I really hope you're not planning to do your holiday shopping today, as there are plenty of college basketball options on your television...now that the college football regular season is mostly wrapped up (except for Army-Navy this afternoon). After the jump, I'll take a look at the many options available.
And, if you haven't finished (or even started) your gift buying, you'll have plenty of opportunities next week (as I've repeatedly said).
If a team's name appears as a link, click it to visit that school's SB Nation blog for more coverage.
SEC/Big East Invitational at Pittsburgh
Rutgers vs. Auburn, ESPN2 (12:30 p.m. ET): The Big East really should have stepped in and replaced the Scarlet Knights, a team that owns 5-2 mark, featuring a win over Miami, with 3-5 DePaul, who just lost at Indiana State...by 22. A Blue Demons vs. Tigers matchup would have gone a long way towards determining the loser of the 'Worst Big Six Conference Team" title for the 2010-11 campaign.
Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh, ESPN (approx. 3 p.m. ET): On the other hand. the second game of the afternoon features two of the best stories of the first month of the season--a Volunteer team that keeps on winning despite all of the turmoil and controversy surrounding them and a Panther squad that's become one of the most consistent performers nationally under Jamie Dixon. One will leave Pittsburgh's sparkling new arena with their first loss of the season, but since this isn't football, both will still leave with hope and valuable experience for March.
Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series
Yes, this event is still going on. Six days after the last games in the series were played Washington can prevent a series-clinching win for the Big 12, who currently leads the Pac-10, six games to four. The Huskies visit Texas A&M (ESPN2, 4:30 p.m. ET).
These are the other games I'll be paying particular attention to on Saturday.
- St. Louis at Duke, CBS (12 p.m. ET): This is almost certainly the second straight game the Blue Devils will have to play without Kyrie Irving, who may be lost for the season with a toe injury. However, much like Bradley on Wednesday, the young Billikens shouldn't provide much resistance to his cohorts.
- UNLV at Louisville, ESPNU (12 p.m. ET): Raise your hand if you knew that these two were a combined 16-0? You're lying. Actually, the funny thing about this matchup is that the Runnin' Rebels are the team that's unbeaten with the most national pub. They also have won two straight over the Cardinals, with their last defeat in this series (a 68-48 setback) taking place back in November of 2007.
Michigan State vs. Oakland at Auburn Hills, FS Detroit/FCS Atlantic (12:30 p.m. ET): Spartan fans will be hoping for an easy win after their loss to Syracuse on Tuesday night, but Keith Benson and the Golden Grizzlies will be a significant test.
Alabama at Providence, ESPNU (2 p.m. ET): This one is arguably worse than Rutgers-Auburn.
- Southern Illinois at Western Kentucky, WKYU/FCS Central (2 p.m. ET): The Hilltoppers made the Sweet 16 in 2008 and the Salukis in 2007. Just a few seasons later, both have almost completely fallen off the national radar. Such is the life of a mid-major.
Wisconsin at Marquette, ESPN2 (2:30 p.m. ET): This matchup is one of the most unpredictable out there, as two years where the road team won were immediately followed by two seasons of home team victories, especially as both look to be toward the middle of the pack in their respective conferences (and the bracket).
- Murray State at Chattanooga, Racer Sports/ESPN3/Full Court (2:30 p.m. ET): A win at the Roundhouse certainly won't help the Racers' faded at-large hopes, but it could help their collective psyche.
Kansas State at Loyola-Chicago, Lakeshore/FS Kansas City/Horizon League Network (4 p.m. ET): The Wildcats crushed the Ramblers in Manhattan to open last season, but their trip to Chicago may not be quite so easy, as their opponents are much improved this season. This is a homecoming game for Jacob Pullen, who's from suburban Maywood.
Indiana at Kentucky, ESPN (5:15 p.m. ET): Before you say, "The Wildcats will romp in this one," remember the battle a far less experienced Hoosier team gave them in Bloomington last season until Kentucky's superior talent overwhelmed them late.
Arizona vs. BYU in Salt Lake City, BYU TV (6 p.m. ET): The Cougars gave Jimmer Fredette a homecoming he'll never forget on Wednesday. Tonight, Derrick Williams and the Wildcats hope to knock BYU down a peg, and grab a win they can use for March.
- Colorado State vs. Kansas in Kansas City, ESPN2 (6:30 p.m. ET): The Rams were pegged by some as a potential surprise team, but they've already lost to Sam Houston State at home and at Colorado (albeit in overtime) last time out. Keep in mind that playing the Jayhawks in the backyard doesn't compare to Boulder.
- Missouri State at Oklahoma State, Cowboy Sports/Missouri State TV/KY3/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET): Outside of UNI's trip to Las Vegas later in the month, this is the last chance for a Missouri Valley contender to grab a win that could be considered valuable from a resume perspective.
Gonzaga at Notre Dame, ESPN2 (8:30 p.m. ET): The Fighting Irish will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season, while the Bulldogs are reeling after falling to Washington State Wednesday night. They'd fall below .500 with a loss in South Bend.
- New Mexico State at New Mexico, The Mtn. (9 p.m. ET): These two meet for the second Saturday in a row. The Lobos needed overtime to grab a win in Las Cruces just a week ago.
And here are the TV options for diehards (for example, I will be looking in on Orange-Raiders on the computer this evening). With the exception of Portland-Denver (and perhaps ORU-OU and Cal Poly-UCLA, at this point anything is possible with the Sooners and Bruins), these should end in wins for the home teams.
- Eastern Kentucky at Minnesota, Big Ten Network (1 p.m. ET)
- Oral Roberts at Oklahoma, Sooner Sports/ESPN3/Full Court (3 p.m. ET)
- Texas State at Texas, Longhorn Sports/FS Houston/FS Southwest/ESPN3/Full Court (4 p.m. ET)
- Presbyterian at Missouri, Mizzou Sports/FS Midwest/ESPN3/Full Court (4 p.m. ET)
- Portland at Denver, FSN Rocky Mountain/FCS Central (6 p.m. ET)
- Colgate at Syracuse, Big East Network/SNY/TWCS/ESPN3/Full Court (7 p.m. ET)
- Mississippi Valley State at Butler, WNDY/Horizon League Network (7 p.m. ET)
- North Florida at Purdue, Big Ten Network (7:30 p.m. ET)
- Cal Poly at UCLA, Prime Ticket/FCS Pacific (8 p.m. ET)
- Utah Valley at Cincinnati, Big East Network/FS Ohio/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET)
For more on the large number of games that will only be televised regionally, like TCU at Nebraska, Dayton at Old Dominion, Long Beach State at North Carolina, Seton Hall at Massachusetts, St. Joseph's at Creighton, Central Michigan at LSU, and San Diego State at San Diego, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site. Another good resource is the schedule page at BB State.
Please share your thoughts about today and tonight's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.
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