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Wednesday’s Pregame Shootaround: Eight top 25 teams hit the road

Jan 22, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 Iowa at No. 21 Michigan, 7:00 p.m.

We all think we know that Michigan State is the best team in the Big Ten when they’re healthy. But who’s second? Who will give the Spartans a run for the league title? The trendy pick two weeks ago would have been either Ohio State or Wisconsin, but those teams have lost a combined six straight games.

That leaves Iowa and Michigan. The Hawkeyes are dangerous. They’re talented, they’re versatile and they’re deep. Michigan, on the other hand, has seemingly adapted quite well from losing Mitch McGary to back surgery. It doesn’t hurt matters that, at this point in the season, Nik Stauskas and Roy Devyn Marble are both playing like Big Ten Player of the Year candidates.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 9 Wisconsin at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.

Wisconsin lost two games last week after starting the season 16-0. Minnesota is better than they are getting credit for, and they actually matchup fairly well with the Badgers. The Golden Gophers have a slew of guards on their roster, and if anything has been proven these last two games, it’s that the Badgers can be susceptible to penetration. Minnesota could really use a quality win, and Wisconsin is a good place to start.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 18 Duke at Miami (FL), 7:30 p.m.

The Hurricanes have been one of the scrappier teams in the ACC to dispatch of. They play a packed in defense, controlling the tempo and doing everything they can to turn games into slugfests. They don’t have the talent to run up and down with the best teams in the league this season, but they can muck it up with the best of them. Duke seemingly bounced back from their sluggish start to league play by pounding N.C. State, and theoretically, they match up with the Canes much better than, say, Syracuse. This should be an interesting test for the Blue Devils.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Boston U. at American, 7:30 p.m.

First place in the Patriot League is on the line as these two teams, who both sit at 6-0 in conference play, square off in DC.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1) No. 5 Wichita State will be making the trip to Illinois State tonight, and the Redbirds are a feisty, better-than-anyone-expected team. Roadtrips are never easy in the MVC, and Wichita State will be the biggest home game of the season every single time they hit the road.

2) No. 13 UMass has had a nasty habit of falling behind early in games, needing some kind of miraculous comeback in the final minutes to pull off a win. They visit Richmond tonight. Eventually, that’s going to come back to burn the Minutemen.

3) There are a couple of other key A-10 battles tonight:

  • No. 19 Saint Louis at Duquesne
  • La Salle at St. Bonaventure
  • VCU at Dayton
  • Rhode Island at St. Joe’s

4) There will be some upsets tonight, as two other ranked teams also hit the road:

  • No. 12 Louisville at South Florida
  • No. 7 San Diego State at San Jose State

5) Cal isn’t ranked, but they should be. They will also be on the road tonight, visiting USC.

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