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Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Two Blue Bloods square off at the Garden

Dec 19, 2013, 3:42 PM EST

Prairie View v UCLA Getty Images

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 8 Duke vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden

Two blue blood programs squaring off in the world’s most famous arena? Yes, please.

By now, we know what we’re getting from Duke. They are a team with a loaded perimeter attack that can beat anyone when and if they decide to defend. They have one of the nation’s best players in Jabari Parker, and they may have the nation’s best No. 2 option in Rodney Hood. They aren’t the best team in the country, but they are good enough that they can play with anyone.

UCLA is a different story. Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine are as talented as any trio in the country, but just how good is UCLA? Do they have a point guard? How good are their big men? Does anyone on this roster want to defend? Today will be a chance for the Bruins to test themselves.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: Iona at Dayton, 7:00 p.m.

The Gaels head to one of the toughest home courts in the country tonight to take on the Flyers on the NBC Sports Network. Dayton is a good team. They were ranked in the top 25 a couple of weeks ago after an impressive performance out in Maui, but Iona can get up and down the floor and score with the best of them. If Sean Armand and company get hot, Dayton will be in trouble.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Stony Brook at Loyola (MD), 7:30 p.m.

The Seawolves and the Greyhounds both have a chance to make it to the NCAA tournament this year. They also happen to have two of the best mid-major players in the country in Dylon Cormier and Jameel Warney.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1) No. 1 Arizona takes the court tonight, hosting Southern at 9:00 p.m.

2) Miami (FL) is playing on the road tonight, playing at … Savannah State?

3) Utah State will be playing their first game without Jarred Shaw on the roster at they host Western Illinois tonight.

4) St. Mary’s hosts American tonight, putting their undefeated record on the line.

5) Have you had a chance to see Utah play yet this season? They’re good. They take on Texas State on the Pac-12 Network tonight.