Game of the night: Pittsburgh at No. 19 Georgetown (9 p.m., ESPNU)
A pivotal game for two teams winless in conference play through one week, Pittsburgh (0-2) and Georgetown (0-1) will each look to get off the schneid in a showdown of two second-tier Big East teams. The Panthers limp into Tuesday’s action riding a two-game losing streak—a home loss to Cincinnati in the conference opener followed up by a no-show performance in a loss at Rutgers over the weekend—while Georgetown tries to shake off its lone hiccup, a grating one-point loss at Marquette.
If it isn’t a must-win, this game is a need-to-have for both teams. Pittsburgh can ill-afford to start 0-3 in league play after last year’s inauspicious (0-7) start. Georgetown, meanwhile, must protect its home floor, knowing first-hand how difficult it is to win on the road. The Hoyas are 16-20 on the road in the Big East over the last four seasons. Neither team owns an especially impressive win in the non-conference—Georgetown did upend a then-struggling UCLA team and took Indiana to overtime—so tonight’s contest is a golden opportunity for one squad to add a signature win to its résumé.
The road team has won three of the last four meetings between these two schools.
Upset alert: No. 15 Ohio State at Purdue (9 p.m., ESPN)
Both programs know how precious road wins are in the Big Ten. Ohio State received its reminder in Champaign, where Illinois waxed the Buckeyes by 19 just three days after Purdue had taken down those same Illini on its home floor. With travel dates in Ann Arbor, Bloomington, East Lansing and Madison still to come, Ohio State’s road schedule doesn’t get any easier after tonight. If the Buckeyes want to entertain any hopes of winning four or five league games outside of Columbus, this has to be one of them. It certainly won’t come easy. For as much as the Boilermakers have struggled to score points, Matt Painter’s team has ratcheted up the defensive intensity and disrupted the rhythm of opponents in the half court. That’s not good news for an Ohio State team with its own offensive woes. Figure on Mackey Arena energizing the home team and the game hinging on whether or not Deshaun Thomas goes off. Thomas has a decided matchup advantage in this contest.
Season on the line? Alabama at No. 10 Missouri (7 p.m.)
While the football team’s season ended in triumph last night, Alabama’s basketball team sees its season on life support one day later. Tide hoops has little margin for error left if it plans to return to the Big Dance. So dire is Alabama’s present situation that tonight’s road test in Columbia could well be a must win. The Crimson Tide are stuck at 8-5, with losses to Dayton, Mercer and Tulane requited only by a season opening win over South Dakota State (a game decided at the buzzer, no less) and a pair of victories at the 2K Sports Classic, which laid out a weak field. Alabama lacks standout wins. Worse yet, opportunities to compile them in a watered down SEC are few and far between. Thanks to a schedule that’s too forgiving—Alabama only draws Florida, Kentucky and Missouri each once, two on the road—Anthony Grant probably wishes he drew a tougher schedule knowing what he does now.
Other Top 25 Action
- Clemson at No. 1 Duke (7 p.m., ESPNU)
- Drake at No. 13 Creighton (8 p.m., ESPN3)
Notable High-Major Games
- DePaul at Connecticut (7 p.m., ESPN3)
Notable Mid-Major Games
- Vermont at Boston University (7 p.m., American East)
- Northeastern at Drexel (7 p.m., Colonial Athletic Association)