Today's Specials: Pitt and Michigan square off at MSG
Thanksgiving Eve is a night for college kids to reunite in their hometowns, but college basketball players aren't going anywhere.
|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 Panthers vs. No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (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 Hawkeyes vs. Wichita State Shockers (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 Bulldogs vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (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.
Guaranteed win: The Ryan Harrow saga gets more vague by the day, with the point guard now going home to deal with family issues. Kentucky Wildcats won’t need him against Morehead State Eagles (7 p.m., ESPN3).
Potential upset: One of the best under-the-radar games Wednesday is an in-state showdown between Colorado State Rams and Denver Pioneers (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 Fightin' Blue Hens knocked off Virginia in Charlottesville to get to Madison Square Garden for the first time. The Blue Hens face Kansas State Wildcats in one semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off (7 p.m., ESPNU).
- Princeton Tigers could be the Ivy League favorite, and the Tigers won’t be a pushover for No. 6 Syracuse Orange (7 p.m., Big East Network).
- Off in Maui, Marquette Golden Eagles and Southern California Trojans (5 p.m., ESPN2) look to come out of Hawaii with two wins, while Texas Longhorns is hoping to avoid a winless start against Mississippi State Bulldogs (2:30 p.m., ESPNU).
Marvin Bagley, if eligible at Duke this season, projects as the country's top power forwar...
The Big Ten Tournament is a week earlier than usual, so the regular-season schedule may look...
Arizona, Grand Canyon and Tulane are also in Barcelona and have reported to be accounted for...
The Kansas forward is no longer accused of walking out on an $88 tab
Cavaliers basketball coach tapes statement on behalf of his university and his city
Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander discuss all things Marvin Bagley and his immediate future