College Hoops Viewing Guide: January 18, 2014

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With 151 games featuring Division I squads on the slate for Saturday, you have many viewing options. Here are my thoughts on the best for each window of the day.

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.

Late Morning/Early Afternoon Window

Marquee Games

Toledo Rockets (14-2, 2-1 MAC) at Akron Zips (11-5, 3-0), 11 a.m. (ESPNU)

The Rockets established themselves as MAC contenders thanks to a 12-game win streak that was stopped -- rather unsurprisingly -- at Kansas. Never mind that a super-soft schedule was the true reason for Toledo's early run, and the Rockets' defense was exposed in back-to-back losses in Lawrence and at Western Michigan in their league opener. Tod Kowalczyk's club has regrouped, winning two MAC games in a row, including against East contender Buffalo on Wednesday. This morning, Toledo travels to play an Akron squad that took its lumps early in the season, but appears to be ready to make a run at its fourth NCAA bid in six seasons. If you have a chance to watch the Zips' double OT win over Ohio from Sunday on ESPN3's archives -- and even the final five minutes of regulation and the extra sessions will suffice -- you will get a good look at the squad's grit and determination.

Tennessee Volunteers (11-5, 2-1 SEC) at Kentucky Wildcats (12-4, 2-1), 12 p.m. (CBS)

This is the first of three straight at home for the Wildcats, while the Volunteers hit the road for this one -- and for three of their next five. Given the lack of quality win opportunities in the SEC at the moment, both of these teams need a win on Saturday afternoon, especially since they won't meet again in the regular season. The last time Kentucky didn't travel to Knoxville for a conference game was in 1953.

With both squads sitting in the Top 25 of KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency rankings, expect to see some scoring. However, the Volunteers will attempt to slow things down a bit, which may not an easy goal to reach at Rupp Arena.

Florida State Seminoles (12-4, 3-1 ACC) at Virginia Cavaliers (12-5, 3-1), 12 p.m. (ACC Network*/ESPN3)

On January 4th, the Cavaliers opened their ACC season by grabbing a somewhat surprising 62-50 win in Tallahassee. This afternoon, the Seminoles, who have run off three straight wins since falling to UVa, look to return the favor in Charlottesville. Given that Virginia hadn't given up more than 51 points in a league game before allowing Duke to score 69 on Monday night and that FSU has only surrendered more than 53 only once, this one isn't for the faint of heart or fans of explosive offense.

Arkansas Razorbacks (12-4, 1-2 SEC) at Georgia Bulldogs (8-7, 2-1), 1:30 p.m. (SEC TV Regional*/ESPN3)

I list this game for only one reason: Arkansas simply must show it can win on the road in the SEC if it wants to earn an NCAA bid. Last season, the Hogs -- who happen to visit Tennessee next -- went 9-0 in league games played at Bud Walton Arena, but won just once in nine road games, at lowly Auburn.

Other Options

Temple Owls (5-10) at La Salle Explorers (10-6) at the Palestra, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
Boston College Eagles (5-12, 1-3 ACC) at North Carolina Tar Heels (10-6, 0-3), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-10, 2-1 C-USA) at Marshall Thundering Herd (6-12, 0-3), 12 p.m. (CBS SN)
Seton Hall Pirates (10-7, 1-3 BE) at Georgetown Hoyas (11-5, 3-2), 12 p.m. (FSN*)
SMU Mustangs (12-4, 2-2 AAC) at UCF Knights (9-6, 1-3), 12 p.m. (ESPNews)
Delaware Blue Hens (11-7, 3-0 CAA) at Northeastern Huskies (5-13, 2-2), 12 p.m. (CSN Mid-Atlantic/NE/Phila./CSS*)
George Mason Patriots (7-10, 0-3 A10) at Rhode Island Rams (9-9, 0-3), 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Missouri State Bears (12-5, 2-3 MVC) at Northern Iowa Panthers (9-8, 3-2), 1 p.m. (ESPNU)
Hartford Hawks (7-11, 1-2 AE) at New Hampshire Wildcats (3-13, 1-2), 1 p.m. (FCS Atlantic)
Manhattan Jaspers (13-3, 6-1 MAAC) at Fairfield Stags (3-14, 0-7), 1:30 p.m. (SNY)
West Virginia Mountaineers (10-7, 2-2 Big 12) at Kansas State Wildcats (13-4, 3-1), 1:30 p.m. (Big 12 Network*/ESPN3)
Texas A&M Aggies (12-4, 3-0 SEC) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-5, 1-2), 1:30 p.m. (SEC TV Regional*/ESPN3)

