rutgers Scarlet Knights, ESPNU (9 p.m. ET)
While it's true the Scarlet Knights have won just once in their last seven, all of those games except for a loss at Cincinnati have been close. In that span, Rutgers has beaten Villanova, taken Syracuse to overtime, and lost to Pitt and St. John's by a single possession. In other words, Rick Pitino's team has its work cut out for it at the RAC tonight.
KenPom.com projection: Cardinals 69-66, 66 poss.
Michigan St. Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers, Big Ten Network (9 p.m. ET)
Few bubble games are much bigger than this one, as the Gophers look to grab a crucial home win to boost their fading hopes, while simultaneously knocking the resurgent Spartans down a peg. However, the Gophers lost to the Spartans in East Lansing on New Year's Eve by 12, and that was with Al Nolen in the lineup (though he was rather ineffective that afternoon).
KenPom.com projection: Spartans 70-66, 65 poss.
Please share your thoughts about today's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.