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On The Menu: December 22, 2015

The Tuesday of Christmas week schedule is busier than a typical weekday and features some potentially interesting afternoon games to distract you from work or holiday prep.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Game information courtesy Matt College Sports on TV Website, which has even more games listed.

All times listed are Eastern, adjust accordingly.

Afternoon Appetizers

Saint Joseph's Hawks vs. Virginia Tech Hokies at Brooklyn (A 10/ACC Doubleheader), 1 p.m. (ESPN3)

Vermont Catamounts at Northeastern Huskies, 1 p.m. (CAA.tv)

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at Arizona State Sun Devils, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National and Arizona)

Little Rock Trojans at Texas Tech Red Raiders, 3 p.m. (Red Raider Sports Network/select FSN outlets)

Radford Highlanders at Chattanooga Mocs, 3 p.m. (SoCon Digital Network)

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Iona Gaels at Las Vegas, 3 p.m. (Holiday Hoops on Streamup)

Boston College Eagles vs. Fordham Rams at Brooklyn (A 10/ACC Doubleheader), approx. 3:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

Troy Trojans at Ole Miss Rebels, 4 p.m. (SEC Network)

No. 13 Miami Hurricanes at La Salle Explorers, 5 p.m. (CBSSN)

For my money, the three streaming all-mid major showdowns are the best options for the afternoon, as all six teams will be forces in their respective conference races. I'd also keep an eye on Little Rock-Texas Tech, if possible. While the undefeated Trojans have already won at San Diego State, Tulsa, and DePaul, the Red Raiders easily took care of a South Dakota State squad of a similar pedigree last Wednesday.

Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Quarterfinals

Auburn Tigers vs. New Mexico Lobos, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
BYU Cougars vs. Harvard Crimson, approx. 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners vs. Washington State Cougars, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Northern Iowa Panthers at Hawai `i Rainbow Warriors, approx. 1:30 a.m. 12/23 (ESPNU)

The Sooners are the clear favorites here, though they might get their toughest matchup in tomorrow's semifinals, provided the Panthers, who already have wins over two then-top five teams, get past the hosts in the nightcap. The afternoon games feature a quartet of teams with real question marks, so expect some wide open basketball.

Main Courses

Clemson Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs, 6 p.m. (SEC Network)

USF Bulls at Seton Hall Pirates, 6:30 p.m. (FS2)

No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones at No. 22 Cincinnati Bearcats, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 1 Michigan State Spartans vs. Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Auburn Hills, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Charlotte 49ers at Time Warner Cable Arena, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

No. 6 Xavier Musketeers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 7 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)

Rhode Island Rams at Old Dominion Monarchs, 7 p.m. (ASN)

Buffalo Bulls at VCU Rams, 7 p.m. (CSN Mid-Atlantic+)

Vanderbilt Commodores at No. 14 Purdue Boilermakers, 8 p.m. (BTN)

North Florida Ospreys at Arkansas Razorbacks, 8 p.m. (SEC Network+)

The contest between ranked opponents in Cincinnati is the clear standout matchup among the early evening games, with the Bearcats and Cyclones offering a true contrast in styles. Top-ranked Michigan State, without Denzel Valentine for two to three weeks, will likely be challenged by the Horizon League contending Golden Grizzlies at the Palace of Auburn Hills, as Oakland has lost their two meetings with Sparty in that building by a total of five points. Vanderbilt-Purdue, Commodores head coach Kevin Stallings' return to his alma mater, will have an impact on March seeding, while Clemson-Georgia looks like an early bubble tiebreaker. North Florida has a shot to win at Bud Walton, while Wake Forest will look to stun the red hot Xavier Musketeers in the Skip Prosser Classic in Winston-Salem.

The Dessert Cart

California Golden Bears at No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

No. 20 George Washington Colonials at DePaul Blue Demons, 9 p.m. (FS1)

Mercer Bears at Ohio State Buckeyes, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

St. John's Red Storm vs. No. 25 South Carolina Gamecocks at the Mohegan Sun, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)

Long Beach State 49ers at No. 8 Arizona Wildcats, 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National and Arizona)

No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks at San Diego State Aztecs, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)

Intriguing intersectional matchups highlight the late window, with Cal's five-game winning streak in jeopardy as the Golden Bears visit a Cavalier team that's rolling right now, with improved offensive efficiency complementing UVa's always stellar defense. Undefeated South Carolina should be able to leave Connecticut with a win, but the Red Storm have a habit of playing to their competition's level, so the Gamecocks should get a bit of a fight. Meanwhile, Kansas should handle a San Diego State team that's struggling to score—the Aztecs only managed 45 points in a home loss to Grand Canyon on Friday.

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