You can thank the Big Ten and ACC for much of this week's entertainment.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge officially kicked off yesterday with the Big Ten making an early statement, as Rutgers won at Clemson and Nebraska won at Florida State.
The action continues tonight with a few more marquee match-ups, as well as a few games involving teams from other conferences.
Pittsburgh (3-2) at Indiana (5-1) 7PM, Bloomington, IN, ESPN2
This one is interesting. We all know the story at Indiana. Crean's under fire. The Hoosiers started strong with a win versus SMU. But, then they lost at home to Eastern Washington and SMU's star has since diminished. In other words, Indiana needs this win. Pitt started off shaky, but seemed to put it all together for the first time in their 70-47 win over Kansas State in Maui. Prediction: Pitt 72, Indiana 69.
Massachusetts (5-2) at LSU (4-2) 7PM, Baton Rouge, LA, SECN
Here's a slightly under the radar game between two likely future bubble inhabitants. So, both could really use this win. UMass is the more tested of the two, but is coming off a loss at Harvard. LSU has no reputable wins to date and has a bad loss to Clemson on its docket. Prediction: LSU 68, UMass 63.
#23 Syracuse (5-1) at #13 Michigan (4-1) 7:30PM, Ann Arbor, MI, ESPN
The Cuse is a work in progress with a young and relatively untested squad. Though the competition level left something to be desired, they seemed to make some strides in blowout wins over Loyola, MD and Holy Cross. Michigan looks like it's business as usual under John Beilein, based on their strong performance in Brooklyn last week. Prediction: Michigan 74, Syracuse 67.
#24 VCU (4-2) at Illinois State (3-2) 8PM, Normal, IL, ESPNFC
Another sneaky important game here. VCU needs a win, after getting smacked down by Villanova in Brooklyn and losing at ODU over the weekend. Illinois State, out of the Missouri Valley, has been solid. They hung with Seton Hall in a 4-point loss and beat the aforementioned ODU. Prediction: VCU 70, Ill St 66.
#21 Illinois (6-0) at #15 Miami (7-0) 9PM, Coral Gables, FL, ESPN2
Two undefeateds go at it in this one and it should be one of the night's best games. Miami has looked good with the addition of transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, but their best win, versus Florida, looked a lot better a couple weeks ago. Illinois hasn't had much in the way of competition either, but they were impressive in beating Baylor last week and possess lots of talent. Prediction: Miami 74, Illinois 71.
NC State (6-0) at Purdue (5-1) 9PM, West Lafayette, IN, ESPNU
This is a match-up between two teams who weren't supposed to do much this season, but have started out impressively. Purdue has ridden the backs of their twin towers, AJ Hammons and Isaac Haas. NC State has been paced by Alabama transfer, Trevor Lacey. Prediction: Purdue 68, NC St 64.
#14 Ohio State (5-0) at #3 Louisville (5-0) 9:30PM, Louisville, KY, ESPN
This is the game of the night in perception and probably reality. The Buckeyes have yet to play anyone of note, so it may take them awhile to adjust to tonight's competition. Louisville's biggest test thus far was opening night versus Lil' Richie (Richard Pitino) and Minnesota, although Cleveland State gave them all they could handle in route to Rick Pitino's 700th win. Prediction: Louisville 67, Ohio State 62.
Other games of note...
Minnesota (3-2) at Wake Forest (4-3) 7PM, Winston-Salem, NC, ESPNU
Stephen F. Austin (2-3) at Memphis (2-2) 7PM, Memphis, TN, ESPNNews
South Florida (4-1) at Alabama (4-1) 9PM, Tuscaloosa, AL, SECN
BYU (3-2) at Utah State (3-2) 9PM, Logan, UT, CBSS
Other Top 25 Games:
Lamar (1-4) at #22 Iowa State (3-1) 8PM, Ames, IA
Texas Arlington (3-3) at #6 Texas (6-0) 8PM, Austin, TX, LHN
Gardner-Webb (2-3) at #5 Arizona (6-0) 9PM, Tucson, AZ, P12N
SE Louisiana (1-5) at #7 Gonzaga (5-0) 9PM, Spokane, WA, ROOT