Otherwise, the early window features a Big Five game (half of a day/night doubleheader ... not a true Big Five doubleheader ... at the Palestra); Delaware looking to stay perfect in the CAA; Texas A&M looking to keep its surprising share of the SEC lead; Georgetown looking to rebound from Wednesday's collapse at Xavier; and Kansas State's home game against a West Virginia team that just dropped two in a row in Morgantown. There's also a BC-UNC game ESPN probably wishes it could have flexed out for FSU-Virginia.

Mid-Afternoon Window

Marquee Games

N.C. State Wolfpack (11-6, 1-3 ACC) at Duke Blue Devils (13-4, 2-2), 2 p.m. (CBS)

I can't think of a worse place to play three days after gifting a game to Wake Forest than Cameron Indoor Stadium. Yet, that's N.C. State's challenge today. This could very well be a competitive game, since the ACC is such a muddle right now outside of the top two teams. However, I don't see how Duke drops this one.

Oklahoma Sooners (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) at Baylor Bears (13-3, 1-2), 2 p.m. (ESPN)

Speaking of Wednesday night losers, Baylor was played off the court by Texas Tech in Lubbock, a completely unexpected result. Oklahoma's loss at Kansas State the night before wasn't as big of a shock, but it still had to be a bit of a disappointment to the Sooners, who handled the Octagon of Doom rather well for about 38 minutes. This afternoon, these two squads -- and their potent offenses meet up -- in Waco. However, much like in the Tennessee-Kentucky matchup, speed will be important. Oklahoma's average tempo is over nine possessions per game faster than Baylor's.

Alabama Crimson Tide (8-8, 2-1 SEC) at Missouri Tigers (13-3, 1-2), 2 p.m. (ESPN2)

This week, the Tigers drew the dreaded Thursday night-Saturday afternoon schedule pair in the SEC -- and started the swing with a loss at Vanderbilt.  Given that Mizzou's profile now includes a win over UCLA, no other real quality victories, and losses to Georgia and Vandy, Frank Haith's team can't afford a home loss to a mediocre Tide squad.

Dayton Flyers (13-4, 1-1 A10) at Richmond Spiders (11-6, 1-1), 3 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Flyers are very much on the bubble right now, and a contest at a tricky Spider squad might not be what Archie Miller's squad needs. This looks to be a close one, and Chris Mooney's version of the Princeton offense will definitely keep Dayton on its heels all afternoon.

Curiously, the Flyers travel to Richmond for the Spiders' home A10 opener before hosting the Spiders' crosstown rivals, VCU, on Wednesday.

Other Options

USC Trojans (9-8, 0-4 Pac-12) at Colorado Buffaloes (14-4, 3-2), 2 p.m. (FS1)
Marquette Golden Eagles (10-7, 2-2 Big East) at Butler Bulldogs (10-7, 0-5), 2 p.m. (CBS SN)
Miami Hurricanes (9-7, 1-3 ACC) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-7, 1-3), 2 p.m. (ACC RSNs*/ESPN3)
Milwaukee Panthers (13-6, 3-2 Horizon) at Valparaiso Crusaders (10-9, 2-2), 2 p.m. (Horizon League Network/TWCS Wisconsin/FS SportsTime Ohio/CSN Chicago/ESPN3)
LeMoyne-Owen Magicians (4-9) at Memphis Tigers (12-4), 2 p.m. (FS SportSouth/ESPN3)
Lafayette Leopards (4-12, 0-5 Patriot) at American U. Eagles (9-7, 5-0), 2 p.m. (CSN Mid-Atlantic Plus/streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Navy Midshipmen (7-9, 2-3 Patriot) at Colgate Raiders (6-10, 0-5), 2 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Murray State Racers (10-7, 5-0 OVC) at SIU Edwardsville Cougars (5-13, 2-3), 2 p.m. (FS Midwest/FCS Pacific/ESPN3)
Fordham Rams (7-9, 0-3 A10) at Saint Louis Billikens (16-2, 3-0), 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Northwestern Wildcats (8-10, 1-4 Big Ten) at Indiana Hoosiers, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

It's just a pity that it isn't the 2012-13 season, as Marquette and Butler renew acquaintances at Hinkle. They played two absolute classics last season. Out West, Colorado looks for its first win without Spencer Dinwiddie, as USC visits Boulder. Plus, American, Murray State, and Saint Louis all look to remain perfect in their respective leagues.

