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College Hoops Viewing Guide For Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Four of the nation’s remaining unbeatens open conference play tonight.

NCAA Basketball: American U. at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This list of games is not exhaustive by design. For a full schedule and more specific information about coverage—particularly for ACC RSN, ASN, CSN, and FSN games—visit Matt’s College Sports on TV Website.

If you’re only able to listen today, check out TuneIn’s college basketball lineup.

All times are Eastern, adjust accordingly.

American Athletic Openers

Houston Cougars (9-3) at UConn Huskies (5-6), 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
USF Bulls (6-5) at East Carolina Pirates (8-5), 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
UCF Knights (9-3) at Tulane Green Wave (3-9), 8 p.m. (ASN/ESPN3)
No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) at Temple Owls (9-4), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

These eight squads all want to keep pace with early leader SMU (11-3), who picked up a 58-54 road win at Memphis (9-4) on Tuesday night. The bookends of this quartet are the most intriguing, as both UConn and Houston have a lot of work to do to earn a bid thanks to their respective non-conference results, while a good, but inconsistent Temple squad will provide a nice early test for a Cincy team that looks to be a rather overwhelming conference favorite here in late December.

Tulsa, fourth-place finisher in the Diamond Head Classic, is the lone member of the 11-team American Athletic Conference to not open conference play in this midweek window.

ACC Openers

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-3) at No. 20 Florida State Seminoles (12-1), 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers (10-1) at No. 6 Louisville Cardinals (11-1), 7p.m. (ESPN2)

While the majority of the ACC’s 15 members will begin conference play on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, this quartet gets a jump on everyone else. By grabbing a surprising road win in Tallahassee, the Demon Deacons can start establishing themselves as NCAA contenders. In game two, Louisville will attempt to solve a Virginia squad that’s largely had its number in the pair’s short history as conference rivals. The Cardinals have just won once in four ACC meetings, with the Cavaliers sweeping last season’s series in rather convincing fashion.

Big East Openers

DePaul Blue Demons (7-6) at No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (12-0), 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Providence Friars (10-3) at No. 17 Xavier Musketeers (10-2), 7 p.m. (FSN)
Seton Hall Pirates (10-2) at No. 10 Creighton Bluejays (12-0), 8 p.m. (FS2)
Georgetown Hoyas (8-4) at Marquette Golden Eagles (9-3), 8:30 p.m. (FS1)

The Big East’s two undefeated squads face different levels of opposition in their league openers—Nova should cruise to a 13th win, while Creighton will be challenged by the defending conference tournament champs. Seton Hall defeated the Jays twice last season, but Creighton won the early meeting in Omaha. Elsewhere, Xavier will look to get past a Providence squad that lost at Boston College last time out and Georgetown and Marquette will each look to pick up a win that could be a useful tiebreaker come March.

Butler and St. John’s start their conference campaigns tomorrow night in Queens.

Big Ten Openers

Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-6) at No. 16 Indiana Hoosiers (10-2), 6:30 p.m. (BTN)
Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5) at No. 15 Purdue Boilermakers (11-2), 8:30 p.m. (BTN)

Tuesday’s quartet of Big Ten openers lacked drama through the lineup’s first three quarters, as Northwestern (12-2) (at Penn State (8-6)), Maryland Terrapins (13-1) (home victors over disappointing Illinois (10-4)), and Wisconsin Badgers (12-2) (also at home over Rutgers (11-3)) cruised. Then Michigan State‘s (9-5) road game at Minnesota (12-2) happened. And in a script all too familiar to Golden Gopher fans, the Spartans overturned a 13-point halftime advantage to force overtime, where MSU prevailed 75-74.

Tonight, the two ranked hosts should be able to hold serve against a pair of squads that struggled throughout the non-conference season. Michigan and Ohio State will start Big Ten play over the weekend.

MVC Openers

Wichita State Shockers (10-3) at Indiana State Sycamores (6-6), 7 p.m. (Cox-Kansas/FS Midwest/CSN Chicago Plus/ESPN3)
Missouri State Bears (9-4) at Northern Iowa Panthers (5-6), 9 p.m. (MVC TV/FS Midwest/CSN Chicago Plus/ESPN3)

Four of the Valley’s 10 teams open their conference seasons tonight, with both of the league’s 2016 NCAA squads in action. Wichita State heads to Terre Haute, where they last lost to Indiana State back in 2008. UNI, which has lost six of its last eight, needs to turn things around fast—and a home game against Missouri State might be just what the Panthers’ doctor ordered.

MW Openers

Boise State Broncos (7-4) at Utah State Aggies (7-5), 9 p.m. (Root Sports)
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4) at New Mexico Lobos (7-5), 9 p.m. (ESPN3)
Air Force Falcons (7-6) at Wyoming Cowboys (10-3), 9 p.m. (MWN)
San José State Spartans (7-4) at Nevada Wolf Pack (11-2), 10 p.m. (MWN)
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (7-6) at Colorado State Rams (8-5), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

With only the Mountain West Tournament winner likely to earn a bid (keep an eye on Nevada, however), the jockeying for seeding in Las Vegas begins tonight.

Diamond Head Classic champ San Diego State, the 11th Mountain West team, won’t start league play until this weekend.

Pac-12 Openers

No. 2 UCLA Bruins (13-0) at No. 21 Oregon Ducks (11-2), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 22 USC Trojans (13-0) at Oregon State Beavers (4-9), 11 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National/LA/Oregon)

The two other unbeatens in action tonight will both take the court in the state of Oregon, with UCLA facing the biggest challenge in remaining perfect. The Bruins visit a Duck squad that would love to take the role of Pac-12 Favorite back.

Non-Conference Action Of Note

UMass Minutemen (9-3) at Georgia State Panthers (7-4), 2 p.m. (ESPN3)

This isn’t too bad of a matchup to tune in to if you’re a bit bored on this Wednesday afternoon.

Monmouth Hawks (10-2) at No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Rider Broncs (8-4) at North Carolina State Wolfpack (10-2), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)
Saint Peter’s Peacocks (5-6) at No. 24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)
UNCW Seahawks (11-1) at Clemson Tigers (9-2), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)
Columbia Lions (4-5) at Miami Hurricanes (9-2), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)
Marshall Thundering Herd (7-5) at Pittsburgh Panthers (10-2), 7 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)
North Carolina A&T Aggies (1-11) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-4), 7:30 p.m. (ACC Network Plus)

While four ACC teams open conference play tonight, seven others wrap up their non-league slates. Clemson and Pitt face the sternest challenges—with UNCW being a particularly dangerous opponent for the Tigers—while King Rice takes his Monmouth squad to his alma mater with the hope that they can pull off a résumé-anchoring upset.

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