Selection Sunday is now just a bit more than a month away, that means that after several weeks where the best Saturday action aired in the afternoon, it's time for wall-to-wall hoops from noon to midnight.
I've picked out 18 games to build your Saturday around, spanning from coast-to-coast (and hitting just about everywhere in between). You'll see several teams who are safely in the field and even more who are playing for one of the final at-large bids. I've even spread the love conference-wise, as 12 conferences are represented in this post.
My viewing picks are after the jump.
Early Afternoon (ET)
HD TV: Syracuse Orange at Louisville Cardinals, ESPN/ESPN3 (12 p.m. ET)
All things being equal, the Orange should be able to handle a Louisville squad that isn't the deepest around, but considering how the Cardinals have dominated in their new home and won six straight against Syracuse, the onus is on Jim Boeheim's squad in this one.
KenPom.com prediction: Cardinals 70-68, 68 poss.
SD TV: Kentucky Wildcats at Vanderbilt Commodores, CBS (1 p.m. ET)
The winner of this one will move into at least a tie for second in the SEC East, depending on what happens in Columbia between Georgia and South Carolina and Gainesville, where first place Florida hosts Tennessee. Two questions that will need to be answered in this one: How much will the Commodores have left after playing a close game Thursday night against Alabama? Will the young Wildcats finally get things right on the road?
KenPom.com prediction: Wildcats 74-72, 69 poss.
Laptop: Maryland Terrapins at Boston College Eagles, ACC Network regional (ACC territory) or ESPN3/Full Court (elsewhere) (1 p.m. ET)
The Terrapins are looking for their first top 50 win of the season. The Eagles RPI at the moment I typed this: 42. Yep, even if Maryland should take care of a sliding BC team in Chestnut Hill, it may not help their cause much.
KenPom.com prediction: Terrapins 75-71, 67 poss.
Alt. Ch.: Temple Owls at Dayton Flyers, ESPNU (1 p.m. ET)
With Xavier and Duquesne meeting tomorrow in Pittsburgh, the Owls can get a bit closer to the A-10 lead with a win at UD Arena, particularly with a home game against Richmond on tap for Thursday. Meanwhile, Chris Wright and the Flyers could really use a win over a quality opponent like Temple to get back in the bubble conversation.
KenPom.com prediction: Owls 67-64, 66 poss.
HD TV: Ohio St. Buckeyes at Wisconsin Badgers, ESPN/ESPN3 (2 p.m. ET)
KenPom's No. 1 (Wisconsin) and 3 (Ohio State) teams in adjusted offensive efficiency get together in Madison, in what must be considered the most likely place for the undefeated Buckeyes to finally lose. However, given Ohio State's expertise on the defensive end (as they rank 2nd in adjusted defensive efficiency), don't be so quick to pencil in the Badgers as winners.
KenPom.com prediction: Buckeyes 61-60, 56 poss.
SD TV: Old Dominion Monarchs at Va. Commonwealth Rams, ESPN2/ESPN3 (2 p.m. ET)
This is a crucial game for both teams' at-large prospects, particularly the Monarchs. Even though Old Dominion sits higher on my S-curve than the Rams, it's unlikely that they'd be selected if they finish lower than third in the CAA. With a loss to (and season sweep at the hands of) VCU, that placement would be a distinct possibility.
KenPom.com prediction: Rams 64-62, 62 poss.
Laptop: Youngstown St. Penguins at Cleveland St. Vikings, Horizon League Network (free streaming)/STO/WWRD/CSN Chicago (2 p.m. ET)
The Vikings host the last place Penguins, a team they must beat to remain a game behind Valparaiso in the Horizon race.
KenPom.com prediction: Vikings 79-59, 68 poss.
Late Afternoon (ET)
HD TV: Baylor Bears at Texas Longhorns, ESPN/ESPN3 (4 p.m. ET)
As you'll see as this post heads into the evening, it's a crucial night for Big 12 bubble teams. The Bears, who are barely in or out of the field, based on the projection you see, can knock down the door with a victory over the hot Longhorns, winners of nine straight.
KenPom.com prediction: Longhorns 72-57, 66 poss.
SD TV: Oregon St. Beavers at UCLA Bruins, FSN/Comcast SportsNet (4 p.m. ET)
The Bruins can complete a season sweep of the Oregon schools with a win over the Beavers at Pauley, and that would be something that neither Arizona or Washington will be able to point to on their resume.
KenPom.com prediction: Bruins 77-63, 70 poss.