Late Afternoon Window

Marquee Games

Oklahoma State Cowboys (15-2, 3-1 Big 12) at Kansas Jayhawks (12-4, 3-0), 4 p.m. (CBS)

If you only have two and half hours when you can sit down and watch college basketball, you must pick the window that begins on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, as there are three potentially huge games (and another decent one) that tip off at or around that time, including this one at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. CBS's final offering of the day should have a little bit for everyone  -- offense, defense, NBA prospects, the drama of a conference championship chase. Remember, Kansas has earned at least a tie for the Big 12 regular season crown in every season since the 2003-04 campaign. The team that won that year (while KU joined Texas in a tie for second) happened to be Oklahoma State. Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, Le`Bryan Nash and company are talented enough to end the Jayhawks' run, but they may just need to win in Lawrence to claim the trophy. Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Perry Ellis, and their cohorts won't make that an easy task.

Pittsburgh Panthers (16-1, 4-0 ACC) at Syracuse Orange (17-0, 4-0), 4 p.m. (ESPN)

The remaining ACC unbeatens meet at the Carrier Dome, with the Orange bearing the double burden of a perfect overall record. While Syracuse's four conference performances have been a bit uneven on offense, the 2-3 zone has been very effective. While Pitt is used to the from all of those Big East meetings -- and the unique environment of the Carrier Dome, for that matter -- 'Cuse will be the most difficult opponent that Jamie Dixon's team has faced this season (or at least since that brutal Jimmy V Classic game against Cincinnati). The schedule may catch up with the Panthers this evening.

Indiana State Sycamores (14-3, 5-0 MVC) at Wichita State Shockers (18-0, 5-0), 4 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Shockers welcome their main Missouri Valley rivals, who just happen to be off to their best league start since 1978-79, to the Roundhouse. This one may very well come down to the wire, but I wouldn't expect Wichita State's streak to end at home -- not with a crowd that's well known for making even quality visitors wilt. Now, when the two meet in Terre Haute on February 5th...

Iowa State Cyclones (14-2, 2-2 Big 12) at Texas Longhorns (13-4, 2-2), 4 p.m. (Big 12 Network*/ESPN3)

Oklahoma State-Kansas isn't the only crucial Big 12 game that tips on late Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones travel to Austin with some of the luster from their 14-0 start gone, thanks to two straight losses. Both squads have been off since Monday, when Kansas handled ISU in Ames and Texas won at West Virginia fairly handily. The Longhorns have the look of a bubble team, especially since their December 18th win over UNC could end up at either end of the helpfulness scale. Sending Fred Hoiberg's team to a third straight loss would provide Texas' case with a nice boost.

