College Hoops Viewing Guide: December 14, 2013

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Exam week is over for most schools and the football schedule is rather light. That combination means it's basketball's time to shine. On this Saturday, there are two titanic matchups on the slate, along with many other intriguing ones.

All TV info is courtesy Matt's College Sports on TV site. He has many more games listed, and you'll also want to check out his listings for information on which ACC and SEC regional contests and CSN, FSN, and Root Sports games (all games listed in these posts marked with an *) are available on which affiliates.

All times are Eastern.

Arizona Wildcats (10-0) at Michigan Wolverines (6-3), 12 p.m. (CBS)
The top-ranked Wildcats head to Big Ten country to take on a Wolverine team that could really use a quality non-conference win in its last real opportunity to grab one (sorry, Stanford).

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (5-3) at Louisville Cardinals (8-1), 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
WKU's offense is not exactly what you'd call efficient. That's not a recipe for victory when heading to Louisville to take on the defending National Champs, who are still quite stout on the defensive end.

VCU Rams (8-2) at Northern Iowa Panthers (4-5), 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Panthers are 1-1 against A-10 opponents this season, defeating La Salle in the Paradise Jam nine days after they lost at George Mason. Even with the home advantage, a pretty average UNI team looks to have trouble dealing with HAVOC.

Youngstown State Penguins (7-4) at Pittsburgh Panthers (9-0), 12 p.m. (ACC RSNs*/ESPN3)
Despite their record (which is inflated by three non-D1 wins), the Penguins have been playing with fire on the defensive end all season long. That's going to be a problem against a Panther team that has crushed inferior opposition consistently in the first five weeks of the season.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels (7-3) at Wisconsin Badgers (11-0), 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
The preseason OVC favorites wrap up a run of four in a row on the road in Madison. While the Colonels won't be intimidated (consider that they took VCU to overtime on December 5th), the Badgers should simply have too much defense for the visitors.

Tennessee Volunteers (6-2) at Wichita State Shockers (9-0) at INTRUST Bank Arena, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Considering neutral-site wins over Xavier and Wake Forest Demon Deacons may not mean much in March, it would be a big deal for the Vols' at-large hopes if they could hand the Shockers their first loss of the season. Tennessee's ball security, a big reason for its success so far in 2013, will be severely tested by Wichita State's defense.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-2) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1) (All-College Classic), 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
Given the reconfiguration of Conference USA into a league that's not exactly full of basketball powers, the Bulldogs could really help their at-large case significantly by defeating the Cowboys in a virtual home environment.

Princeton Tigers (7-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (8-3), 2 p.m. (BTN)
Wednesday night's win at Rutgers Scarlet Knights was the Tigers' sixth in a row. That streak might come to an end in State College, where a very competitive Nittany Lion team awaits.

Crossroads Classic

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (8-2), 3:15 p.m. (ESPN)
So far this season, the Irish have struggled on defense but been great on offense, while the reverse has been the case for the Hoosiers (except against Syracuse, where no phase of the game seemed to work for IU). Both teams could use this victory before league play starts; however, given the depth of their respective conferences, a loss won't condemn either to the NIT.

Butler Bulldogs (7-2) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (8-2), 6 p.m. (BTN)
These two teams were in the same half of the bracket for the Old Spice Classic, but did not meet. That Orlando trip saw each team go 1-2, but the Bulldogs' three-game mark was much more inspiring, since they were competitive in each contest. The Boilers, on the other hand, didn't impress in Florida but have rebounded nicely by blowing out a bad Boston College team and squeaking a win out against an improved Eastern Michigan squad.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (7-2) at Mississippi Rebels (6-2), 5 p.m. (SEC on CSS*/ESPN3)
Note that the Blue Raiders have defeated the Rebels in each of the last two seasons. Last year's win was a big reason why Middle Tennessee got into the First Four. This season, they'll have to beat Ole Miss at the Thad Pad which is a different proposition entirely.

Kentucky Wildcats (8-2) at North Carolina Tar Heels (6-2), 5 p.m. (ESPN)
While the Wildcats have played three neutral-site games so far, the trip to Chapel Hill is the first two road game for this group of youngsters. Of course, it's not guaranteed that the UNC that defeated Louisville and Michigan State will be the team that shows up at the Dean Dome tonight.

St. Mary's Gaels (7-0) at Boise State Broncos (8-1), 6 p.m. (ROOT Sports*)
These two could meet again on day two of the Diamond Head Classic in a week and a half. The Broncos' unbeaten run came to a screeching halt at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night, as Boise State was completely outclassed by the hosts. Conversely, St. Mary's has quietly dominated its early opposition in a season where the Gaels were expected to struggle, relatively speaking.

New Mexico Lobos (7-1) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (6-3) at Kansas City, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
It's hard to believe that the Jayhawks could pick up their fourth loss of the season tonight. I doubt that will happen though, as KU won't likely have 12 minutes in this game that were as bad as the 12 first half minutes in Gainesville that gave Florida a nice cushion it desperately needed late. Note to the Lobos: You might just want to guard Andrew Wiggins. He's the guy wearing no. 22.

Cincinnati Bearcats (7-1) vs. Xavier Musketeers (7-3) at US Bank Arena, 8 p.m. (FS1)
After falling in Albuquerque a week ago, the Bearcats resume their season with their crosstown rivalry game against a Musketeer team that's been struggling since its trip to the Bahamas. I'm curious to see if this matchup breaks Xavier out of its funk. Chris Mack's team needed overtime to beat Bowling Green and barely held off Evansville in its two games back in Cincy after an 0-3 Battle 4 Atlantis experience.

North Dakota State Bison (7-3) at Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) (Gotham Classic), 8:15 p.m. (BTN)
The Bison can't possibly grab a second stunning win in a row, can they? Given that the Buckeyes top KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings and Notre Dame is not anywhere in OSU's neighborhood in that measure, don't look for another upset tonight.

Illinois Fighting Illini (9-1) vs. Oregon Ducks (8-0) at Portland, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Illini had better hope that this one turns into a shootout like the Ducks' overtime win at Ole Miss on Sunday. That may be their only chance to grab a win at the Rose Garden.

BYU Cougars (8-3) at Utah Utes (8-1), 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Might this be the last time these two meet at the Huntsman Center for the foreseeable future? Both squads need this one for their resumes. The Utes have nothing that stands out despite a shiny 8-1 record, while the Cougars haven't been able to grab a quality win despite several opportunities.

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