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On The Menu: January 6, 2016

Several early season surprises will get a chance to prove their chops on a Wednesday that might otherwise feature a few blowouts.

Jeremy Brevard-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.

Big East

Seton Hall Pirates (12-2, 2-0) at No. 11 Villanova Wildcats (12-2, 2-0), 7 p.m. (FS1)
No. 10 Xavier Musketeers (13-1, 1-1) at St. John's Red Storm (7-8, 0-2), 9 p.m. (FS1)

The improved Pirates can establish themselves as a surprise Big East contender with an unlikely win at the Pavilion. Later, the Musketeers should get over .500 in league play as they face a Red Storm squad that's dropped five in a row and lost its first two conference games by a total of 28 points.


No. 14 Duke Blue Devils (12-2, 1-0) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-4, 0-1), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-4, 0-1) at No. 24 Pittsburgh Panthers (12-1, 1-0), 7 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)

Speaking of improved squads, the Demon Deacons look poised to pull an ACC upset after sandwiching a win at LSU between close losses to Xavier and Louisville. Perhaps the Blue Devils will fall victim in Winston-Salem, a place where they traditionally struggle (last losing there in 2014). The Yellow Jackets could also be a team on the rise, considering how closely they played North Carolina on Saturday. A win at the Pete would certainly boost their stature, but only Purdue has managed to walk away from there victorious this season...10 other squads have fallen.

Big Ten

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-9, 0-2) at No. 3 Maryland Terrapins (13-1, 2-0), 7 p.m. (BTN)
Ohio State Buckeyes (10-5, 2-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (13-2, 1-1), 9 p.m. (BTN)

While the woeful Scarlet Knights don't stand much of a chance against Melo Trimble and the Terps, the Buckeyes will put their six-game win streak on the line against a Wildcat squad that had its own 10-game run snapped by Maryland on Saturday night. Even though Northwestern dropped that game, they looked like they were getting their act together in the late stages of the 72-59 loss.


California Golden Bears (12-3, 2-0) at Oregon Ducks (11-3, 0-1), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Stanford Cardinal (8-5, 1-1) at Oregon State Beavers (10-2, 1-0), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Bay Area schools head north to Oregon, where the Ducks and Beavers await in different moods after the pair's Sunday's opener in Corvallis. Oregon will look to rebound from disappointment by knocking off a Golden Bear squad that comes in brimming with confidence after sweeping Colorado and Utah. On the other hand, Oregon State will want to keep things rolling with the Cardinal in town, a loss to Stanford wouldn't do the Beavers' profile any favors.

Big 12

Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1, 1-0) at No. 13 Iowa State Cyclones (11-2, 0-1), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

OK, Red Raiders, you've built up a respectable record by going 8-0 at home and winning twice in the consolation bracket of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, but can you handle Hilton Magic? If so, you all might just be going somewhere.


Missouri Tigers (7-6) at Georgia Bulldogs (7-4, 0-1), 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Florida Gators (9-4, 1-0) at Tennessee Volunteers (7-6, 0-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (11-2, 1-0) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-5), 8:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

Missouri and Mississippi State face difficult league openers, as they attempt to avoid playing on the first day of the SEC Tournament. Georgia and A&M, meanwhile, must avoid the dreaded bad loss that their opponents would be more than happy to provide this evening. In the ESPN2 game, the Gators will look to build on their strong performance in handling Georgia in their conference opener on Saturday, but they've typically struggled in Knoxville. The last time a non-2014 UF squad won there? 2011 (in OT).

American Athletic

USF Bulls (7-5, 1-0) at UCF Knights (3-12, 0-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNEWS)

If you consciously watch this one, you're either an alum of one of the two schools or need serious help.

Atlantic 10

George Washington Colonials (12-2, 1-0) at Saint Louis Billikens (5-8, 0-1), 7 p.m. (FS Midwest/MASN2/FCS Atlantic)
La Salle Explorers (4-7, 0-1) at Fordham Rams (9-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. (Atlantic 10 Digital)
UMass Minutemen (8-5, 1-0) at No. 25 Dayton Flyers (11-2, 1-0), 8 p.m. (CBSSN)

The Colonials and Rams should pick up easy wins against struggling squads. The Minutemen, however, will look to establish themselves as a factor in the conference race by knocking off the Flyers, who look to be the favorite early on. Last season, then-shorthanded Dayton lost by a bucket in Amherst.


Miami, Ohio RedHawks (6-7) at Bowling Green Falcons (9-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Toledo Rockets (9-4) at Ball State Cardinals (9-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Eastern Michigan Eagles (8-5) at Central Michigan Chippewas (7-6), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Ohio Bobcats (9-3) at Northern Illinois Huskies (11-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

After Akron and Kent State opened with wins last night, the rest of the MAC begins league play tonight with the 8 p.m. Eastern tip between the Bobcats and Huskies, two pleasant November and December surprises, the most intriguing of what should be a quartet of competitive games.

Evansville Purple Aces (13-2, 2-0) at Wichita State Shockers (8-5, 2-0), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Loyola of Chicago Ramblers (7-7, 0-2) at Illinois State Redbirds (8-7, 2-0), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Southern Illinois Salukis (13-2, 2-0) at Bradley Braves (2-13, 0-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

Look for the Redbirds, Salukis, and either the Purple Aces or Shockers to be in a three-way tie for the Valley lead at the end of the night. Evansville has won six straight, and can establish itself as a favorite if it can win at Koch Arena for the first time since 2013.

UNLV Runnin' Rebels (9-5, 0-1) at Colorado State Rams (8-6, 0-1), 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
San Jose State Spartans (5-9, 0-2) at San Diego State Aztecs (9-6, 2-0), 10 p.m. (ESPN3)
Nevada Wolf Pack (9-5, 1-1) at Fresno State Bulldogs (10-5, 1-1), 10 p.m. (MWN)

Either the Runnin' Rebels or Rams will be in an early 0-2 hole in the Mountain West race, which is a bigger problem for UNLV, considering it still has some semblance of an at-large chance. Elsewhere, SDSU should be able to stay a half-game up on both idle Boise State and New Mexico, while Fresno State will be challenged by the visiting Wolf Pack.

Viewing Picks

Your neutral-fan viewing priority for each window tonight.

Early Tips

Seton Hall at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
Duke at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Georgia Tech at Pitt, 7 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)
Florida at Tennessee, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Any of the three MAC games, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Rutgers at Maryland, 7 p.m. (BTN)
Missouri at Georgia, 6:30 p.m. (SECN)
George Washington at Saint Louis, 7 p.m. (FS Midwest/MASN2/FCSA)
La Salle at Fordham, 7 p.m. (Atlantic 10 Digital)
USF at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNEWS)

Mid-Evening Tips

Evansville at Wichita State, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
UMass at Dayton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
Ohio at Northern Illinois, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Loyola of Chicago at Illinois State, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
Texas A&M at Mississippi State, 8:30 p.m. (SECN)
Southern Illinois at Bradley, 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

Late Tips

Texas Tech at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Cal at Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Ohio State at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (BTN)
Stanford at Oregon State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
UNLV at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
Xavier at St. John's, 9 p.m. (FS1)
Nevada at Fresno State, 10 p.m. (MWN)
San Jose State at San Diego State, 10 p.m. (ESPN3)

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