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Pregame Shootaround 12.25.12: Arizona-San Diego State is the big present under the tree

Dec 25, 2012, 12:06 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2012-12-25 at 11.41.08 AM AP

Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Game of the Day: No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 17 San Diego State

This is the marquee matchup of the four games in the Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day. Jamaal Franklin is at the center of it all for San Diego State, and he won’t be seeing an easy day against Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson. The Wildcats should be keying in on the backboards, though they won’t have as much of a margin against the San Diego State frontcourt. Franklin is the leading rebounder for SDSU, but Deshawn Stephens will need to step up against Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, and Solomon Hill.

Five Things to Watch

1. Jamaal Franklin is continuing to mature and develop into an All-American caliber guard, averaging 17.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He matches up on Christmas Day with the Arizona backcourt of Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson, which will likely be his toughest matchup since the Aztecs opened the season against Syracuse.

2. Without Reggie Johnson in the lineup, Arizona outrebounded Miami 44-19 on Sunday. They won’t have that kind of margin against San Diego State, but freshmen Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley will have the advantage over on the interior against Deshawn Stephens and Franklin.

3. Mark Lyons still isn’t a true point guard, but he is the biggest key to Arizona being ranked third in the nation right now. He will have to show up Tuesday against Franklin, limiting his turnovers.

4. Ole Miss is in the Top 15 in the country in both scoring and rebounding, but lost to Indiana State in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic and outlasted San Francisco in the second. They take on Hawaii Tuesday.

5. Keep an eye on San Francisco guard Cody Doolin. He had 18 points and 14 assists against St. John’s and 20 points and eight assists in a loss to Ole Miss Sunday. The Dons take on East Tennessee State.

The Top 25 

No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 17 San Diego State (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Other Notable Games

San Francisco vs. East Tennessee State (2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Ole Miss vs. Hawaii (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Indiana State vs. Miami (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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