clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

On The Menu: December 8, 2015

Just four years ago, tonight's Jimmy V Classic would have been a nice mini-ACC/Big East Challenge, but now squads representing four different conferences will take the floor in New York. Other highlights on this early December Tuesday include a Sunshine State showdown in Coral Gables, Michigan's trip to SMU, and an intriguing contest in Tulsa.

Derik Hamilton-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.

Jimmy V Classic

No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

As you'd figure, defense will take center stage in game one at Madison Square Garden. Both the Mountaineers (7th) and Cavaliers (10th) rank in the top 10 of KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency rankings. This will be a nice measuring stick for both programs in early December. Undefeated WVU's best wins came against Richmond and San Diego State at the Las Vegas Invitational, while UVa has already fallen at George Washington and struggled at a weaker than normal Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge one week ago.

For the Cavaliers, this matchup in New York is the first of three consecutive massive tests, as they host Villanova and California after fall exams.

No. 6 Maryland Terrapins vs. Connecticut Huskies, approx. 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Both Maryland and UConn have quality backcourts, but the Terps should get a little more out of their talented forward corps, headlined by Jake Layman and Diamond Stone, and that should be the difference in the nightcap.

This is the last real test for the Terps before Big Ten play starts in three weeks, while UConn still hosts Ohio State on Saturday and visits Texas Longhorns on December 29th.

Other Intriguing Entrees

Florida Gators at No. 17 Miami Hurricanes, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Gators head to Coral Gables as they open a three-game swing that also features games at Michigan State on Saturday and against Oklahoma State one week later in the Orange Bowl Classic. If UF can lock down the perimeter and limit Miami's second chances, much as they did in an unexpected 20-point win over Richmond one week ago, they can pull off a mild upset.

Northern Iowa Panthers at George Mason Patriots, 7 p.m. (ASN)

The Panthers' at-large chances took a bit of a hit with their Saturday loss at Richmond, so they can't afford a loss to a Patriot squad that's dropped three of five since topping Ole Miss and Oklahoma State on the first two days of the Charleston Classic.

Penn State Nittany Lions at George Washington Colonials, 7 p.m. (CSN Mid-Atlantic/SNY/CSN Chicago+/Comcast Network Philly)

The Colonials could pick up their fourth win of the season against a team that should finish in the bottom half of a power conference with a home game against yet another such squad, Rutgers, on deck Saturday.

Air Force Falcons at Ohio State Buckeyes, 8 p.m. (BTN)

Saturday's trip to Storrs will only be an opportunity for the Buckeyes to get back on track if they take care of the Falcons tonight. Don't expect this to be a fast-paced contest, as Thad Matta's team actually plays slower than a Princeton-style Air Force squad.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Minnesota Golden Gophers, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

On Saturday, the Golden Gophers lost to South Dakota after two OTs. The Jackrabbits, even with a loss to the UMKC team Minnesota defeated on Opening Night on their record, are a far better team than the Coyotes.

Michigan Wolverines at No. 19 SMU Mustangs, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

Last season, the Mustangs won in Ann Arbor by 11, a game that didn't help their NCAA season much because of the Wolverines' season-long struggles. In 2015, postseason-ineligible SMU won't be able to benefit from Michigan's improvement, while a win at Moody would still help the Wolverines' profile.

Stony Brook Seawolves at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

The perennial America East bridesmaid looks to stun an Irish team that's already lost to Monmouth and Alabama.

Evansville Aces at Arkansas Razorbacks, 9 p.m. (SEC Network)

While the Aces have lost only once this season, they've yet to record a win over a power conference foe, having dropped a 10-point decision to Providence in the Wooden Legacy quarterfinals on Thanksgiving. A 3-4 Razorback squad that's also been unable to defeat a Power 6 foe might just be an unwilling victim.

Iona Gaels at Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 9 p.m. (ASN/SNY/CSN Chicago+/ESPN3)

The Gaels, off to a 2-0 start in the MAAC, step back out of conference to visit a Golden Hurricane squad that's dropped its last two at the Reynolds Center—to Little Rock and Oral Roberts. Neither of these teams is particularly good at defending the perimeter or preventing free throw opportunities.

Montana Grizzlies at No. 20 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 9 p.m. (KHQ/ROOT Sports/ESPN3)

The Grizzlies don't stand much of a chance against a Bulldog squad that will be angry after gift-wrapping Saturday's game to Arizona.

TCU Horned Frogs at Washington Huskies, 11 p.m. (Pac-12 Network National and Washington)

Two power conference teams that don't look to be NCAA bound meet in Seattle. The Horned Frogs completed a two-year series against Washington State last season, winning both contests. I guess it was time for Trent Johnson's team to switch travel partners.

Be sure to follow @ChrisDobbertean on Twitter and to like Blogging the Bracket on Facebook and Google Plus.