College Hoops Viewing Guide: January 15, 2014

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

It's a typically busy Wednesday night in the world of college basketball, but it's also an evening that's devoid of marquee, must-see matchups. In my experience, these are the nights that provide the most unexpected drama.

All TV info is courtesy Matt's College Sports on TV site. He has many more games listed, particularly ones broadcast only on local channels and in-house cable sports/local interest channels that are not widely available nationwide. You'll also want to check out his listings for information on which conference 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.

American

UCF Knights (9-5, 1-2) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-9, 1-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
USF Bulls (10-6, 1-2) at SMU Mustangs (11-4, 1-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

Not a terribly exciting night in the AAC where the major attraction will be the Mustangs' home game with the Bulls. SMU is the final at-large in this week's bracket projection. It's safe to say they won't be around next Tuesday if they fall to USF.

Last night: Cincinnati (5-0) struggled with Temple (0-5) for the first 32 minutes or so before coming on strong late to defeat the Owls by 11.

A10

UMass Minutemen (14-1, 2-0) at George Mason Patriots (7-9, 0-2), 7 p.m. (MASN/SNY/NESNPlus/A10 Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
St. Bonaventure Bonnies (11-5, 1-1) at Saint Louis Billikens (15-2, 2-0), 8 p.m. (FS Midwest/FCS Central)
Dayton Flyers (12-4, 0-1) at Fordham Rams (7-8, 0-2), 9 p.m. (SNY/WHIO/A10 Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)

UMass -- looking to stay perfect in the conference -- and Dayton -- searching for its first win -- face tricky road trips, while Saint Louis will have to deal with St. Bonaventure's considerable size at Chaifetz Arena.

Last night: George Washington (2-1) got 25 points from Patricio Garino, excellent shooting, and solid post play to defeat VCU (1-1), leapfrogging the Rams in the conference standings.

ACC

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-6, 1-2) at Maryland Terrapins (10-7, 2-2), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Clemson Tigers (11-4, 2-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (8-7, 1-2), 7 p.m. (ACC RSNs*/ESPN3)
Florida State Seminoles (11-4, 2-1) at Miami Hurricanes (9-6, 1-2), 9 p.m. (ACC Network Regional*/ESPN3)
N.C. State Wolfpack (11-5, 1-2) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-5, 1-2), 9 p.m. (ACC Network Regional*/ESPN3)

Clemson and N.C. State hit the road to take on opposition they should handle if they want to be taken seriously for a bid, while Maryland and Notre Dame face off in an early bubble showdown in College Park. Florida State, meanwhile, needs to be wary of its trip to improving Miami.

Last night: Pittsburgh (4-0) took charge early in the second half, but had to hold on to defeat Georgia Tech (1-3) in Atlanta. The Panthers are tied at the top of the ACC with fellow newcomer Syracuse. The two meet on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

Big 12

TCU Horned Frogs (9-6, 0-3) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (14-2, 2-1), 8 p.m. (Big 12 Network*/ESPN3)
Baylor Bears (13-2, 1-1) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-8, 0-3), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

Two teams that are looking to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 crown face beatable opposition tonight. Not the most tantalizing slate out there.

Last night: Kansas State (3-1) picked up a necessary win over Oklahoma (2-2), putting the Sooners away late in a game that looked like it was going to be great from the start. The Wildcats were impressive on offense, a necessity for keeping up with Oklahoma's firepower.

Big East

Georgetown Hoyas (11-4, 3-1) at Xavier Musketeers (13-4, 3-1), 7 p.m. (CBS SN)

The Hoyas will have a better chance to defeat the Musketeers in Cincinnati with Josh Smith in the lineup, but it's not looking like his academic issues have been resolved at this point.

Last night: St. John's (0-4) fell at DePaul (2-3) to start the night, meaning the Blue Demons have already matched their 2012-13 conference win total. In the nightcap, Creighton (5-0) demolished Butler (0-5) to stay unbeaten in the league, while the Bulldogs are still looking for Big East win number one.

Big Ten

Michigan State Spartans (15-1, 4-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (8-9, 1-3), 7 p.m. (BTN)
Purdue Boilermakers (11-5, 1-2) at Illinois Fighting Illini (13-4, 2-2), 9 p.m. (BTN)

On Sunday, the Wildcats suffocated Illinois en route to a 49-43 win. Northwestern probably won't be able to earn a similar result tonight against the Spartans. The Illini, however, will look to improve their offensive output when the Boilermakers visit. Purdue won its first Big Ten game of the season against Nebraska on Sunday.

