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A game a day for the 2016-17 season: January

November 9, 2016 Columns No Comments

We continue our look at our favorite games for every day of the season, our ultimate dream road trip through an entire college basketball season.

To refresh: in some cases they’re the biggest matchup of the day, in others they may be what we think will be the best game for any reason, whether it be competitiveness, rivalry, atmosphere, etc. We started on Monday with November, continued with December on Tuesday, and today we move into January:

Jan. 1: UAB at Middle Tennessee State. The new year starts with a matchup between perhaps the top two teams in Conference USA, winners in each of the last two NCAA tourneys (UAB in 2015, MTSU last year) and both capable of competing for an NCAA berth again this year. This is a game worthy of national television, and it’s an example of how poorly this sport handles TV coverage that Penn State against Rutgers will be on nationally this day but this one will not. Honorable mention: Michigan at Iowa


Jan. 2: Lehigh at Boston University. The Big Football conferences take the day after New Year’s off, so we’re off to the Patriot League, where Tim Kempton and the Mountain Hawks are the favorites but face a tough opener on the road against solid BU, which should be in the hunt in the Patriot again. Honorable mention: Monmouth at St. Peter’s

Jan. 3: Wisconsin at Indiana. An early Big Ten showdown has the Badgers with a serious road test, and their first of two straight tough ones in the state of Indiana. Honorable mention: Dayton at St. Bonaventure

Jan. 4: Virginia at Pittsburgh. All kinds of good ones in the ACC this night. We’ll head here to see how Kevin Stallings is doing in his first year in the conference. The Panthers should be more offensive-minded this year, and here they face UVA’s tough defense. Honorable mention: Long Beach State at UC Irvine as the Black and Blue Rivalry resumes

Jan. 5: Purdue at Ohio State. Some are touting the Buckeyes for a big year with the return of five starters. We’re not so sure, but our minds could be changed with wins in games like this. Honorable mention: Fairleigh Dickinson at Wagner in a battle of the NEC’s top two entering the season

Jan. 6: Iona at Monmouth. After the entertainment on the court and the heat between these two last year, the MAAC meetings between these teams are the definition of must-watch this season. Honorable mention: Rhode Island at Dayton

Jan. 7: Cincinnati at Houston. The first Saturday of January is a busy one but fairly mediocre as far as marquee matchups. Don’t be surprised if the gritty Bearcats and the explosive Cougars are battling it out for position high in the American standings this year. Honorable mention: Colorado at Arizona

Jan. 8: Wichita State at Northern Iowa. The top two programs in the MVC right now. For as much as the Shockers are clearly the league’s flagship right now, UNI has gotten the better of them frequently of late. Honorable mention: Wisconsin at Purdue

Jan. 9: Arkansas-Little Rock at Coastal Carolina. On a quiet Monday night, we check in with the Sun Belt’s newest member, as the Chanticleers host the defending conference champion Trojans. Honorable mention: St. John’s at Georgetown

Jan. 10: Xavier at Villanova. A pair of teams ranked in the top 10 entering the season, right now this is the marquee series in the Big East. Honorable mention: Baylor at West Virginia

Jan. 11: North Carolina at Wake Forest. We hit up Tobacco Road and check out the Demon Deacons’ progress under Danny Manning. Upset potential here at home? Honorable mention: Butler at Creighton

Jan. 12: Notre Dame at Miami (Fla.). Two always well-coached teams that will be right in the thick of it in the very competitive ACC. Honorable mention: William & Mary at UNC Wilmington

Jan. 13: Yale at Pennsylvania. On a light night with just five games we go to the Ivy League, where the defending champs meet an improving Penn squad. Honorable mention: Detroit at Oakland

Jan. 14: Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga. The first installment of what has become one of the very best series in the West. The Gaels won two of three last year, but the Bulldogs won the one that counted the most in the WCC Tournament. With the Zags’ improved backcourt, these are now both balanced teams. Honorable mention: Connecticut at Georgetown

Jan. 15: USC at Colorado. Quality Pac-12 matchup with athletes galore. Tough trip for the Trojans to Boulder, but their three-point shooting makes them capable. Honorable mention: Michigan State at Ohio State

Jan. 16: Seton Hall at Villanova. FS1 features a Big East quintuple header on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Pirates were the last team to defeat the Wildcats last year. Honorable mention: Kansas at Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum, a very close second

Jan. 17: Texas at Baylor. Both teams won on the others’ home floor a year ago, which means advantage Horns here, but the Bears handled their Big 12 tourney meeting. Honorable mention: Iona at Manhattan

Jan. 18: Illinois State at Bradley. The I-74 series between two rivals half an hour apart in central Illinois should start to pick up steam this year as the Braves should certainly be improved and can be a nuisance to the Redbirds. Honorable mention: Oklahoma at West Virginia

Jan. 19: Weber State at North Dakota. Let’s go to the Big Sky, where the Wildcats are the favorites but North Dakota is tough at home and is a legit threat to win the league. Honorable mention: Arizona at USC

Jan. 20: Fairfield at Iona. On another quiet Friday, we go back to the MAAC. The Stags quietly had a very nice 2015-16 season and should be solid again, and here they play one of the league’s top teams that they look to surpass. Honorable mention: Manhattan at Monmouth

Jan. 21: Louisville at Florida State. We still prefer to think of them as former Metro Conference rivals, but this is a big ACC home chance for the Seminoles, especially if they’re looking like an NCAA tourney bubble team by this time of year. Honorable mention: Michigan State at Indiana

Jan. 22: Georgetown at Xavier. On a quiet Sunday we have the Musketeers making a rare appearance on CBS. The Hoyas won at the Cintas Center a year ago. Honorable mention: Virginia Tech at Clemson

Jan. 23: Oklahoma at Texas. Always a hostile, borderline vicious rivalry, and we love it for that. Honorable mention: Canisius at Niagara in the long-running battle for Buffalo

Jan. 24: Kansas at West Virginia. An excellent Tuesday schedule is led by this one, which undoubtedly will be one of the Jayhawks’ toughest road tests in the Big 12. Honorable mention: Purdue at Michigan State

Jan. 25: Florida Gulf Coast at North Florida. This should be one of the best games of the year in the Atlantic Sun, as the Eagles play in front of what could be a rowdy gathering at UNF. Honorable mention: Rhode Island at Richmond

Jan. 26 Xavier at Cincinnati. For our money, still easily in the top three rivalries in the sport, and we’re not so sure it isn’t number one. Honorable mention: Michigan at Indiana

Jan. 27: Dayton at VCU. Big Friday night contest in the Atlantic 10, with the experienced Flyers taking on Havoc. Honorable mention: Iona at Siena

Jan. 28: Kansas at Kentucky, Big 12/SEC Challenge. These two conferences continue with their intelligent scheduling of this series in the middle of conference play, and these bona fide blue bloods meet for the second straight year. The Jayhawks won last year’s game in overtime. Honorable mention: Tennessee-Chattanooga at East Tennessee State

Jan. 29: Virginia at Villanova. Love this matchup, and doesn’t get much better than this for intersectional games in the middle of conference play. Honorable mention: Stanford at California

Jan. 30: South Carolina State at Howard. We’ll check in with the MEAC, where the preseason favorites host the preseason No. 2 team. Also a chance to check out Howard scoring machine James Daniel. Honorable mention: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Jan. 31: Mississippi State at Mississippi. We’re a sucker for rivalry games, and this is the 255th meeting between these SEC schools in a series that dates back to 1914. Honorable mention: Creighton at Butler

Other game of the day picks for 2016-17:
November
December

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