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On The Menu: 01/28/2016

Thursday's busy schedule features two Top 25 showdowns, one each in the Big Ten and Pac-12, along with a slew of potentially Championship Week previews.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Game information courtesy Matt College Sports on TV Website, which has even more games listed and more specific info on coverage for regional sports networks and American Sports Network telecasts.

All times listed are Eastern, adjust accordingly.

ACC

No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-5, 5-2) at Syracuse Orange (13-8, 3-5), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Orange open an unusual four-game conference homestand with a game against a Fighting Irish squad that will be missing its starting point guard, Demetrius Jackson. Syracuse has defeated the visitors three straight times.

Big Ten

No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes (16-3, 7-0) at No. 8 Maryland Terrapins (17-3, 6-2), 7 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 12 Michigan State Spartans (17-4, 4-4) at Northwestern Wildcats (15-6, 3-5), 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Ohio State Buckeyes (13-8, 5-3) at Illinois Fighting Illini (10-10, 2-5), 9 p.m. (BTN)

While the Spartans and Buckeyes should win handily on the road (although Illinois did beat Purdue in Champaign), the highlight of this trio of games is the Hawkeyes' first-ever Big Ten trip to College Park. Iowa can keep sole possession of first with a win, but it will tie Indiana for the lead if it picks up a first league defeat. It will be interesting to see if Maryland's quality defense can cool off the Hawkeyes' many weapons, particularly early on. If the Terps slow Iowa down even a bit, they'll have a great chance at grabbing their first real quality win of the season.

Pac-12

Oregon State Beavers (12-6, 3-4) at Arizona State Sun Devils (11-9, 1-6), 8:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National, Oregon, Arizona)
No. 23 Oregon Ducks (16-4, 5-2) at No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (16-4, 4-3), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Washington Huskies (13-6, 5-2) at UCLA Bruins (12-8, 3-4), 10 p.m. (FS1)
Washington State Cougars (9-10, 1-6) at USC Trojans (15-5, 4-3), 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National, L.A., Washington)

The second Top 25 matchup of the night will take place in Tucson, where the Ducks last won in 2012. The winner becomes the front-runner for the Pac-12 regular season crown, in my opinion.

Elsewhere, the Beavers should, in theory, be able to win in Tempe, but considering how home teams have dominated, don't put an upset past the struggling Sun Devils. In Los Angeles, the Trojans can sweep the Cougars, who they routed in Pullman on the opening weekend of conference play, while the Bruins will look to reverse the two-point double-OT loss they picked up in Seattle on New Year's Day.

American Athletic

Cincinnati Bearcats (15-6, 5-3) at UConn Huskies (14-5, 4-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

With both Temple and Tulsa picking up damaging losses on Wednesday night, the Bearcats and Huskies look to be the American's two remaining at-large hopefuls. With the teams splitting their regular season meetings in each of the past three seasons, with the home team winning every time, it would be difficult to pick the Bearcats in this one

Atlantic 10

Richmond Spiders (10-8, 2-4) at George Washington Colonials (15-4, 4-2), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Spiders, who have lost five of their last seven, have fallen out of the at-large hunt. Winning at the Smith Center, something Richmond last did in its Sweet Sixteen season of 2010-11, would get them a bit closer to the bubble. Meanwhile, the Colonials really need to keep winning to keep their place.

Elsewhere

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (8-10, 2-3) at Long Beach State 49ers (9-12, 3-3), 10:30 p.m. (FS Prime Ticket/FS San Diego/FS North/FCS Pacific)

The Gauchos and 49ers are in danger of falling out of the Big West race already, and the loser will be four losses behind the leaders.

UNC Wilmington Seahawks (14-5, 6-2) at James Madison Dukes (16-5, 6-2), 7 p.m. (CAA.tv)

In the unlikely event that Hofstra falls at home to Elon, the winner of this one will be all alone in first in the CAA.

UAB Blazers (17-3, 7-0) at Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-10, 2-5), 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

The Blazers haven't lost since dropping both of their Emerald Coast Classic games in Niceville, Fla.; however, they only won the two games on their last C-USA road trip by a total of three points.

Monmouth Hawks (15-5, 7-2) at Quinnipiac Bobcats (5-12, 2-6), 7:30 p.m. (Quinnipiac University)
Rider Broncs (7-13, 3-6) at Saint Peter's Peacocks (8-9, 6-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

The MAAC's top two so far meet in West Long Branch on Saturday. While neither can afford to look ahead to that showdown, the Hawks must avoid picking up another bad loss to keep their at-large hopes afloat.

Evansville Purple Aces (17-4, 6-2) at Southern Illinois Salukis (18-3, 7-1), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

The MVC's third place team visits its second place squad to close out the first half of the conference slate.

Robert Morris Colonials (6-15, 4-4) at Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers (9-12, 6-2), 7 p.m. (CBSSN)

With the Mountaineers leading the NEC and the Colonials a near-perennial finalist in the conference's postseason tournament, this might be a Championship Week preview.

Tennessee State Tigers (14-5, 5-1) at Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (14-7, 6-2), 9 p.m. (ASN)

While these teams both sit behind Belmont Bruins in the OVC East, they tower above the entirety of its West Division.

ETSU Buccaneers (13-7, 6-1) at Wofford Terriers (8-12, 4-3), 7 p.m. (SoCon Digital Network)

The SoCon co-leading Bucs visit the two-time defending conference champs.

Omaha Mavericks (14-7, 6-1) at South Dakota State Jackrabbits (16-5, 5-2), 8 p.m. (MidCo SN/ESPN3)

The Summit leaders travel to Brookings to take on the Jackrabbits, the preseason favorites who currently sit in a three-way tie for second.

Santa Clara Broncos (7-14, 3-6) at Gonzaga Bulldogs (15-5, 7-2), 9 p.m. (KHQ/ESPN3)
Loyola Marymount Lions (10-10, 3-6) at BYU Cougars (14-7, 5-3), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Bulldogs and Cougars have winnable home games in their effort to keep pace with Saint Mary's Gaels in the WCC title chase.

Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners (14-6, 4-1) at Grand Canyon Antelopes (18-2, 5-0), 9 p.m. (COX 7/CST)

The Roadrunners dropped their first WAC game on Saturday, falling to New Mexico State after two OTs. Tonight, they'll attempt to knock tourney-ineligible GCU from the league lead.

Viewing Picks

Early Evening Tips

Iowa at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Notre Dame at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Cincinnati at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
UNC Wilmington at James Madison, 7 p.m. (CAA.tv)
Robert Morris at Mount St. Mary's, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
ETSU at Wofford, 7 p.m. (SoCon Digital Network)
UAB at Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Monmouth at Quinnipiac, 7:30 p.m. (Quinnipiac University)

Mid-Evening Tips

Oregon at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Omaha at South Dakota State, 8 p.m. (MidCo SN/ESPN3)
Oregon State at Arizona State, 8:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National, Oregon, Arizona)
Michigan State at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Evansville at Southern Illinois, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Richmond at George Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Ohio State at Illinois, 9 p.m. (BTN)
Cal State Bakersfield at Grand Canyon, 9 p.m. (COX 7/CST)
Tennessee State at Tennessee Tech, 9 p.m. (ASN)
Santa Clara at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (KHQ/ESPN3)
Rider at Saint Peter's, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

Late Evening Tips

Washington at UCLA, 10 p.m. (FS1)
UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach State, 10:30 p.m. (FS Prime Ticket/FS San Diego/FS North/FCS Pacific)
Loyola Marymount at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Washington State at USC, 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National, L.A., Washington)

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