|Can Pittsburgh's Tray Woodall hold his own against Michigan star Trey Burke? (US Presswire)|
While everyone else winds down the workweek for Thanksgiving, college basketball isn't taking a break. In fact, there are some prime-time battles in the NIT Season Tip-Off and Maui Invitational.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.
Best game: Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 Michigan (9:30 p.m., ESPN2). This one could be closer than the rankings indicate. Pittsburgh has a ton of talent, but was a disappointment last season. Talib Zanna has been a key early, while J.J. Moore is providing scoring from the wing. Michigan has been impressive so far, and the freshmen trio of Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas has been solid. Can Tray Woodall handle Trey Burke at the point guard spot?
Second-best game: Iowa vs. Wichita State (9:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network). One team will be coming out of this game with a 6-0 record -- and some serious momentum heading into the holiday weekend. Iowa has defeated mostly cupcakes, while Wichita State owns wins over VCU and DePaul. It should be more of a defensive battle, with the inside play of Iowa's Aaron White and Wichita State's Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early being the difference.
Another one to watch: Butler vs. Illinois (10 p.m., ESPN). Not sure most people expected this to be the final of the Maui Invitational, but here we are after Illinois' smooth road and Butler's buzzer-beater against Marquette and domination of North Carolina. The backcourt battle will be fun, with Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams going against Rotnei Clarke, Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones. Khyle Marshall could be the difference.
Potential upset: One of the best under-the-radar games Wednesday is an in-state showdown between Colorado State and Denver (9 p.m., ROOT). Colorado State reached the Big Dance last season, and could get back. Denver has an underrated forward in Chris Udofia.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Delaware knocked off Virginia in Charlottesville to get to Madison Square Garden for the first time. The Blue Hens face Kansas State in one semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off (7 p.m., ESPNU).
- Princeton could be the Ivy League favorite, and the Tigers won't be a pushover for No. 6 Syracuse (7 p.m., Big East Network).
- Off in Maui, Marquette and USC (5 p.m., ESPN2) look to come out of Hawaii with two wins, while Texas is hoping to avoid a winless start against Mississippi State (2:30 p.m., ESPNU).