Other Options

James Madison Dukes (6-12, 1-3 CAA) at William & Mary Tribe (9-6, 1-1), 4 p.m. (CSN Mid-Atlantic/NE/Phila./CSS*)
UCLA Bruins (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) at Utah Utes (13-4, 2-3), 4 p.m. (FS1)
DePaul Blue Demons (10-8, 2-3 BE) at Villanova Wildcats (15-1, 4-0), 4 p.m. (FSN*)
Duquesne Dukes (8-7, 1-2 A10) at VCU Rams (13-4, 1-1), 4 p.m. (CBS SN)
Longwood Lancers (5-13, Big South) at Radford Highlanders (12-6, 2-1), 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
Washington State Cougars (8-9, 1-4 Pac-12) at California Golden Bears (13-4, 4-0), 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (12-5, 2-2 ACC) at Clemson Tigers (12-4, 3-1), 4 p.m. (ACC Network*/ESPN3)
Florida Gators (14-2, 3-0 SEC) at Auburn Tigers (8-6, 0-3), 4 p.m. (SEC TV*/ESPN3)
Gonzaga Bulldogs (15-3, 5-1 WCC) at Loyola Marymount Lions (10-9, 2-5), 4 p.m. (TheW.tv/CSN Bay Area/TWCS/ROOT Sports*/streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks (8-10, 1-4 Patriot) at Holy Cross Crusaders (8-9, 2-3), 4 p.m. (Patriot League Network, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Houston Baptist Huskies (4-13, 1-4 Southland) at McNeese State Cowboys (5-12, 3-2), 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
San Jose State Spartans (6-11, 0-5 MW) at Wyoming Cowboys (10-6, 1-2), 4 p.m. (MWN, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mountain West Connection)
Mississippi Rebels (11-5, 2-1 SEC) at South Carolina Gamecocks (7-9, 0-3), 4:30 p.m. (SEC on FSN*/ESPN3)
Cincinnati Bearcats (16-2. 5-0 AAC) at USF Bulls (10-7, 1-3), 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
Mercer Bears (14-5, 5-1 A-Sun) at Lipscomb Bisons (7-11, 2-5), 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
Portland State Vikings (7-7, 2-3 Big Sky) at Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (7-9, 4-1), 5 p.m. (NAU TV/FS Arizona/FCS Pacific)

If those four big games aren't enough, there are plenty of other late afternoon options for you. DePaul will attempt to move to an unthinkable .500 in the Big East at Villanova; UCLA can complete a Mountain sweep at Utah; and Cal, Cincy, and Florida (and 'Nova for that matter) will all look to keep their spotless league records.

Early Evening Window

Marquee Games

Michigan Wolverines (12-4, 4-0 Big Ten) at Wisconsin Badgers (16-1, 3-1), 6 p.m. (ESPN)

The Wolverines open a three-game gauntlet --  when they'll attempt to show that they can truly contend without Mitch McGary -- in Madison. That's because three of Michigan's quartet of Big Ten wins so far -- at Nebraska and against Northwestern and Penn State in Ann Arbor -- have come against teams likely to be the 10-12 seeds in Indianapolis in mid-March. You can expect Wisconsin's defensive intensity to be turned up to a higher level than usual. However, given how the Wolverines have executed on offense lately, that may not affect them all that much. The question is whether John Beilein's team can get enough stops to win ... or at least recreate last season's OT classic at Kohl Center.

UNLV Runnin' Rebels (11-6, 2-2 MW) at San Diego State Aztecs (15-1, 4-0), 6 p.m. (CBS SN)

On Wednesday, the Runnin' Rebels picked up a huge win at New Mexico. Unfortunately, they now have to travel to Viejas Arena to complete one of the most difficult four-day road swings any team can be asked to play. Note that UNLV did win in San Diego last season, but this season's edition of the Rebels doesn't have as much talent as that squad did, while the Aztecs seem to be on a mission, particularly on the defensive end.

Other Options

Dartmouth Big Green (7-7) at St. John's Red Storm (9-8), 6 p.m. (FS1)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (9-8, 1-3 Big 12) at TCU Horned Frogs (9-7, 0-4), 6 p.m. (FSN*)
Air Force Falcons (9-7, 3-2 MW) at Colorado State Rams (11-7, 2-3), 6 p.m. (ROOT Sports*, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mountain West Connection)
Kent State Golden Flashes (11-5, 2-1 MAC) at Buffalo Bulls (8-5, 2-1), 6 p.m. (TWCS*/ESPN3)
New Mexico Lobos (12-4, 3-1 MW) at Fresno State Bulldogs (8-10, 1-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Penn State Nittany Lions (9-9, 0-5 Big Ten) at Purdue Boilermakers (12-5, 2-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
High Point Panthers (5-11, 1-2 Big South) at Liberty Flames (8-10, 2-1), 7 p.m. (Flames Sports Network/MASN/ESPN3)
ETSU Buccaneers (9-9, 2-3 A-Sun) at Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (11-8, 5-1), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

The most noteworthy game out of this list is the MAC showdown, featuring Kent State and Buffalo teams that are trying to keep pace in the competitive East Division. In the Big Ten, Purdue can get its league mark over .500 with a win over hapless Penn State.

