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College Basketball Viewer's Guide For December 27

On Saturday night, Butler claimed the final exempt tournament title of the season, using a 18-2 early second half run to distance themselves from Washington State, claiming the Diamond Head Classic with an 84-68 victory. Shelvin Mack scored 20 for the Bulldogs, while Matt Howard had a double-double (14 points. 11 rebounds). Washington State's Klay Thompson led all scorers with 31.

Florida State topped Baylor, 68-61, in the third place game, picking up a big win for the ACC. Host Hawai'i claimed fifth, topping Mississippi State68-57, in the Bulldogs' first game after the Elgin Bailey-Renardo Sidney fight. Finally, Utah is the team who leaves Honolulu at 0-3, as San Diego topped the Utes, 67-64, to claim their first win of the season over D1 opposition.

After the jump, I'll take a look at a Monday schedule highlighted by the first conference games of the season in the Big Ten and Big East. 

Penn State at Indiana, Big Ten Network (6:30 p.m. ET): This is not the most inspiring conference opener, at least compared to how the Big East is kicking things off.

Morgan State at Louisville, Big East Network/WHAS/SNY/MASN/BHSN/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET): While just about everyone else in the Big East starts conference play this week, the Cardinals still have two non-conference games left. Needless to say, this contest against the Bears isn't the one people are most looking forward to.

Connecticut at Pittsburgh, ESPN2 (8:30 p.m. ET): I don't think the people at the Big East offices in Providence could have anticipated this conference opener being fairly meaningful when it was originally scheduled, given the Huskies' struggles last season. The veteran Panthers will be a stern test for UConn, who will need Kemba Walker's points and leadership more than ever.

Northern Illinois at Missouri, Mizzou Sports/FS Midwest/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET): The Tigers should be able to score at will against one of the worst defensive teams in the country.

UT Martin at Ohio State, Big Ten Network (8:30 p.m. ET): Ditto for the Buckeyes against the Skyhawks. This is Ohio State's final tuneup before they open Big Ten play at Indiana Friday.

For information about games that will be aired regionally, like Southern at LSU, 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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