Can you believe it's late January already? Football season is winding down, which means CBS has its first tripleheader of the season on Saturday, which is the first sign for many, more casual fans that the season is underway. (Nice of you to finally notice. We've been at this for quite some time now.) Plus, Selection Sunday is merely seven weeks away, which means it's time for me to focus even more on the field of 68, particularly if I want to improve on my seeding performance from last year, which Simon Cowell would have called "bizarrely dreadful."
With this in mind, I'm going to be cutting back on the TV previews slightly from now until the rest of the season. Instead of listing every single game that receives a national broadcast of some sort, I'm going to offer up what I'll have on each of my screens during each day's broadcast windows, usually along with a game or two I'll be flipping to during commercials. Keep in mind, that just because I'm watching a game on the HD TV doesn't mean it's the most important, since I only get certain stations (CBS College and ESPNU, for example) via the cable box.
Just like in previous posts, I'll typically avoid regional broadcasts, but they may show up from time to time.
As the weeks go on, expect to see more team profile, blind resume, and conference race-based posts around here to complement Bracketology and Bubble Watch over at SB Nation.
Of course, as action unfolds around the country, I'm bound to be flipping around, and will shift my attention to games as events warrant. You may want to follow me on Twitter to see what has my attention at any particular time.
My streamlined list of picks, broken down by time window, after the jump.
Early Afternoon (ET) Window
HD TV: Villanova Wildcats at Syracuse Orange, ESPN (12 p.m. ET)
The Orange should have 33,000-plus at the Dome to cheer them on, and Kris Joseph should be back (maybe, possibly) after missing Monday's loss to Pitt. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are looking to avoid a two-game skid of their own.
KenPom.com prediction: Orange 72-66, 68 poss.
SD TV: Ohio St. Buckeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini, CBS (12 p.m. ET)
If the Illini shoot as well as they normally do at home, the Buckeyes could fall from the ranks of the unbeaten. On the other hand, if Illinois struggles like they did in the final minutes of their win over Michigan State on Tuesday, Thad Matta's team can prepare for their next test, a Tuesday home game against Purdue.
KenPom.com prediction: Buckeyes 70-67, 66 poss.
Laptop: Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at Florida Atlantic Owls, ESPN2 (1 p.m. ET)
I'll be checking in on the Owls, who I haven't seen since they gave Florida a battle back in November in Gainesville, as they attempt to stay unbeaten in the Sun Belt. The Trojans are a contender, as they sit two games back in the standings.
KenPom.com prediction: Owls 66-60, 62 poss.
Mid-Afternoon (ET) Window
HD TV: Tennessee Volunteers at Connecticut Huskies, CBS Regional (2 p.m. ET)
As the Vols are stepping out of the SEC, Bruce Pearl will be back on the bench for this contest. This should be an exciting contest, as both of these teams seem to bring their best efforts when facing marquee opposition. Expect Scotty Hopson and Kemba Walker to put on a show in this one.
KenPom.com prediction: Huskies 74-65, 68 poss.
SD TV: Kansas St. Wildcats at Texas A&M Aggies, ESPN2 (3 p.m. ET)
Given these teams reputations (something A&M at least has attempted to correct this season), this one isn't for the faint of heart. The Aggies are looking to bounce back from a poor performance in Austin on Wednesday, one that snapped a 13-game winning streak, while the Wildcats are in need of a win to boost a flagging profile and their overall confidence.
KenPom.com prediction: Aggies 70-63, 67 poss.
Alt. Ch.: Clemson Tigers at Maryland Terrapins, ACC Network/ESPN3/Full Court (3 p.m. ET)
Both of these teams sit squarely on the bad side of the bubble after disheartening losses this week, and the loser may have too much ground to make up, even in a disappointing ACC.
KenPom.com prediction: Terps 69-61, 70 poss.
Laptop: Wright St. Raiders at Cleveland St. Vikings, Horizon League Network/STO/WWRD/ESPN3/Full Court (2 p.m. ET)
On Friday night, Horizon leader Valparaiso and Butler, tied with the Raiders and Vikings in the loss column, both play. The winner of this clash stays in the lead pack with them...provided both the Crusaders and Bulldogs both prevail.
KenPom.com prediction: Vikings 64-57, 63 poss.
Late Afternoon (ET) Window
HD TV: Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks, CBS (4 p.m. ET)
Just think, starting next year, these two will meet twice a year with the new Big 12-2 double round-robin schedule. This year, we may have to settle for one high-octane regular season meeting, with the potential for a second in the Big 12 Tournament.
KenPom.com prediction: Jayhawks 73-66, 71 poss.
SD TV: New Mexico Lobos at UNLV Runnin' Rebels, Versus (4 p.m. ET)
The Runnin' Rebels need to stop the bleeding after a home loss to Colorado State on Wednesday night, while the Lobos are in serious danger of falling out of NIT territory after dropping two road conference games, to doormats Utah and Wyoming, already
KenPom.com prediction: Rebels 73-62, 68 poss.
