Today's Specials: Yet another top-five battle in the Big Ten

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
The battle between Branden Dawson and Christian Watford could be a factor on Tuesday night. (US Presswire)

After a slow Monday, Tuesday will really get the week rolling. There is yet another top-five matchup from the Big Ten, along with a statement game in the SEC. The Atlantic 10 race will also change by the end of Tuesday night, and several ACC bubble teams have chances to boost their resume.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.

Best game: No. 1 Indiana at No. 4 Michigan State (7 p.m., ESPN). Just another top-five battle from the Big Ten -- as we have seemingly every week. These two teams battled in late January, with Indiana sneaking out a five-point win on its home court. Since then, Michigan State hasn't lost, moving into the top five nationally and cementing itself as a Final Four threat. Victor Oladipo's health will be a factor, but it looks like he will play Tuesday night. Michigan State has to keep Indiana out of transition and also bang the Hoosiers down low.

Second-best game: No. 5 Florida at Missouri (9 p.m., ESPN). The first time these two teams played, Florida sent a major message to the rest of the SEC -- and the country -- with a 31-point demolition of the Tigers. With Missouri now healthy, will anything change? Laurence Bowers hasn't regained his consistency since coming back from an injury, but he needs to come up big against the Gators. Missouri's ability to get offensive rebounds will be a factor, as will its need to slow down Florida's perimeter shooting.

Another one to watch: No. 24 VCU at Saint Louis (9 p.m., CBS Sports). The top two teams in the Atlantic 10 battle for league supremacy -- and a major boost to the at-large resume. VCU has won five in a row since suffering back-to-back losses toward the end of January, while Saint Louis has rolled off seven victories in a row. Tempo will be a major factor in this one. Saint Louis needs to take care of the ball, and not allow VCU to get turnovers and transition baskets. On the other side, look for the rebounding battle to be a factor.

Guaranteed win: Stony Brook has opened up a 1.5-game lead in the America East, throttling second-place Vermont by 17 last Friday to send a message. Meanwhile, UMBC has won exactly one road game all year, against two-win Binghamton The Seawolves shouldn't have any trouble dispatching UMBC (7 p.m.) and taking a two-game lead with just three left.

Potential upset: There are a couple of interesting-looking upset possibilities on the docket for Tuesday. Indiana State won at Wichita State by 13 at the end of January and hasn't lost at home since Dec. 1 -- but is an underdog at home to the Shockers on Tuesday night (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Sycamores basically kicked away their at-large hopes with back-to-back bad road losses, but they could hurt Wichita State's chances with a win. Also, North Carolina -- fresh off its home win over Virginia -- could have trouble at Georgia Tech (9 p.m., ESPN3). The Yellow Jackets are actually 4-3 in the ACC since starting 0-5.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. How will Maryland follow up its big win over Duke? The Terrapins need to build off it and win at Boston College (9 p.m., ESPN3).
  2. Miami continues to fly undefeated in the ACC, but the Hurricanes get a visit from a Virginia team that could use another key win (9 p.m., ESPNU).
  3. The Big South race is starting to heat up, with all three teams at the top of the standings in action. First-place High Point visits VMI (7 p.m.); UNC-Asheville heads to Coastal Carolina (7 p.m.); and Charleston Southern hosts Presbyterian (7:30 p.m.).

Other games to watch:

-- Ranked teams

-- At-large implications

-- Conference races

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello

 
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