Posted by Ryan Clark at 5:26PM

It’s not exactly a night that will keep you glued to the couch, which might seem obvious when Ohio State and Illinois play in the headliner…

Top 25 Action

Ohio State (13-3 overall, 3-2 Big 10) at #25 Illinois (15-3, 3-2) | 7 PM ET, ESPN
Bruce Weber and the Illini have bounced back from an awful 2007-08 season much faster than anyone might have expected, but a tough stretch to open conference play has left them in the middle of the standings. Ohio State finds itself in the middle of that same pack, but enters tonight’s game in Champaign as winners of five straight against Illinois. The Buckeyes will have their work cut out for them, however, as they are ranked 250th in the country in offensive rebounding and are facing the nation’s 10th-ranked defense.

North Carolina State (10-5 overall, 1-2 ACC) at #2 Duke (16-1, 3-0) | 8 ET, ESPN Full Court
Duke has been playing absolutely lights out as of late, most recently shutting down Georgetown on Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor. They are sporting an NCAA-best +0.345 efficiency differential, just ahead of their Tobacco Road rival, North Carolina. In simpler terms, the Blue Devils outscore their opponents by 0.345 points per possession, which means that even if the Wolfpack can slow things down to their tempo, they will only lose by……approximately 22 points. Uh oh.

Big 12 Games

Colorado (8-8 overall, 0-2 Big 12) at Texas Tech (10-7, 0-2) | 8 PM ET, ESPN Full Court
It’s a game matching two teams that have the potential to be the absolute worst squads in the Big 12! If that doesn’t scream “must watch,” I’m not sure what else does. Perhaps a marathon of the Ryan Seacrest-produced reality show, Momma’s Boys?

Around the country

Tennessee (11-5 overall, 2-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (12-5, 1-2) | 9 PM ET, ESPN
Last year, these two teams put on one of the most exciting games of the season, as the Commodores eked out a three-point win over their cross-state rivals, who had just reached No. 1 for the first time in school history. This year, there’s not nearly as much on the line, but excitement is still on tap. Just ask stat guru Ken Pomeroy, who hopes his new FanMatch feature can pinpoint the most intriguing match-ups of the night. And according to Mr. Pomeroy’s brand-spanking-new ranking system, this particular Battle of Tennessee has a 71.7% chance of kicking major ass. Guaranteed.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:52PM

Although slots four through ten are no longer separated by just a game as they were this time last week, the league is still a complete mess in the middle as the season winds to a close. Thanks to a complete tanking by Kansas State — losers of four straight and five out of six — the Baylor Bears actually control their own destiny in regards to the 3-seed in Kansas City. And with a late-season push, even the Oklahoma State Cowboys are within striking distance of that fourth and final bye in the conference tournament.

Texas Longhorns (11-3)
Remaining games: vs. Nebraska (Tuesday), vs. Oklahoma State (Sunday)
Outlook: The loss to Tech puts the Longhorns in a tie with Kansas once again, but they hold the tiebreaker for the #1 seed in Kansas City thanks to the victory over the Jayhawks last month. The crowds for this week’s games could be abysmal, with the Nebraska tip at 6:30 P.M. and the Oklahoma State game being played during Spring Break.

Kansas Jayhawks (11-3)
Remaining games: vs. Texas Tech (Tonight), at Texas A&M (Saturday)
Outlook: Unless the Longhorns stumble, the best that Kansas can hope for is a split title and the 2-seed in the post-season tournament. But Kansas must match Texas stride-for-stride down the homestretch, and their schedule is admittedly more difficult. Tech has a very slim shot at the NCAAs, but a road win in Lawrence would propel them to the top of the bubble discussion. And with A&M fading fast, their backs will be against the wall when Kansas comes to town on Sunday. KU cannot afford to overlook either one of these two teams.

Baylor Bears (8-6)
Remaining games: vs. Texas A&M (Wednesday), at Texas Tech (Saturday)
Outlook: Thanks to the head-to-head win over K-State, the Bears would claim the 3-seed if they win their remaining two games. But a stumble against A&M or Tech opens the door for the four teams sitting just a game back at 7-7, so Scott Drew’s guard-tastic team has to stay on top of its game this final week.

Kansas State Wildcats (8-6)
Remaining games: vs. Colorado (Tuesday), at Iowa State (Saturday)
Outlook: While Baylor does hold the tiebreaker, the Wildcats have the more manageable schedule this week. The home game against Colorado should finally snap the KSU slide, but this team has struggled all season long on the road and Hilton Coliseum will be a tough place to win on Senior Night. A split this week could drop the ‘Cats all the way from first place at the beginning of February to an opening-round game next Thursday in KC.

Texas A&M Aggies (7-7)
Remaining games: at Baylor (Wednesday), vs. Kansas (Saturday)
Outlook: While the K-State slide might seem monumental, the Aggies are the only team in the country this year who have fallen from the Top 10 to sweating things out on the bubble. A&M managed less than a point a minute in Norman on Saturday, and that simply won’t get the job done against the high-powered offenses of Baylor and Kansas. If Texas A&M wants to feel secure about its place in the NCAAs, they really have to steal that road game in Waco on Wednesday night, one that Longhorn Road Trip will be watching live from the Ferrell Center.

Oklahoma Sooners (7-7)
Remaining games: at Oklahoma State (Wednesday), vs. Missouri (Saturday)
Outlook: Of the four southern teams knotted at 7-7, Oklahoma has the easiest schedule left. The road game against Bedlam rival OSU won’t be easy, but a 9-7 finish and a potential 4-seed is within the grasp of the Sooners.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-7)
Remaining games: vs. Oklahoma (Wednesday), at Texas (Sunday)
Outlook: Raise your hand if you thought OSU would be earning fringe bubble talk with a week left to go in the season. Anyone? Fry? Bueller? The Pokes have a bitch of a finish in Austin on Sunday, but home court in the Bedlam series could put them above .500 in league play for what feels like the first time since Grover Cleveland was in office.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-7)
Remaining games: at Kansas (Tonight), vs. Baylor (Saturday)
Outlook: Pat Knight already has two Top 25 upsets on his nine-game bio, but both of those came in the friendly confines of the United Spirit Arena. This difficult final stretch will test the Red Raiders, and they could easily drop both games and find themselves playing in the dreaded 8-9 game next week.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-8)
Remaining games: at Texas (Tuesday), vs. Colorado (Sunday)
Outlook: After a promising non-conference start, Nebraska fizzled in Big 12 play. Winning three of their last four has them in the mix, but a tough road date with the Longhorns could quickly kill that momentum. The home game against Colorado on Sunday should provide an easy win, setting the Huskers up for potential home games in the NIT.

Missouri Tigers (5-9)
Remaining games: vs. Iowa State (Wednesday), at Oklahoma (Saturday)
Outlook: A possible split to finish the season for the Tigers, who have to be happy with even five conference wins after their entire team decided to have a brawl in a nightclub. If only they’d decided to have their Ultimate Fighting Championship prior to the game with Texas…

Iowa State Cyclones (4-10)
Remaining games: at Missouri (Wednesday), vs. Kansas State (Saturday)
Outlook: With K-State struggling on the road, the Cyclones could put a nice capper on a disappointing season by pulling off the home upset on Jiri Hubalek’s senior day. While the season has generally been a wash, the young talent that Coach McDermott has on-board could mean that great things will be happening in Ames in the near future.

Colorado Buffaloes (3-11)
Remaining games: at Kansas State (Tuesday), at Nebraska (Sunday)
Outlook: Richard Roby will finally exhaust his eligibility. It’s about damned time.

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