West Coast hoops take center stage on Thursday night

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona and Gonzaga, the two best teams on the left coast, will each be tested by capable conference foes on Thursday night.

Here's what we're watching this evening.

Miami at North Carolina (7 p.m./ESPN)

The Heels have won 10 straight over Miami, but are in desperate need of some ship-righting after Sunday's embarrassing loss to Virginia. They'll probably have to do so without the services of Leslie McDonald, who tweaked the same knee he injured in 2011 during practice this week.

No. 22 Michigan State at Iowa (7 p.m./ESPN2)

Poor Iowa has opened Big Ten play against three straight ranked opponents. The Hawkeyes nearly upset Indiana and hugn with Michigan early before being blown out in the second half.

Old Dominion at George Mason (7 p.m./NBC Sports Network)

Still crazy to look at Old Dominion and see them 2-13 overall and 0-3 in the CAA. George Mason's 8-6 record isn't exactly sparkling either.

Northwestern at Penn State (8 p.m./ESPNU)

Could use about 100% more Drew Crawford and Tim Frazier.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt (9 p.m./ESPN)

Kentucky's slip out of the top 25 has been way more publicized than the fact that Vanderbilt, one of the nation's most consistent programs in recent years, is horrendous.

No. 4 Arizona at Oregon (9 p.m./ESPN2)

If the Ducks don't hand Arizona its first loss tonight, then Oregon State is doing it in two days. I think it happens tonight, though.

Massachusetts at Saint Louis (9 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

The A-10 opener for a pair of teams that still have high hopes for their seasons despite suffering some disappointing losses in non-conference play.

USC at Colorado (10 p.m./ESPNU)

I have never seen a team as bad as USC spend so much time on national television. Never.

Saint Mary's at No. 9 Gonzaga (11 p.m./ESPN2)

It's not really conference season until the first 11 o'clock Gonzaga/Saint Mary's battle. I get as excited for these games as I do any conference rivalry in the sport.

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