Laptop: Cincinnati Bearcats at St. John's Red Storm, Big East Network/FS Ohio/SNY/ESPN3/Full Court (4 p.m. ET)
The Bearcats, who are in desperate need of a quality road win after dropping consecutive games at Syracuse and Notre Dame, are unlikely to get one against a Red Storm team that needs to rebound from the hammering it took in Louisville on Wednesday.
KenPom.com prediction: Red Storm 65-64, 65 poss.
Alt. Ch. Creighton Bluejays at Missouri St. Bears, ESPN2 (5 p.m. ET)
The Bears look to rebound from their first MVC loss of the season and stay in at least a tie for first, depending on what co-leader Indiana State does at Wichita State.
KenPom.com prediction: Bears 70-61, 60 poss.
Early Evening (ET) Window
HD TV: Boston College Eagles at Florida St. Seminoles, ESPNU (7 p.m. ET)
Earlier this week, before the Noles' win at Miami, the guys over at Tomahawk Nation were wondering why I had FSU behind both the Eagles and Virginia Tech in my Tuesday projection. The Seminoles can make a great case to move up with a win over BC tonight in Tallahassee.
KenPom.com prediction: Seminoles 73-67, 67 poss.
SD TV: Marquette Golden Eagles at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Big East Network/TWC 32/MASN/SNY/ESPN3/Full Court (7 p.m. ET)
The Golden Eagles throttled the Irish (by 22) in Milwaukee 12 days ago, but they'll have a difficult time completing the sweep in South Bend, where Notre Dame has yet to lose this season. For reference, Notre Dame defeated St. John's by 15 at Purcell Pavillion, then fell to the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden by 18 just eight days later.
KenPom.com prediction: Irish 75-72, 68 poss.
Laptop: Kentucky Wildcats at South Carolina Gamecocks, ESPN (6 p.m. ET)
The Wildcats will need to play a full 40 minutes tonight. Otherwise, the Gamecocks, who've won three league games (two in OT and one by three) will defeat them in Columbia for the second straight year, knocking them below .500 in the SEC.
KenPom.com prediction: Wildcats 76-66, 71 poss.
Alt. Ch. Memphis Tigers at UAB Blazers, ESPN2 (7 p.m. ET)
The winner of this one will remain tied with the winner of UTEP's visit to Houston at the top of Conference USA.
KenPom.com prediction: Blazers 73-66, 68 poss.
Late Evening (ET) Window
Laptop: Arkansas Razorbacks at Florida Gators, SEC on FSN/FS South/FS Florida/ESPN3/Full Court (8 p.m. ET)
The Gators have looked indifferent in four SEC games, but somehow have a 3 in the win column. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks nearly knocked off South Carolina in Columbia on Wednesday, which means they're perfectly capable of handing Florida a bad loss here. After Thursday night, I have to scoff at the thought of the Gators scoring more than a point-a-possession.
KenPom.com prediction: Gators 68-59, 65 poss.
HD TV: Michigan St. Spartans at Purdue Boilermakers, ESPN (9 p.m. ET)
Two teams looking to prove they're legit contenders, both in the conference and nationally, meet in West Lafayette, with the Spartans coming off a fairly resounding loss at Illinois (in that they couldn't come back despite some Illini struggles) and the Boilermakers being gifted a win over Penn State a night later. As you'd expect in this matchup, there will be defense. Purdue ranks 6th in adjusted defense per KenPom, and the Spartans are 13th.
KenPom.com prediction: Boilermakers 68-60, 67 poss.
SD TV: Arizona Wildcats at Washington St. Cougars, FS Arizona/FSN Northwest/FCS Pacific (10:30 p.m. ET)
The Wildcats need to regroup after they were smashed in Seattle on Thursday night, while the Cougars--who appear to be a halfway-decent bid contender alongside UCLA--could use a win like this to add to a resume that already includes wins over Gonzaga and Baylor. This is a great opportunity to check out two of the Pac-10's top talents, the Wildcats' Derrick Williams and the Cougs' Klay Thompson, both of whom will contend with Isaiah Thomas for conference player of the year.
KenPom.com prediction: Cougars 71-70, 69 poss.
Alt. Ch. New Mexico St. Aggies at Utah State Aggies, ESPNU (11 p.m. ET)
The Blue Aggies look to sweep the WAC's eastern pair (after routing Louisiana Tech on Thursday). The Red Aggies were a game behind in the conference race, until they lost by 19 at Nevada on the same night.
KenPom.com prediction: Blue Aggies 74-60, 65 poss.
Hon. Ment. BYU Cougars at Colorado St. Rams, The Mtn. (9 p.m. ET)
Since I don't get The Mtn. (a disadvantage to living in an apartment building without access to Directv), I won't be able to catch this one. The Rams, who knocked off UNLV at the Thomas and Mack on Wednesday night will look to derail the Cougars just before they host San Diego State on Wednesday, and boost their rising NCAA profile in the process.
KenPom.com prediction: Cougars 82-74, 72 poss.
For broadcast information for all of the national and regional games I missed, 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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