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College Hoops Viewing Guide For Friday, December 30, 2016

The Big 12, Atlantic 10, and the Pac-12’s Bay Area and Arizona schools jump into the league fray today.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Oregon Scott Olmos-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.

Atlantic 10 Openers

St. Bonaventure Bonnies (8-4) at UMass Minutemen (10-3), 4 p.m. (Atlantic10.com)
La Salle Explorers (6-4) at Dayton Flyers (9-3), 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Rhode Island Rams (8-4) at Saint Louis Billikens (4-8), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
George Washington Colonials (8-5) at Saint Joseph’s Hawks (6-5), 7 p.m. (CSN Philadelphia/Mid-Atlantic Plus)
Duquesne Dukes (7-6) at Fordham Rams (6-7), 7 p.m. (Atlantic10.com)
VCU Rams (10-3) at George Mason Patriots (10-3), 8 p.m. (CBSSN)

Everyone but Davidson Wildcats and Richmond Spiders (who meet tomorrow at Belk Arena) tips off their respective Atlantic 10 campaigns today. The last game on the list, featuring disappointing VCU and surprising GMU in Fairfax is the highlight. Note that the Rams dropped a seven-point decision at EagleBank Arena on February 24th—one of just five Patriot conference wins last season.

Big 12 Openers

No. 11 West Virginia Mountaineers (11-1) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2), 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Texas Tech Red Raiders (11-1) at Iowa State Cyclones (8-3), 6 p.m. (ESPNews)
No. 4 Baylor Bears (12-0) at Oklahoma Sooners (6-5), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Texas Longhorns (6-6) at Kansas State Wildcats (11-1), 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (11-1) at TCU Horned Frogs (11-1), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

Did you know that eight of the 10 Big 12 squads rank in KenPom’s Top 40? And that Texas and Oklahoma are not among them? Of course, for K-State, TCU, and Texas Tech, the real question will be whether they can remain at such a lofty level over the next 10 weeks or so.

The most intriguing game on this list for me is the first, which features Brad Underwood’s first Big 12 encounter against former boss Bob Huggins, with the new Oklahoma State coach having earned the gig partially due to his Stephen F. Austin team’s win over the WVU in the NCAA First Round back in March.

Texas Tech and TCU can make statements of their own by winning at Iowa State and in Fort Worth over mighty Kansas, respectively.

Big Ten

Northwestern Wildcats (12-2, 1-0) at Michigan State Spartans (9-5, 1-0), 6 p.m. (BTN)

While Michigan and Ohio State won’t start conference play until the calendar turns over to 2017, either the Wildcats or Spartans will move to 2-0 in the Big Ten today. This might be the best shot Northwestern will ever have to win at the Breslin Center, but the Spartans will surely be more confident following Tuesday’s OT win at Minnesota.

Horizon Opener

Valparaiso Crusaders (10-3) at UIC Flames (7-6), 5 p.m. (ESPNU)

Alec Peters and the Horizon favorites head west to UIC Pavilion to take on a Flames squad that’s improving, but limited due to Dikembe Dixson’s knee injury.

Pac-12

Arizona State Sun Devils (7-6) at Stanford Cardinal (8-4), 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National/Arizona/Bay Area)
No. 22 USC Trojans (14-0, 1-0) at No. 21 Oregon Ducks (12-2, 1-0), 10 p.m. (FS1)
No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (11-2) at California Golden Bears (9-3), 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 2 UCLA Bruins (13-1, 0-1) at Oregon State Beavers (4-10, 0-1), 11 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks National/LA/Oregon)

Again, either USC or Oregon will move to 2-0 in the league before the Washington and Mountain schools take the floor for their league play-opening rivalry matchups on Sunday. If the Ducks can follow up their Wednesday win over UCLA by knocking the Trojans from the ranks of the undefeated, they might just be in position to reclaim the title of ‘Pac-12 favorite.’ Meanwhile, the Bruins will attempt to rebound by sending Oregon State to a second straight defeat (and seventh in their last eight).

Last season, the Arizona schools went 1-3 in their Bay Area swing, with the only win being Arizona’s over Stanford. They’ll look for better results tonight, though only the Wildcats may be posed to get there.

You can also check out streaming league openers from the Big Sky and Patriot League on this unusually busy Friday.

Non-Conference Games Of Note

South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) at Memphis Tigers (9-4), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Tigers have a bye in American Athletic Conference action this weekend, so they welcome the Gamecocks, sitting out this SEC window due to their omission from the challenge with the Big 12, to FedEx Forum. Last season, the Gamecocks won in Columbia by an 86-76 count, though the late non-conference win didn’t help their NCAA hopes.

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