Viewer's Guide: Showdown in NYC between Memphis and Florida

Scottie Wilbekin had 18 points and six assists against Kansas in an impressive Florida win. (USATSI)
Scottie Wilbekin had 18 points and six assists against Kansas in an impressive Florida win. (USATSI)

Monday was a very quiet night of hoops, although Grambling made headlines by winning for the first time in 33 games. There are no ridiculously long losing streaks to be snapped on Tuesday – but there is a top-25 matchup at the top of the schedule, along with a host of solid games.

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

Best game: No. 16 Florida vs. No. 15 Memphis (9 p.m., ESPN). This should be a good one. Florida is starting to come together, as the Gators beat Kansas last week after getting Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill back from ankle sprains. Freshman Chris Walker began practicing over the weekend, but he is not going to play on Tuesday. Memphis has rebounded nicely from its early-season embarrassment at Oklahoma State – including beating the Cowboys (and LSU) at the Old Spice Classic. It will be interesting to see if Florida pulls out its 1-3-1 zone again; Memphis can struggle taking care of the ball. The pace of the game will be something to monitor, too – can Memphis get out in transition and not have to face the Gators in a half-court set?

Second-best game: Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati (7 p.m., ESPN). Both teams will be looking to prove something in New York City on Tuesday. Pittsburgh is doing its usual Pittsburgh thing, getting off to a hot start in non-conference play without really playing anyone. A win over Cincinnati could help legitimatize the 10-0 start. On the other side, the Bearcats are on a two-game losing streak and need to figure it out offensively. They are relying far too heavily on Sean Kilpatrick at that end of the floor. Defensively, the biggest key for Cincinnati will be boxing out the Panthers – they thrive on second-chance opportunities and have a slew of hard-nosed guys.

Another one to watch: No. 11 Wichita State at Alabama (9 p.m., ESPNU). After Wichita State beat Tennessee on Saturday, the Shockers are starting to see their stock rise once again. They are now 10-0 – but a road trip to Tuscaloosa isn’t a cakewalk. Alabama has been up and down, although the Crimson Tide have lost to their four best opponents. The key for Anthony Grant’s team will be keeping Wichita State off the glass and off the free-throw line. Offensively, Trevor Releford will have to take care off the ball and get the Tide into good offense. Nothing is fun against the Wichita State defense.

Guaranteed win: Delaware State at No. 7 Oklahoma State (8 p.m.). Oklahoma State shook off its loss to Memphis with back-to-back wins over South Carolina and Louisiana Tech, and the Cowboys probably won’t get caught looking ahead to Saturday’s neutral-court showdown with Colorado. Delaware State hasn’t beaten a D-I team yet this season, although four of the Hornets’ last five defeats were by 10 points or fewer.

Potential upset: Manhattan at South Carolina (7 p.m.). First thing to notice about this matchup is the fact South Carolina has played only five games this season. Seems low. Anyway, Manhattan has the pieces to win the MAAC – and the Jaspers are riding a four-game winning streak into Columbia. A win over the Gamecocks could give them a ton of confidence going forward. George Beamon needs to have a big day.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Toledo looks to improve to 10-0 with a road game at Arkansas State (8 p.m.). This won’t be easy, as the Rockets have won their three road games by a combined eight points.
  2. This is just weird to me. Incarnate Word played Open Bible on Monday, and won. Now the two play again on Tuesday (8 p.m.).
  3. No. 6 Louisville will get point guard Chris Jones back after he missed Saturday’s game with a sprain wrist. The Cardinals host Missouri State (9 p.m., ESPN2). 

Other games to watch:

  • North Florida at No. 5 Michigan State (7 p.m., Big Ten Network)
  • Florida Gulf Coast at South Florida (7 p.m., ESPNU)
  • Charlotte at Florida State (7 p.m., ESPN3)
  • St. Bonaventure at Wake Forest (7 p.m., ESPN3)
  • Elon at Georgetown (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
  • Yale at Providence (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
  • New Mexico State at New Mexico (9 p.m., ESPN3)
  • UC Irvine at No. 13 Oregon (10:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
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