Laptop: Mississippi Rebels at Alabama Crimson Tide, SEC Network regional/ESPN3/Full Court (4 p.m. ET)
The Crimson Tide lost sole possession of first in the overall SEC table with their Thursday night loss at Vanderbilt, but they still own the West Division lead and sit a half-game behind Florida overall. Meanwhile, the Rebels, led by electric point guard Chris Warren, are three games back in the division. This is the first of two meetings between these two, who both need wins to remain in contention for a bid.
KenPom.com prediction: Crimson Tide 70-62, 66 poss.
Early Evening (ET)
HD TV: Tennessee Volunteers at Florida Gators, ESPN/ESPN3 (6 p.m. ET)
The Gators needed overtime to top the Volunteers in Knoxville early in the SEC season. This will be the second game back for Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl, and he'll hope this one goes a bit better than his return from suspension, a 12-point defeat at Kentucky on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Gators will hope for a performance like the one they put on in Columbia Wednesday night, just with fewer turnovers.
KenPom.com prediction: Gators 68-61, 63 poss.
SD TV: Southern Miss. Golden Eagles at Memphis Tigers, ESPN2/ESPN3 (6 p.m. ET)
This game should help deliver some clarity to a competitive and muddled Conference USA race, as these two both sit in a group of five three-loss teams, all of whom fall below the league's only two-loss club UTEP (who hosts another three-loss team, SMU). The Tigers are currently in my projected "First Four," but Southern Miss could jump them on the S-curve if they avenge a one-point loss in Hattiesburg back on January 19th.
KenPom.com prediction: Tigers 76-74, 71 poss.
Laptop: Oklahoma St. Cowboys at Nebraska Cornhuskers, FS Midwest/Cowboy Sports Network/ESPN3/Full Court (7 p.m. ET)
The Cowboys have lost their last five away from Stillwater, and a loss to a Cornhusker team with limited at-large hopes (because of even more pronounced road struggles) would seriously damage their case.
KenPom.com prediction: Huskers 65-58, 63 poss.
Late Evening (ET)
HD TV: San Diego St. Aztecs at UNLV Runnin' Rebels, CBS College Sports (8 p.m. ET)
This the Runnin' Rebels last chance to grab a signature win against one of the Mountain West's leaders until the conference tournament, which they happen to host. The Aztecs won a defensive struggle at Viejas Arena on January 12th, prevailing 55-49. Expect this one to be similar.
KenPom.com prediction: Rebels 64-63, 65 poss.
SD TV: Pittsburgh Panthers at Villanova Wildcats, ESPN/ESPN3 (9 p.m. ET)
The Panthers lead Notre Dame by two games in the Big East race, and a trio of teams, including the Wildcats by three. Pitt can move a step closer to clinching the conference's regular season crown and a double-bye for the tournament at Madison Square Garden with a victory in this one, while Villanova needs to rebound from Wednesday's disappointing loss at Rutgers. Note that this game will be played on campus, and not at the Wells Fargo Center as you probably were expecting.
KenPom.com prediction: Wildcats 71-70, 65 poss.
Alt. Ch.: Kansas St. Wildcats at Colorado Buffaloes, ESPNU (9 p.m. ET)
The Wildcats, who are back in the picture thanks to three wins in their last four games, look to avenge an early Big 12 loss to the Buffaloes, who have lost six of seven and all but fallen off the bubble.
KenPom.com prediction: Buffaloes 76-73, 70 poss.
Bonus Pick for the Lucky: New Mexico Lobos at Colorado St. Rams, The Mtn. (9 p.m. ET)
Since this one is on The Mtn., I won't be able to see it, which is a shame, as both of these teams should be getting more bracket consideration. I suspect the winner will come Monday. The Lobos won the earlier meeting in Albuquerque by seven.
KenPom.com prediction: Rams 71-70, 67 poss.
HD TV Nightcap: Wichita St. Shockers at Northern Iowa Panthers, ESPN2/ESPN3 (10 p.m. ET)
The Panthers were plugging along, winners of eight straight and a darkhorse at-large candidate, until Lucas O'Rear was lost for the season with an ankle fracture. Now, UNI has dropped two in a row, and sit two games behind co-leaders Wichita State and Missouri State in the Valley race. With O'Rear in the lineup, the Panthers defeated the Shockers by three at Koch Arena, but their prospects are reduced without him, even with the game taking place in Cedar Falls.
KenPom.com prediction: Shockers 64-61, 58 poss.
If those aren't enough games for you, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site for the rest of the Saturday slate. 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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