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Men’s College Basketball games to watch: Top teams begin conference play

The New Year is here, and College Basketball is starting to take center stage in the sports world with the majority of conference play set to begin next week.

Our article will look at the schedule for next week and highlight five games to look forward to watching. 

This will include who is playing in each game, where the game is being played, when the game is being played, and how you can watch the action. 

New Mexico Lobos (12-1) vs. #15 Colorado State Rams (12-1)

WhereMoby Arena, Fort Collins, CO
When10:30 PM ET, Tuesday, January 2
How to watchFS1

Some late-night, early-week action will see the New Mexico Lobos and Colorado State Rams begin conference play in the Mountain West. 

Both teams have nearly been perfect, each having lost just once, so this will be a prime opportunity for both sides to take an early lead in the Mountain West. 

New Mexico is the team in better form, having won 11 games in a row, yet still not breaking into the top 25. A win here would certainly help them become ranked, but they will have to do so on the road in a hostile environment. 

Strangely enough, the one loss for both teams was against St. Mary’s, but Colorado State played them much tighter. 

Colorado Buffaloes (10-2) vs. #4 Arizona Wildcats (10-2)

WhereMcKale Center, Tucson, AZ
When9:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 4
How to watchESPN

With the NFL entering its final week, there is no Thursday Night Football, meaning this Pac-12 game between Colorado and Arizona is worth tuning into. 

The Buffaloes have a flying start to the season and will have their chance to make a statement against Arizona. The Wildcats are currently the fourth-ranked team in the country, having only lost to FAU and Purdue. 

There will be plenty of star power on display, as KJ Simpson and Tristan Da Silva lead the way for Colorado while Caleb Love and Oumar Ballo are the stars on a well-rounded Arizona team.

#11 Illinois Fighting Illini (10-2) vs. #1 Purdue Boilermakers (12-1)

WhereMackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN
When8:30 PM ET, Friday, January 5
How to watchFS1

Friday night will feature a heavyweight matchup between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Purdue Boilermakers. Both teams have already started conference play and will be looking to establish themselves as the team to beat in the Big Ten. 

The Boilermakers are the number one team in the country with their only blemish coming against Northwestern on the road. This game however, will be at home, where they are 7-0 this season. 

On the other side, Illinois have losses to Marquette and Tennessee, one of those games being on the road. They will need to slow down Zach Edey (23.2 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game, 2.4 blocks per game) to have any chance in this game.

#9 North Carolina Tar Heels (9-3) vs. #18 Clemson Tigers (11-1)

WhereLittlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC
When12:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 6
How to watchESPN

One of Saturday’s featured games is an ACC clash between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Clemson Tigers. The Tar Heels have played some tough competition this season, but this game will be their first true road test. 

Clemson's home fans will be up for this matchup against a blue-blood opponent, and the fact the Tigers are 13th in the nation in three-point percentage (39.2 percent) makes them a threat in any game.

UNC should not be counted out, as RJ Davis (21.6 points per game, eighth-most in the nation) and Armando Bacot (14.8 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per game, 1.8 blocks per game) are one of the best duos in the nation.

TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) vs. #2 Kansas Jayhawks (11-1)

WhereAllen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
When2:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 6
How to watchCBS

Saturday afternoon will feature the country’s second-ranked team, the Kansas Jayhawks. To no surprise, Kansas is undefeated at home this season in a place where they have smothered opponents for years. 

Kansas is led by Kevin McCullar and Hunter Dickinson, who combine to average 38.9 points per game. Point guard Dajuan Harris is seventh in the nation in assists per game, and Dickinson is second in rebounds per game.

This is likely to continue against a TCU team that has a solid overall record, but who has not been tested much in the non-conference season, and who lost their only ranked matchup against Clemson. TCU plays tough defense and shares the ball, but that might not be enough to get past the juggernaut that is Kansas.

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