The NFL playoffs don’t start until 4:30, so you can spend the next four hours planted on your sofa watching a plethora of fantastic college basketball games. A quick overview of the day:
Duke at NC State, 12, ESPN: The two best teams in the ACC. This is Duke’s first test without forward Ryan Kelly (foot). He’s the best 3-point shooter in the ACC (52.1 percent). No. 1 in the country and 15-0, the Blue Devils, are 3.5 point favorites. I’ll take NC State and ACC assist leader Lorenzo Brown (6.7).
Minnesota at Indiana, 12, Big Ten Network: Safe to say the Gophers (15-1, ranked 8th) are the nation’s biggest surprise. Indiana, for all the hype (and talent), hasn’t really beaten anyone. Best win? North Carolina? Georgetown? Well, those victories don’t look impressive right now.
Marquette at Pittsburgh, 12. The Panthers are this year’s Wisconsin – loved by Ken Pomeroy’s stats (ranked 6th), but not by voters (unranked). Our 1st edition of Bracketology had the Panthers as a No. 3 seed. The problem: Regardless of how impressive the Panthers are in this spot, they’ll be overshadowed by the other two games that start at noon.
UCLA at Colorado, 2 pm. Sneaky-good game West of the Mississippi. After an ugly start, the Bruins have beaten Missouri, Cal and Stanford in recent weeks, but this will be their first big road test.
Colorado St. at San Diego State, 8 pm. You’ll be watching football, I know, but this is a solid Mountain West game. The MWC has a lot of good teams – five teams are ranked in the 27-39 range by Ken Pomeroy – and depending how you feel about UNLV, these could be the two best in conference. Most importantly, how will Jamaal Franklin follow this?