Here is what to know in college basketball for Thursday, Feb. 1:
Game of the night
Creighton at Villanova, 6:30 p.m. ET, FS1: The Big East continues to deliver offensive matchups. The Bluejays will get in a shootout with Villanova, but they’ve got to do a better job of being locked in on the road. Save the game at St. John’s, the Bluejays have been rocked in the previous two road games at Providence and at Xavier. Both of these teams are having to learn how to play without a key offensive player. But they have adapted. Expect the Wildcats to win, but Creighton can certainly push Nova.
Welcome to PhilyWichita State at Temple, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2: Wichita State catches Temple on its first trip to Philadelphia just as the Owls are playing their best basketball since November when they beat Old Dominion, Auburn and Clemson to start the season. Temple bounced back from the 33-point loss at Cincinnati to pound UConn by 22. The Shockers erased their two-game AAC losing skid with home wins over UCF and Tulsa. If Wichita State still has visions of catching Cincinnati, a win at Temple would certainly help. The Owls have some really good wins, and could be a team that makes a deep conference tournament run in Orlando.
Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, 8 p.m. ET: Middle Tennessee, ODU and Western Kentucky all have one loss. And they all have the goods to possibly win a first-round NCAA tournament game. But the only one of the three that could possibly get in as an at-large is Western Kentucky with wins over Purdue and SMU on a neutral court. Unfortunately in the unbalanced scheduling, this is the only meeting between ODU and Middle Tennessee. MTSU still plays Western a second time at home after beating the Hilltoppers on the road. ODU already lost to Western Kentucky and plays the Hilltoppers one more time on the road later this month.
The need for consistency
SMU at Tulsa, 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network: SMU had a shot to be on a serious roll heading into this game but lost at UConn last week. The Mustangs rebounded to beat ECU but the Mustangs could use more road wins to make up for a three-game slide earlier in the season. The problem is the road is daunting with this game and then one at Houston next week. A split is almost a necessity. Tulsa has struggled, losing five of their last six. The AAC needs SMU to go on a run here to ensure a fourth team (book Cincinnati, Wichita State and Houston in the tourney).
Will the real Sun Devils stand up
Arizona State at Washington, 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12: Arizona State hasn’t won two in a row in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils were the most exciting offensive team in the non-conference with the ability to rain down 3s and get to the rack. The Huskies will zone ASU, which could work in the Sun Devils’ favor but only if ASU can actually get back to making big shots. Washington has won four of its last six and is more than capable of picking up critical wins to make the Pac-12 tournament quite interesting.