Last night: Michigan (4-0) handled Penn State (0-5), but the game of the night was in Bloomington, where Wisconsin's (3-1) unbeaten run ended at the hands of Yogi Ferrell (25 points) and Indiana (2-2).

Mountain West

UNLV Runnin' Rebels (10-6, 1-2) at New Mexico Lobos (12-3, 3-0), 9 p.m. (CBS SN)
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-9, 1-3) at San Diego State Aztecs (14-1, 3-0), 10 p.m. (ESPN3)

While the Aztecs should have little trouble with the struggling Bulldogs at Viejas, the Lobos will be within the sights of a Runnin' Rebel team that is absolutely desperate for a win. Adding the modifiers "quality" and "road" to that victory would boost UNLV's weak, basically nonexistent NCAA case.

Last night: Nevada, who was the Mountain West's auto bid holder in this week's bracket, probably won't be around next Tuesday. That's because the Wolf Pack (4-1) fell to Boise State (2-2) in Reno -- a game the Broncos desperately needed.

Pac-12

Washington State Cougars (8-8, 1-3) at Stanford Cardinal (10-5, 1-2), 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Washington Huskies (11-6, 3-1) at California Golden Bears (12-4, 3-0), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

Fresh off a sweep of the Mountain schools, the Huskies travel to Berkeley with the chance to knock Cal from its lofty perch in second, a half-game behind Arizona. Thanks to its weak non-conference performance, Washington needs to make a run through the Pac-12 to have a shot at a bid. So far, so good. As for the Cougars, they'll look to build on Sunday's win over Utah at Maples Pavilion, where they'll meet a Cardinal team that only managed to split its trip to Oregon.

SEC

Auburn Tigers (8-5, 0-2) at Tennessee Volunteers (10-5, 1-1), 7 p.m. (SEC on CSS*/ESPN3)
Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-4, 1-1) at Alabama Crimson Tide (7-8, 1-1), 8 p.m. (SEC TV Regional*/ESPN3)
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-8, 0-2) at Texas A&M Aggies (11-4, 2-0), 8 p.m. (SEC TV Regional*/ESPN3)
LSU Tigers (10-4, 1-1) at Mississippi Rebels (10-5, 1-1), 9 p.m. (SEC on CSS/CST*/ESPN3)

The headliner of the night is Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson, who will return from a two-game suspension just in time to welcome LSU to the Thad Pad with his own unique spin on Southern hospitality. That contest has significant bubble implication. So does Tennessee's home game with Auburn, a "cannot lose" contest for the Vols. Meanwhile, A&M looks to stay unbeaten in the league with a win over South Carolina. Alabama, on the other hand, will look to improve its NIT hopes with a home win over Mississippi State.

Last night: Florida (3-0) extended its home win streak to a school record 25 games by demolishing Georgia (2-1) by 22. Afterward, Arkansas (1-2) defeated Kentucky (2-1) on a Michael Qualls dunk with 0.2 left, mercifully ending an overtime game that lasted nearly three hours and saw 60 fouls called.

Elsewhere

MVC: Missouri State Bears (12-4, 2-2) at Indiana State Sycamores (13-3, 4-0), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Patriot: Holy Cross Crusaders (7-9, 1-3) at Army Black Knights (8-7, 4-0), 7 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Patriot: Bucknell Bison (8-7, 3-1) at Navy Midshipmen (6-9, 1-3), 7 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Patriot: Colgate Raiders (6-9, 0-4) at Boston U. Terriers (11-6, 4-0), 7 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Patriot: American U. Eagles (8-7, 4-0) at Lehigh Mountain Hawks (8-9, 1-3), 7 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
MAC: Ball State Cardinals (3-10, 0-2) at Ohio Bobcats (11-4, 1-1), 8 p.m. (TWCS/ESPN3)

In the Missouri Valley, Indiana State cannot get caught looking ahead to its trip Saturday to still perfect Wichita State, especially since tonight's opposition, Missouri State, nearly knocked off the Shockers on Saturday. Elsewhere, the Patriot League's three remaining unbeatens will look to stay that way, while in the MAC, Ohio should easily bounce back from Sunday's draining loss to archrival Akron in what was an absolute thriller.

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