Here is what to know in college basketball for Tuesday, Dec. 11:
Mississippi State at Cincinnati (7 p.m. ET) is the first real test for the undefeated Bulldogs. Ben Howland has this crew flying way under the radar in an SEC that has had as much positive press during non-conference play as it has received in quite some time. But the Bulldogs arrive to play the Bearcats at a time when Cincinnati desperately needs to re-establish its identity this season after an out-of-character two-game losing streak.
Sure, it was against Xavier on the road and Florida on a neutral court in New Jersey. Still, Cronin’s teams don’t slide. The Bearcats have a huge week on tap with this game and a road trip to UCLA. The Bearcats need to get back to being the defensive team that Mick Cronin preaches. The Bulldogs have had balance this season on the offensive end, but it’s still hard to fully judge this crew until after this game.
Columbia at Boston College (7 p.m. ET)? How did this game make the list? Well, the Lions are more than capable of giving BC fits, even at 1-9. Five of their nine losses are within six points, including the game at UConn. But this is exactly the type of game the Eagles MUST win and play well in after beating No. 1 Duke. You don’t lose a game like this if you want staying power. Playing this type of game after a win of the magnitude of Duke tends to be one of the harder games for a coach to motivate for since the crowd won’t be a juiced as it was for the Blue Devils. BC will have to create and sustain its own energy.
San Diego at Colorado (8 p.m. ET) is in a familiar territory as Columbia-BC. The Buffaloes got smashed at Xavier. How do they turn things back to where they were prior to that game? Beat a solid WCC team that has surpassed some expectations. The Toreros are 7-2 with true road wins over New Mexico State, Grand Canyon and San Jose State. This will be a good test for the Buffaloes in a number of ways. Colorado has to get back to defending the way it can and should against opponents that are perceived to be a tad lower in skill level.
Michigan at Texas (9 p.m. ET) pops up on the national radar as a golden opportunity for both teams. The Wolverines played one of their best games of the season when they beat Indiana and then they held off UCLA at home in overtime as Mo Wagner and Charles Matthews lifted Michigan. Picking up a true road win would enhance the team's overall resume and help the Big Ten, which has suddenly taken a bit of a hit lately. The Longhorns had a terrific win at VCU, but the injury to Andrew Jones (fractured wrist) means Texas is without its top scorer and will put even more emphasis on an inside game that has held up to its preseason hype. The Longhorns will have to exploit that advantage even more without Jones.
Albany at Memphis (9 p.m. ET) in a Gotham Classic campus game should be of note because the Great Danes can score at a high clip and have only one loss this season. But as noted on Monday in the weekly honors, the Great Danes have been playing a regional schedule devoid of power type schools so far. Now comes a rebuilding Memphis, a team that could be ripe for a tough game against an upstart lower level team. Memphis has to be ready to defend to beat one of the America East’s top teams.
.@TheAndyKatz looks at @Memphis_MBB in his #GothamClassic presented by @Ticket_IQ preview series. After tonight's game with Albany, Memphis will tip-off with @LouisvilleMBB in the Showcase Game on Saturday at @TheGarden.— Gotham Classic (@GothamClassic) December 12, 2017
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