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Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Syracuse and St. John’s battle in the Garden

Dec 15, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

C.J. Fair AP

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s, noon (Fox Sports 1)

It’s an old school Big East battle inside Madison Square Garden. Sunday won’t get much better than that. The Johnnies are looking to defeated their in-state rival for the first time since 2007, and in the process earning a huge non-conference win. It won’t be easy for the Red Storm, as the Orange enter MSG unbeaten.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? La Salle over No. 10 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Villanova has skyrocketed up the rankings over the past few weeks since winning the Battle 4 Atlantis. In their first two Big 5 games, the Wildcats have breezed past Penn and St. Joseph’s. For the third straight game, Villanova goes head-to-head with a Philly rival. La Salle is just above .500 with a 5-4  record, but the Explorers are still a dangerous team.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Norfolk State vs. Boston University, 1 p.m.

The Terriers welcome the Spartans to Case Gym on Sunday afternoon in Boston. This game is part of a challenging portion of BU’s schedule. Since last Saturday, the Terriers have lost games to Harvard and George Washington. This afternoon BU plays host to the MEAC favorite, a team looking to add its eighth win of the year on the road against the Patriot League contender.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) Jordan Clarkson has been an impact transfer for Missouri leading them to a 9-0 record — with wins over West Virginia and UCLA this month — and has the Tigers in the top 25. Clarkson and Mizzou look to remain perfect in a game against MAC opponent Western Michigan, which has a talented guard of its own in David Brown.

2) Drexel and Davidson meet in a good mid-major matchup. Davidson put together another tough out-of-conference schedule. A win would go a long way, especially with games against North Carolina and Wichita State left on the non-conference schedule.

3) The Hall of Fame coach Herb Magee and his Division II Philadelphia University, make the trip to Chestnut Hill to play Boston College, a team in that has lost three straight.

4) UC Santa Barbara has already knocked off UNLV and Cal this season, while almost leaving Pauley Pavilion with an upset win over UCLA. The Gauchos should not be overlooked as they take on the San Diego (8-3).

5) Stony Brook, the favorite in the American East, begins conference play on Sunday against New Hampshire. Vermont, another contender in the American East, gets a good test with Quinnipiac.

THE TOP 25:

  • No. 2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s, noon (Fox Sports 1)
  • La Salle vs. No. 10 Villanova, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Western Michigan vs. No. 24 Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

NOTABLES:

  • Philadelphia University vs. Boston College, noon
  • Manhattan vs. UNC-Wilmington, 2 p.m.
  • Stephen F. Austin vs. North Texas, 2 p.m.
  • Drexel vs. Davidson, 2 p.m.
  • Chicago State vs. DePaul, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • UC Santa Barbara vs. San Diego, 5 p.m.
  • UC Irvine vs. Eastern Washington, 5:05 p.m.
  • Troy vs. Kansas State, 6 p.m.
  • Georgia Southern vs. UAB, 8 p.m.
  • Pepperdine vs. Washington State, 8 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
  • CSU Bakersfield vs. USC, 10 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

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