Mid- And Late Evening Windows

Marquee Games

Michigan State Spartans (16-1, 5-0 Big Ten) at Illinois Fighting Illini (13-5, 2-3), 8 p.m. (BTN)

The Fighting Illini have dropped three straight and are likely to drop out of my bracket on Tuesday. Of course, that will change if they can knock off a Spartan team that may be without forward Adreian Payne (foot) on Saturday night. Illinois has defeated Michigan State in each of their last three meetings at Assembly Hall; however, the two did not meet in Champaign in 2013.

Creighton Bluejays (15-2, 5-0 BE) at Providence Friars (12-5, 2-2), 8 p.m. (FS1)

A little more than 48 hours after defeating St. John's in a double OT thriller in Queens, the Friars welcome Creighton to the Dunk. The Bluejays cannot get caught looking ahead to a potential meeting of Big East unbeatens in Philadelphia on Monday, as the Friars would love to grab a surprise victory for their unremarkable NCAA profile.

New Mexico State Aggies (14-6, 3-1 WAC) at Kansas City Kangaroos (5-11, 2-2), 8 p.m. (KSMO/Comcast-NM/ESPN3)

Thanks to a loss at Chicago State on Thursday night, the Aggies at-large hopes have become rather faint. They'll disappear completely if they lose against the team more commonly known as UMKC. Note that if you aren't a fan of Comic Sans, you may want to avoid tuning into this one.

Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 4-1 AAC) at Connecticut Huskies (14-3, 2-2), 9 p.m. (ESPN)

On Thursday night, the Huskies got to .500 in the American with a huge road win over Memphis, while the Cardinals obliterated the same Houston team that knocked UConn off on New Year's Eve. Two nights later, the two meet at raucous Gampel Pavilion, where Kevin Ollie's team will look to wrap up a huge week and establish themselves as contenders in the "new" league in the process. Given the presence of both Russ Smith and Shabazz Napier on the court, expect fun and interesting things to happen, maybe even late.

Washington Huskies (11-7, 3-2 Pac-12) at Stanford Cardinal (11-5, 2-2), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

A pair of Pac-12 bubble teams meet on The Farm, where the Huskies will look to shoot better than they did across the Bay at Cal (30.2%/14.3% from beyond the arc), while the Cardinal will aim to keep up the hot shooting they displayed against Wazzu (57,7%/40% from three).

Other Options

Illinois State Redbirds (10-7, 3-2 MVC) at Drake Bulldogs (10-7, 1-4), 8 p.m. (CSN Chicago/MC-22/ESPN3)
Arkansas State Red Wolves (10-6, 3-2 Sun Belt) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-7, 2-2), 8 p.m. (HSSN/WKYU/ESPN3)
ULM Warhawks (5-7, 2-2 Sun Belt) at South Alabama Jaguars (7-11, 1-4), 8 p.m. (CSS/CST/ESPN3)
Pacific Tigers (10-6, 1-4 WCC) at St. Mary's Gaels (13-5, 3-2), 8 p.m. (TheW.tv, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
Vanderbilt Commodores (9-6, 1-2 SEC) at LSU Tigers (10-5, 1-2), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Utah State Aggies (12-4, 2-2 MW) at Boise State Broncos (12-5, 2-2), 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
BYU Cougars (12-7, 4-2 WCC) at Santa Clara Broncos (10-10, 3-4), 10 p.m. (CSN California/TWCS/ROOT Sports*/TheW.tv, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
San Diego Toreros (11-8, 2-4 WCC) at San Francisco Dons (11-8, 4-3), 10 p.m. (TheW.tv, streaming directly at SB Nation's Mid-Major Madness)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (10-5, 1-1 Big West) at Cal State Northridge Matadors (10-8, 2-1), 10:30 p.m. (FS Prime Ticket San Diego/FCS Pacific)

Stanford and Washington aren't the only bubble teams in action late on Saturday, as LSU will look to avoid losing to Vandy, Boise State will surely get a test from visiting Utah State, and BYU will look to follow its win over San Francisco on Thursday with another WCC victory at Santa Clara.

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