|Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim goes for milestone win No. 900 on Monday night. (US Presswire)|
With finals week out of the way, it's time to get back to a somewhat normal college basketball schedule. Most of the marquee games will have to wait until the weekend, but at least there are some competitive hoops to watch! A handful of ranked teams are in action on Monday.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: Detroit at No. 4 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN2). Heading into the year, this game looked like a potentially close game. With Detroit winning four in a row, can it end up being tight? The Titans started 2-4 but have turned it around -- including a win over Akron on Saturday. Syracuse, meanwhile, is off to a 9-0 start with only one of the victories coming by single digits. The matchup to watch in this one could be at the point guard spot, where Michael Carter-Williams takes on Ray McCallum. The bigger moment here? A win on Monday night would be Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim's 900th victory.
Second-best game: No. 20 UNLV at UTEP (8 p.m., CBS Sports). The most interesting part of this game will be the debut of Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch, who is eligible to play for UNLV on Monday night. How will he fit into the Runnin' Rebels' frontcourt rotation? On the other side, UTEP has won two in a row and does have the size to compete with UNLV. Julian and Chris Washburn must come up big for the Miners. Slowing the tempo down is also a major key for UTEP; UNLV wants to push the ball.
Another one to watch: USC Upstate at Baylor (8 p.m.). Baylor continues to look for consistency this season; the Bears have alternated wins and losses since mid-November. On Monday night, they will need to take away the production of USC Upstate forward Torrey Craig, one of the more difficult matchups in the Atlantic Sun. The Spartans have won three of their last four games. To pull the upset, USC Upstate has to hold its own on the glass and also find ways to get easy points at the free-throw stripe -- something it hasn't done this year.
Guaranteed win: Connecticut has slowed down since knocking off Michigan State in the season opener, and it hasn't played in 10 days. The Huskies host winless Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday night (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Hawks have not even played an opponent to a single-digit loss this season -- that probably won't start against the Huskies.
Potential upset: This is going out on a limb, but I think Texas State's visit to Northwestern on Monday could be closer than expected (7 p.m., Big Ten Network). The Bobcats play up-tempo and will look to run and gun past the Wildcats. Moreover, this is the first game that Northwestern will be playing since star Drew Crawford was announced out for the season.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Georgia Tech gets a nice perimeter boost on Monday, as freshman Solomon Poole will be able to play against Alabama State (7 p.m., ESPN3).
- Another team that makes an addition on Monday is No. 12 Missouri, which will have guard Jabari Brown eligible after transferring from Oregon. The Tigers play South Carolina State (8 p.m., ESPN3).
- The other Top 25 team in action on Monday is No. 22 Notre Dame, which hosts IPFW (7 p.m., ESPNU).