College Basketball Schedule

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Saturday Preview: #4 Louisville at #3 Kentucky

December 30th, 2011
Louisville center Gorgui Dieng

The final day of 2011 features one of the most anticipated games of the college basketball season, a rivalry game that captivates an entire state and is one of the best games in college basketball. #4 Louisville (12-1), fresh off of a lost to Georgetown in their Big East opener, visits #3 Kentucky (12-1) in what should be a spirited battle at Rupp Arena. The Cardinals have played just one road game this season but it was also one of their best efforts as they won at Butler without the then-injured Peyton Siva.

Thursday Preview: BYU at Saint Mary's

December 29th, 2011
BYU guard Matt Carlino

It can be argued that Vanderbilt's trip to #13 Marquette is the big game of the day on Thursday, especially when considering a Commodore resume that could use some added bulk. But there's also the first-ever conference game as a member of the West Coast Conference for BYU (11-3), and they're jumping directly into the fire thanks to the league schedule-makers. Dave Rose's Cougars visit Saint Mary's (11-2) in the league opener for both teams, and there are some very good individual battles to keep track of in Moraga.

Wednesday Preview: #12 Georgetown at #4 Louisville

December 27th, 2011
Russ Smith wreaked havoc in the second halfThere are three games on Wednesday matching ranked teams, but in terms of a conference title race the matchup between #12 Georgetown (10-1) and #4 Louisville (12-0) may have the greatest impact at the end of the regular season. John Thompson III's Hoyas have matured at a rapid rate but this will be their toughest test to date, and the same goes for the Cardinals (until they face Kentucky on Saturday). One reason to watch is the individual battle between two of the Big East's best centers, and their responsibilities are drastically different due to the systems both play in.

Tuesday Preview: Minnesota at Illinois

December 27th, 2011
Illinois center Meyers LeonardAfter a day off college basketball is back with a small albeit important slate to keep an eye on. Why? The start of conference play in both the Big East and Big Ten, with more leagues due to join in on the fun later in the week. Tuesday's game of interest matches #24 Illinois (11-2), who is undefeated at home and looking to bounce back from their loss to rival Missouri, and a Minnesota (12-1) team that's managed to win six straight games.

Friday's Preview: West Virginia vs. #7 Baylor

December 23rd, 2011
West Virginia forward Kevin Jones

Friday marks the final day of games before Christmas Day, and while the schedule is light there are some good games to keep an eye on. Atop the list is a game at the Las Vegas Classic matching West Virginia (8-2) and #7 Baylor (10-0), with the Bears boasting one of the deepest frontcourt rotations in the country. But to be fair this is their most strenuous back-to-back stretch of the season as they beat Saint Mary's on Thursday night.

Thursday's Preview: #24 Illinois vs. #8 Missouri

December 22nd, 2011
Marcus Denmon and the Tigers blitzed Notre Dame

Thursday is the final "busy day" on the college basketball schedule before Christmas and there's important business to address in St. Louis: Braggin' Rights. Undefeated and eighth-ranked Missouri (11-0) looks for its third straight win over #24 Illinois (11-1) in the series, and despite the change in head coach the Tigers remain one of the most balanced teams in the country.

Wednesday's Preview: Texas at #6 North Carolina

December 21st, 2011
Harrison Barnes finished with a game-high 20 pointsRick Barnes' Texas (9-2) Longhorns have gotten off to a solid start despite heavy personnel losses from last year's NCAA Tournament team, but outside of a neutral-court win over NC State there aren't any decisions that jump off the page. Can't credit Santa with this pre-Christmas "gift" but they've got a great opportunity to pick up a quality win as they visit #6 North Carolina (10-2). One key for Texas' prospects this season is the play of freshman point guard Myck Kabongo (10.8 ppg, 6.0 apg), and the Canadian has shown signs by the game that he'll be alright.

Tuesday's Preview: Butler at Gonzaga

December 19th, 2011
Gonzaga finally has a healthy Elias HarrisTuesday night's action features a few critical match ups when considering at-large possibilities in March, with one such game being Butler (5-6) taking on Gonzaga (7-2) in Spokane. Brad Stevens' Bulldogs looked to be in serious trouble on Saturday but a furious rally to beat Purdue may have been the win that sparks a turnaround. But they didn't do themselves many favors in that regard from a scheduling standpoint, with Gonzaga boasting a 93-7 record in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Monday's Preview: Belmont at Marshall

December 18th, 2011
DeAndre Kane is Marshall's leading scorer

Monday's schedule doesn't have much in the way of games that will make a dent on the national landscape, but that doesn't mean that there are some intriguing contests to keep an eye on. One of those being Belmont (7-4) heading east to take on Marshall (7-2) in a battle of teams expected to either win or contend in their respective leagues. Rick Byrd's Bruins have lost two straight road games, most recently falling at Miami (Ohio) due in large part to their 6-for-21 performance from beyond the arc.