Only two ranked teams were in action Monday, as the college basketball world eased into the week that ends 2009 and starts 2010.
- No. 18 Temple had no trouble with Bowling Green, winning 63-39.
- Rutgers gave No. 9 North Carolina a fight, but the Tar Heels pulled away in the end, prevailing 81-67.
In other Monday action.
- Pittsburgh opened up their Big East season with a 65-52 win over De Paul, ruining Mac Koshwal's return for the Blue Demons.
- Florida beat American, 76-60, to snap a three-game losing skid.
- BYU dominated Arizona in Tucson, 99-69.
- Gonzaga smashed local rival Eastern Washington, 94-52
- Memphis cruised past IUPUI, 87-67.
- Remember when Sam Houston State crushed Auburn? The Bearkats were completely shut down by Wright State Monday, falling 88-48.
- UNC Wilmington gave Richmond a scare at the Robins Center, but the Spiders survived 66-64. Don't sleep on the Seahawks in the CAA.
- Wake Forest won easily over UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum, 75-60.
- Northern Colorado had little trouble with Denver in a battle of mid-major contenders, 72-57.
- Portland continues their slide. The Pilots fell at Nevada, 78-69.
After the jump, I'll take a look at an intriguing Tuesday slate.
Tuesday is the busiest night in awhile as conference play starts in the Big Ten and things really get ramped up in the Big East.
- No. 4 Purdue at Iowa (Big Ten, 7): The Boilermakers get just about the easiest start possible to their conference slate.
- Marquette at No. 6 West Virginia (Big East/Full Court, 7): The Mountaineers, fresh off an overtime thriller in their league debut, face a young, but tough Golden Eagle team in their Big East home opener.
- Penn State at Minnesota (ESPN2, 9): These two spent much of the second half of last season on the bubble. The Gophers are in better shape after this non-conference season, but they can't afford to drop a home game to the Nittany Lions.
- No. 5 Syracuse at Seton Hall (Big East/Full Court, 9): The Pirates will look to spring a surprise on the Orange, after a close call Saturday. (Yes, that red you see is correct. We now have a Pirates blog, GGonzo Ball Be sure to stop by and take a look.)
But it's not all league play yet. There are three non-conference games on the schedule you should pay at least a little bit of attention to.
- LSU at Xavier (ESPNU, 7): While both teams aren't quite as good as they were last season, neither is dead from an at-large perspective yet. The winner here could have a slight edge on the other come March, depending on how thing play out throughout the rest of the season, of course.
- Pacific at Oklahoma State (Full Court, 8): The Cowboys were very close to being in my bracket this week, but the Tigers will be a dangerous visitor.
- No. 20 Texas Tech at No. 19 NNew Mexico(CBS CS, 9): This is a big road test for the Red Raiders, whose best wins so far (Oregon State, Washington, Stanford) have all come in Lubbock. The Lobos already beat A&M in Houston.
If you're really desperate you can take in Yale at Colorado (FS Rocky Mountain/Full Court, 9).
Other ranked teams have far easier games scheduled.
- Gardner-Webb at No. 2 Texas (Full Court, 6)
- Hartford at No. 3 Kentucky (ESPN2, 7)
- Cleveland State at No. 12 Kansas State (FS Kansas City/Full Court, 8)
- Belmont at No. 1 Kansas (ESPNU, 9)
For Tuesday's action that will only be found regionally, like Long Beach State at No. 7 Duke and a whole slew of MVC openers, visit Matt Sarz' College Sports on TV site.