Tuesday night hoops viewer's guide: The Marshall Henderson Experience takes center stage

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of top 20 teams from power conferences will be tested during the 7 o'clock session before the most exciting player in college basketball takes over at 9.

Going from Wisconsin and Virginia to Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson is like your iTunes jumping from Fleet Foxes to ... Marshall Henderson. I'm assuming that he's recorded a song at some point, and that it's relatively aggressive.

Here's how you're spending your Tuesday night.

Wisconsin Badgers at No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (7 p.m./ESPN)

No two teams in the unpredictable Big Ten have been more unpredictable than Ohio State and Wisconsin. In terms of the conference race, the stakes are pretty high for a game in late January. The winner moves into a tie for third place and stays just a game back of Indiana and Michigan, while the loser puts itself in a position where it's probably going to have to get extremely hot in February if it wants to have a shot at wearing the crown.

No. 19 N.C. State Wolfpack at Virginia Cavaliers (7 p.m./ESPN2)

Beating Carolina was a monster mental accomplishment for this N.C. State team, but having the focus to win on the road against a stingy UVA team that desperately needs a victory might actually be more impressive. Maturity has been the major issue for the Wolfpack so far this season, and tonight's game will be a much better barometer for how far they've come than Saturday's was.

Vanderbilt Commodores at Tennessee Volunteers (7 p.m./ESPNU)

Rivalry game, shmrivalry game. Don't watch this unless the other two games and Predator (AMC) are all on commercial at the same time.

Illinois State Redbirds at Bradley Braves (8 p.m./Fox Sports Midwest)

Illinois State has rebounded from its inexplicable 0-6 start in MVC play to win three straight. They'll face a Bradley team that will likely be without star Will Egolf once again.

Kentucky Wildcats at No. 16 Mississippi Rebels (9 p.m./ESPN)

I think it's safe to say that this is the biggest night for The Marshall Henderson Experience to date. College hoops diehards have been in love (or something) with Bizarro Jimmer for months, but he's only just now starting to get a decent helping of national love. A memorable performance against Kentucky on ESPN could be what he needs to make the leap from entertaining sideshow to legitimate All-American candidate.

Oh yeah, and this one's pretty important to Kentucky and Ole Miss, too.

North Carolina Tar Heels at Boston College Eagles (9 p.m./ESPNU)

The most remarkable thing about this North Carolina team isn't that it's lost six games, it's the size of the hole it has consistently put itself in. The Tar Heels have trailed by 19 points or more four times this season: against Texas (19), Butler (29), Indiana (32) and N.C. State (28). They still have the potential to benefit greatly from what could be another historically weak bubble, but not if they lose games like the one tonight.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 23 Minnesota Golden Gophers (9 p.m./Big Ten Network)

The midseason Minneapolis slide is once again in full effect. It's greatest victim? The Tubstache, which is officially no more. A home game against Nebraska should be just what the dermatologist ordered. If it's not, then the NIT talk which results will be legitimate.

Nevada Wolf Pack at UNLV Runnin' Rebels (10 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

The battle for bragging rights in the Silver State will take place tonight when UNLV and Nevada meet for the first time ever as Mountain West foes. The Pack comes in playing its best basketball of the season after an impressive 75-59 shellacking of Boise State over the weekend. UNLV leads the all-time series, 54-19, and has won the last six meetings.

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