College Hoops Viewing Guide: January 2, 2014

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Four of the seven remaining unbeatens in America open conference play tonight. Plus, there's a huge early showdown in the WCC.

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.

Big Ten Opening Day, Continued

Wisconsin Badgers (13-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (7-6), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Michigan Wolverines (8-4) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-2), 7 p.m. (BTN)
The Badgers should have no trouble keeping pace with fellow unbeaten Ohio State, who opened Big Ten play up with a victory over Purdue to close out 2013. In tonight's other opener, two teams that look to be fighting for positioning in the middle of the league square off in Minneapolis, with the Wolverines still learning to play without the injured Mitch McGary and the Golden Gophers attempting to show America that their good early record is an indicator it can compete in a stacked league.

Pac-12 Opening Day

Washington Huskies (8-5) at Arizona State Sun Devils (11-2), 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Oregon Ducks (12-0) at Utah Utes (11-1), 8 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
California Golden Bears (9-4) at Stanford Cardinal (9-3), 9 p.m. (FS1)
Oregon State Beavers (8-4) at Colorado Buffaloes (11-2), 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
Washington State Cougars (7-5) at Arizona Wildcats (13-0), 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
The Ducks and top-ranked Wildcats start Pac-12 play with differing assignments. Oregon heads to Salt Lake City to test a Utah squad that built a near-perfect non-conference record against not-so-sterling opposition (the only loss came against Boise State). In other words, the Utes will need to keep that loss total very low to have a real shot at an at-large. You better believe that Larry Krystkowiak's team will be motivated to show that its record isn't a mirage. As for the Wildcats, it would be the shock of the year if they fell to Wazzu, especially with center Kaleb Tarczewski likely returning from an ankle injury for U of A.

Cal and Stanford both look like they'll be on the bubble, so tonight's rivalry showdown is a crucial one for both squads. Washington and Oregon State -- teams that had disappointing non-conference campaigns -- can potentially turn around their seasons with huge road wins tonight in Tempe and Boulder, respectively.

The two teams not in action today, USC and UCLA, meet on Sunday at Pauley Pavilion.

Other Conference Action

Wichita State Shockers (13-0) at Southern Illinois Salukis (4-9), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Shockers, arguably the team with the best shot to stay unbeaten through the regular season, opens Valley play up with a winnable game in Carbondale, where the Salukis will welcome coach Barry Hinson back to the bench. Hinson missed the Salukis' two-point loss at Miami University due to the sudden passing of his son-in-law.

St. Mary's Gaels (10-3, 1-0 WCC) at Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-2, 2-0), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thanks to an 0-3 trip to the Diamond Head Classic, the Gaels have a lot of work to do in the WCC in order to earn an at-large. While a win at Pacific on Monday was a good start, a victory tonight at the Kennel would be a far more significant help. It should be a shootout, as both teams rank in the Top 15 of KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency rankings. The problem for St. Mary's is whether they can get enough stops to keep it close at the end.

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