Mississippi Valley State at #13 Michigan State
6:00pm || BTN+
This is a great tune up game for Michigan State: The Spartans have struggled to push the tempo against two superior opponents, and the Delta Devils love to run.
This is one to yawn at and move on from. Miles Bridges should dominate the paint and get the Spartans in the win column on the year.
Georgia State at #15 Purdue (-18)
6:00pm || BTN
The campus leg of the Cancun Challenge, this game pits strength vs strength. Jeremy Hollowell for Georgia State is going to challenge Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas inside.
On the whole, the Panthers (KP #168) don't do enough well to really test the Boilers but will allow them to rev up nicely for Cancun.
Michigan vs Southern Methodist (-1)
2K Classic, Madison Square Garden
6:00pm || ESPN2
A part of the 2k classic, this is one of the better games of the night as we’ll see D.J. Wilson take on Semi Ojeleye as they battle in the front court. The Mustangs have bounced back nicely from Larry Brown's abrupt resignation, as Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich took over seamlessly.
The Ponies don't play fast, but they play efficiently, much like Beilein’s club. The Wolverines are benefitting from the "rules emphasis" in place this year, and the free-flowing offense has played to Duncan Robinson and Wilson's strengths. If Michigan can win this game, they’ll be sitting a lot prettier than many thought they’d be doing this season.
Detroit Mercy at Illinois Fighting Illini (-20.5)
7:00pm || ESPN3
How bad is Mississippi Valley State that they can’t force MSU onto ESPN3? Oh, sorry, wrong game. This is a part of the NIT Pre-season kick off and Illinois will work its bench out early and often. Expect another big blowout by Illinois: the Titans (KP #269) love to run but are in the bottom third of the country in AdjO and AdjD.
St. John's at Minnesota (-6.5)
8:00pm || BTN
In one of the last games in the Gavitt Tipoff, Minnesota will look to keep its win streak going as they take on St. John’s. Chris Mullins’ Red Storm have relied on freshman guard Marcus LoVett, who is averaging 21 ppg and will test the Gophers’ backcourt.
The Gophers have benefitted from spreading the ball around and riding the hot hand from half to half. Keep watching Amir Coffey, who's going to make a quiet case for B1G Freshman of the Year. If Minnesota keeps its strong offensive production up, the Gophers take this one over a speedy but suspect St. John's offense.
Penn State at #1 Duke
Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off
11:30am || ESPN3
A part of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tipoff, this game will air during prime football watching and no one will even bother to tune in. Penn State is very young so this is a good game for them to get their feet wet to see what the elite competition looks like as the freshman begin to gel together. It may be rough but there will be learning moments and PSU may start making noise in a year or so.
Liberty at #6 Indiana
6:00pm || BTN+
Most likely a casualty to football viewing, this game won’t be on any TV/Internet streaming that is being listed. Another game in the "Indiana Classic", which should just be named come watch us blowout cupcakes at home, Indiana will get that bench workout going. The most likely outcome is a normal first half of playing time with the bench taking over completely at the Under 16 TO in the second half.
Louisiana Tech at Nebraska
7pm || ESPN3
A Louisiana Tech team that took South Carolina late will be a good test for Nebraska, but Tai Webster should be enough to will them to a win.
The Bulldogs (KP #155) are an up-tempo team who get out and play fast, with Jacobi Boykins leading an offense with four players scoring at least 12 ppg, but the Huskers’ defense (KP #66) has the physicality to get it done.
Niagara at Rutgers
11am || BTN
Copying Indiana, Rutgers has another game in the "Scarlet Knight Classic", which unfortunately for them isn’t as easy as it is for Indiana. This is a game that Rutgers should win and provides another tune up where Corey Sanders can try to shoot himself out of the 31% FG% hole he’s in.
There hasn’t been a 3 win start since WWII for Rutgers, and we shudder to ask when the last time a 4 win streak to start occurred. Steve Pikiell has the Knights in good form, though, and the Purple Eagles (KP #315) are bad. Look for Rutgers to make it 4 straight.
Towson at Maryland
1:00pm || ESPN3
A campus game for the Barclays Center Classic, Maryland takes on the in-state Towson Tigers. Towson has two very good players in Mike Morsell and Arnaud William Adala Moto but they also score 57% of their points so far this year, which is not a recipe for success.
Maryland will continue to get the ball inside to exploit the height and length advantage they’ll have but look for Mark Turgeon to green light all shooters to get them out of this 3 point shooting funk, particularly Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley and Melo Trimble. This game shouldn’t present too much of a challenge past the first 10-15 minutes but then again the American game shouldn’t have either.
UT Rio Grande Valley at Iowa
4:30pm || BTN+
Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one who just gave a collective shrug at whoever it is that Iowa is playing. (It's the former UT-Pan American.) This is an opening game of the Emerald Coast Classic, so thankfully not a game that Iowa directly scheduled, for good reason: the Vaqueros are the 5th-worst team in college basketball, per Kenpom.
Iowa will bounce back from a tough loss to Seton Hall thanks to Peter Jok, who should be able to single handedly carry them to victory.