After a mundane Monday in college basketball because of the BCS title game, Tuesday has some good ones on tap.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to our Top 25 (and one.)
Best game: No. 4 Baylor at No. 13 Kansas State (8 p.m., FSN Regional/ESPN3). Missouri had its unbeaten season ended when it visited Manhattan over the weekend; will Baylor suffer the same fate? Expect a defensive battle, with both teams ranking in the top 15 nationally in defensive efficiency. Can Jamar Samuels and Jordan Henriquez handle the likes of Perry Jones and Quincy Acy down low? On the other side, Baylor needs to take care of the ball against an opportunistic Kansas State defense that can force turnovers.
Second-best game: No. 7 Ohio State at Illinois (9 p.m., ESPN). This could be the game that Meyers Leonard shows whether he is a future lottery pick. He will be matched up with Jared Sullinger, and has to deal with his physicality. Illinois has been playing a ton of close games lately, but has emerged 3-1 in the Big Ten so far. The offense has been inconsistent, which could be a problem against Ohio State’s defense, which ranks No. 1 nationally in defensive efficiency. Brandon Paul needs to take care of the ball.
Another one to watch: Northern Iowa at No. 17 Creighton (9 p.m., ESPN3). The first task for Northern Iowa will be to slow down Doug McDermott, who is coming off a 44-point outing against Bradley over the weekend. The Panthers have won two in a row since dropping three in late December and early January. UNI needs to get out on Creighton’s 3-point shooters; the Panthers have been allowing too many open shots.
Guaranteed win: No. 18 San Diego State hasn’t played a Division-I team since December 22, and Tuesday’s meeting with 0-15 Chicago State (10 p.m., Mountain) will feel like more of the same. We’re assuming Chase Tapley, Jamaal Franklin and Co. won’t have much trouble dispatching of the Cougars.
Potential upset: South Carolina has won six of its last eight games, with the only losses coming to Ohio State and Kentucky. Vanderbilt comes into Columbia next (9 p.m., ESPNU). While the Commodores are won five in a row, if South Carolina can get the game at its pace and also get second chances offensively, the Gamecocks have a chance.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Right now, the ACC is looking like a three-bid league. Florida State and Virginia Tech have underwhelming profiles at this point, but the two face off on Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPNU). The winner gets the early edge in the at-large race.
- Louisville has lost three of its last four, but needs to bounce back when it trips to Providence (7 p.m., ESPN2), Rick Pitino’s old stomping grounds.
- The Missouri Valley is jumbled at the top right now, but Illinois State or Wichita State could create some separation when they battle tonight (8 p.m., COX-Kansas).
Photo: US Presswire