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Pregame Shootaround 1.13.13: Trey Burke, Aaron Craft highlight major Big Ten showdown

Jan 13, 2013, 9:37 AM EDT

Trey Burke AP

Game of the Day: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Ohio State (1:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

With Duke’s loss yesterday to NC State, Michigan will become the nation’s No. 1 team if it can get out of Columbus with a tough road victory. But, despite being ranked No. 2 in the country, Michigan is the underdog Sunday.

Two key matchups will likely decide the outcome of this one. At the point guard spot, Michigan’s Trey Burke is emerging as an early Player of the Year candidate, while Ohio State’s Aaron Craft has been the Buckeyes’ best defender and offensive facilitator with 4.9 assists per game.

At the wing spot, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas is one of the nation’s best scorers and he’ll be matching up with standout freshman Glenn Robinson III. Both have the ability to carry the offensive load for their respective teams, but it will be interesting to see how the young Robinson III responds to playing against an upperclassman who can go shot-for-shot with him.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: No. 23 Wichita State vs. Evansville (4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Cleanthony Early is coming off one of the most impressive performances of any player in the country this season, having dropped 39 points on 13-of-19 shooting to help Wichita State over Southern Illinois earlier this week. He and the Shockers return to the floor Sunday to meet an Evansville team that is 3-1 in Missouri Valley play so far and has hung with a number of tough teams, including Notre Dame, Butler, and Colorado State.

Wichita State will need to contain Evansville’s Colt Ryan, who has reached the 20-point mark in four of his last five games and is averaging 15.9 points per game on the year.

Five Things to Watch For

1) Miami turned some heads earlier this week when it went on the road to Chapel Hill and beat North Carolina without the services of big man Reggie Johnson. They face another tough ACC test against Dez Wells, Alex Len, and Maryland on Sunday.

2) Iowa is 0-3 in Big Ten play, but that is more a product of being in the nation’s toughest conference than any major lack. The Hawkeyes ran both Indiana and Michigan State to the wire, and played a solid first half against Michigan before the Wolverines opened it up. They’re in line for a win over Northwestern on Sunday.

3) Oregon handed No. 4 Arizona its first loss of the season and now needs to contain one of the nation’s best young point guards, Arizona State’s Jahii Carson. It’s a nice nightcap that tips at 9:00 p.m. ET.

4) Billy Baron and Canisius were the talk of the mid-major world in the non-conference season after they upset Temple, but the Golden Griffins have cooled off a bit in conference play. They have a tough matchup with Iona on Sunday.

5) Chaz Williams continues to be one of the most enjoyable mid-major point guards to watch after tallying 14 points, seven assists, and six rebounds Thursday against Saint Louis. Massachusetts meets Fordham on Sunday.

The Top 25

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 15 Ohio State (1:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 22 Michigan State vs. Nebraska (6:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

No. 23 Wichita State vs. Evansville (4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Other Notable Games

Penn State vs. Purdue (12:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Providence vs. Seton Hall (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

Iowa vs. Northwestern (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Maryland vs. Miami (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Arizona State vs. Oregon (9:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

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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