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Monday’s Pregame Shootaround: Creighton, Ohio State among teams needing a win

Jan 20, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

Bryant v Ohio State Getty Images

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Creighton at No. 4 Villanova, 7:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Big East square off tonight. Creighton has arguably the best player in the country in Doug McDermott, but he had a rough night against Providence on Saturday, “struggling” his way to 21 points in a blowout loss to the Friars. This will be a tough matchup for the Bluejays, as their strength is getting opposing big men out of position with jumpshooters in their front court. Villanova plays Jayvaughn Pinkston at the four and, if needed, can use Kris Jenkins at the five. They won’t be in a position where they have to deal with mismatches.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 24 Baylor at No. 8 Kansas, 9:00 p.m.

The Jayhawks start off their Big 12 campaign by playing the five best teams in the Big 12 not located in Lawrence. Thus far, they are all alone at 4-0 in the league. Baylor has been scuffling, losing two of their last three games. They struggle defensively and they aren’t getting the kind of dominant performance we’ve come to expect out of their front line. A couple things to watch in this game:

  • What’s up with Andrew Wiggins? Does he bounce back after his no-show against Oklahoma State?
  • What will Joel Embiid do now that he’s facing a front line that can match up with him athletically and from a size standpoint?

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) Xavier will pay a visit to a DePaul team that has been better this season than expected, which is to say that they already have two wins in Big East play.

2) North Carolina is headed to Chapel Hill for what is almost a must-win game for the Tar Heels. They still have plenty of time to turn their season around, but starting out ACC play 1-4 is not an easy thing to overcome. The blessing? Wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky will ensure that their status as a bubble-dweller is limited.

3) Speaking of teams that really need a win, No. 17 Ohio State and their stale offense will try to snap a three-game losing streak at Nebraska.

4) Sputtering Marquette will pay a visit to scuffling Georgetown in a game between two of the bigger disappointments in the Big East. Without Josh Smith, it will be interesting to see how the Hoyas deal with Marquette’s big bodies in the paint.

5) Maryland is finally heading in the right direction after beating Notre Dame on Wednesday. N.C. State? They lost by 35 at Duke.