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College Hoops Viewing Guide For Thursday, December 29, 2016

Even more conferences, most notably the SEC and WCC, start their league schedules today.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas-Little Rock at Florida Kim Klement-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.

Big East Opener

No. 13 Butler Bulldogs (11-1) at St. John’s Red Storm (6-7), 7 p.m. (FS1)

The Bulldogs will hope to have an easier time in Jamaica, Queens than top-ranked Villanova had at home against lowly DePaul last night. The Wildcats won by just three, 68-65, and are joined in a four-way tie for first by Xavier (82-56 victors over Providence), 10th-ranked Creighton (89-75 over Seton Hall ), and Marquette (76-66 winners over Georgetown).

MVC Openers

Evansville Purple Aces (9-4) at Illinois State Redbirds (8-4), 8 p.m. (CSN Chicago Plus/ESPN3)
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (10-3) at Drake Bulldogs (2-10), 8 p.m. (MC-22/ESPN3)
Southern Illinois Salukis (7-6) at Bradley Braves (5-8), 8 p.m. (ESPN3)

Wichita State took down Indiana State by an 80-72 score in Terre Haute last night, while Northern Iowa trailed by 20 at one point against Missouri State—a hole that was too deep for the Panthers, who fell 68-64 in Cedar Falls. The Purple Aces-Redbirds showdown in Normal is the game to watch out of this trio, but don’t be surprised if Drake and Bradley make life difficult for Loyola and SIU.

SEC Openers

Georgia Bulldogs (8-4) at Auburn Tigers (10-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennessee Volunteers (7-5) at Texas A&M Aggies (8-3), 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats (10-2) at Ole Miss Rebels (9-3), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6) at LSU Tigers (8-3), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 25 Florida Gators (9-3) at Arkansas Razorbacks (11-1), 9 p.m. (SEC Network)

The 10 SEC participants in this season’s challenge series with the Big 12 open conference play today, and this lineup of games is rather intriguing. Florida’s trip to Arkansas stands out in particular, as both are among the select group that can challenge Kentucky. As for the Wildcats, they have to visit Oxford for the first time since 2014, and the Rebels have given UK some scares in recent seasons.

WCC Openers

Santa Clara Broncos (6-7) at BYU Cougars (9-4), 9 p.m. (BYU TV)
Pepperdine Waves (4-8) at No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-0), 9 p.m. (KHQ/ESPN3)
Portland Pilots (7-5) at Pacific Tigers (6-7), 10 p.m. (
San Diego Toreros (7-5) at San Francisco Dons (10-3), 10 p.m. (
No. 19 Saint Mary’s Gaels (10-1) at Loyola Marymount Lions (7-4), 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

Can any of the other eight squads challenge Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s for the league title? BYU and San Francisco seem to be best positioned, though I suspect the best the either can do is grab third place.

Conference play also begins for the Big Sky, Big South, Horizon (ESPN3), NEC, OVC, and Summit (which started with two games last night).

Non-Conference Games Of Note

Long Beach State 49ers (5-10) at Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5), 2 p.m. (ESPN3)

Two mids who really challenged themselves in non-conference play square off in Ypsilanti.

UMKC Kangaroos (7-7) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-3), 8 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Lipscomb Bison (6-9) Missouri Tigers (5-6), 8 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Stetson Hatters (6-8) at Alabama Crimson Tide (6-5), 8 p.m. (SEC Network+)

Three of the four SEC squads that will play a conference game on January 28th wrap up their non-league slates tonight—all have winnable home contests on the docket. The same cannot be said for the fourth, South Carolina, who visit Memphis on Friday night.

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