With the number of important games increasing on a nightly basis during conference play, we’ve decided to start a new daily feature: “Today’s Specials.” (Matt Norlander came up with the name, so if you hate it, hate him. I like it, personally.)
It will be a preview of the upcoming games that night, with a look at the top games and then a couple of lines about the rest of the contests to watch. Moreover, it will include television information for each game, so it’s your essential viewer’s guide. Be sure to add it to your daily schedule around 1 p.m.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to our Top 25 (and one.)
Best game: No. 26 West Virginia at Connecticut (7:00 p.m., ESPN2). It’s a light slate tonight because of the BCS title game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to this Big East clash. West Virginia is coming off a 12-point win over Georgetown on Saturday, after winning at Rutgers by 21 earlier in the week. Connecticut is mired in a slump, going 0-2 against Seton Hall and Rutgers. Shabazz Napier’s comments about the team’s leadership are somewhat troubling. It will be interesting to watch Kevin Jones go against the big men of UConn.
Second-best game: Cincinnati at No. 12 Georgetown (9:00 p.m., ESPNU). Some of the luster of this game was lost when both teams were dropped on Saturday, as they were two of the hottest teams in the conference heading into the weekend. Cincinnati fell on a last-second tip-in by Moe Harkless of St. John’s, while Georgetown was a victim of 22 points and 16 rebounds from West Virginia’s Kevin Jones. Will Cincinnati continue to go with its four-guard lineup? Can the Bearcats guard Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson on the wings?
Another one to watch: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (7:00 p.m., ESPNU): Oklahoma tries to bounce back after two straight losses to open conference play. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have been very inconsistent this season, and the schedule only gets more difficult after this in-state rivalry.
Guaranteed win: Idaho State is 1-7 on the road with just two Division-I wins all season. The Bengals also had their head coach resign after 10 games this season. Wyoming, meanwhile, is 10-0 at home and play lockdown defense. I’d be optimistic if I were the Cowboys (9:00 p.m.)
Potential upset: I’m stretching here, but I couldn’t leave a category empty for its first edition. Southern is 6-10 and playing at home, while Jackson State is only 3-12. Jenirro Bush and Kelsey Howard are a tough duo to stop, though. The Tigers could get a key road win early in SWAC play (5:30 p.m.).
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Morgan State head coach Todd Bozeman was suspended Sunday night after an incident involving senior guard Larry Bastfield. The Bears play at Savannah State (8:30 p.m.).
- Bethune-Cookman is atop the MEAC at 2-0, but North Carolina Central might be the most talented team in the league. They face off tonight (8:00 p.m.).
- San Francisco had a good non-conference stretch, but the Dons have struggled to open West Coast play. A trip to Saint Mary’s tonight (10:00 p.m., CSN California) is not the recipe for a bounce-back win.
Photo: US Presswire