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Saturday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan State faces another neutral-site test

Nov 23, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT

Michigan State coach Izzo and guard Harris look on in the final minute of their loss to Duke during the Midwest Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Indianapolis

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Oklahoma, 9:30 p.m. (TruTV) 

The Spartans face another early-season neutral-site game against 4-0 Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The No. 1 team in America is still 5-0 and as long as point guard Keith Appling continues to play at a high level, the Spartans are talented and balanced enough to remain unbeaten.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Mississippi State at Utah State, 9:05 p.m. 

A couple of unbeatens clash as an SEC school heads into Utah State, which is one of the toughest environments in college basketball. Its an interesting early-season nonconference game that the mid-major program will be heavily favored.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Fresno State at Pacific, 10:30 p.m.

If you are in the mood for some late-night hoops, check out this enticing mid-major contest between Fresno State and Pacific. New head coach Ron Verlin has the Tigers undefeated at 3-0 and they’ll be tested by their talented interstate rival, Fresno State.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: 

1) The No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers take the floor against Oral Roberts after scoring 103 points in a win over North Dakota and 88 points in a win over Bowling Green. How does Wisconsin follow that up and will their offense keep rolling?

2) North Carolina is still ranked after last week’s home loss to Belmont, coming in at No. 24. How do the Tar Heels respond against a solid Richmond team?

3) Although Oklahoma and Michigan State is the marquee matchup of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, the undercard of Seton Hall and Virginia Tech is a battle of 3-2 teams looking for a solid win on a neutral court. Virginia Tech is still meshing with forward C.J. Barksdale after his suspension so that will be a development to track as well.

4) New Mexico State is the favorite in the heavily re-done WAC and one of their key nonconference games comes at UTEP on Saturday night. Tim Floyd’s team is talented and should give the Aggies a great test.

5) Louisville should handle Fairfield, but they are still getting some pieces in place as Chane Behanan and Luke Hancock continue to adjust to game speed and playing with some of the Cardinals new pieces. On a neutral site in a tournament setting, is Louisville going to show us what they’re fully capable of?

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • Fairfield vs. No. 3 Louisville, 2:00 p.m.
  • Nicholls State at No. 11 Memphis, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Oral Roberts vs. No. 12 Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. (BTN)
  • Tulsa at No. 23 Creighton, 3:30 p.m. (FSN)
  • Richmond vs. No. 24 North Carolina, 11:00 a.m.

NOTABLES: 

  • William & Mary at Rutgers, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Butler vs. Ball State, 2:00 p.m.
  • Gardner-Webb vs. Missouri, 3:30 p.m.
  • Seton Hall vs. Virginia Tech, 7:00 p.m. (TruTV)
  • New Mexico State at UTEP, 9:05 p.m.

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