College hoops Sunday TV guide: Trio of top 10 teams face conference tests

USA TODAY Sports

The last Sunday before March...my God. It's all starting to happen.

Lehigh at Lafayette (Noon/CBS Sports Network)

One of the best rivalries in all of mid-major basketball. It's also a game both teams probably need to win in order to keep their hopes of a Patriot League regular season title alive.

No. 20 Pittsburgh at St. John's (Noon/MASN/MSG)

This is an enormous one for the bubble-bound Red Strom, a fact not lost on Rumble in the Garden

For the St. John's Red Storm (16-10, 8-6 Big East), today's tilt against the Pittsburgh Panthers in Madison Square Garden at noon is a big game for NCAA Tournament legitimacy. They can still make the NCAA Tournament or other postseason with a loss; but a win would put the Storm on the right side of the bubble, and not leave their fate up to the failures of bubble teams and a magical Big East Tournament run.

...

It's late in the year, time for the Red Storm to take a win or two that they weren't expected to. If they're going to get to the NCAA Tournament, that's the way they need to get there... just like Dwight Hardy and crew did in the Garden in 2011.

Illinois at No. 7 Michigan (1 p.m./ESPN)

When Michigan was beating up on Illinois on Jan. 27, no one would have guessed that almost exactly a month later the Illini would be the hottest team in the Big Ten. Brandon Paul and company will look for consecutive win No. 6 this afternoon in Ann Arbor.

Cincinnati at No. 25 Notre Dame (2 p.m./CBS)

I love the late-season Sunday doubleheaders on CBS. It's the first sign of the March Madness leaves starting to change. Also, you might want to watch something else if you're big into points

UCLA at USC (3:30 p.m./Fox Sports)

UCLA has been swept by their arch-rivals from USC just six times in the past 52 years. Two of those sweeps happened during Ben Howland's tenure, first in 2004 and again in 2009. A third sweep being polished off today would not sit well with the already restless Bruin fan base.

No. 4 Michigan State at No. 18 Ohio State (4 p.m./CBS)

A preview from the folks at Land Grant Holy Land.

And a preview from the folks at The Only Colors.

Florida State at Virginia Tech (6 p.m./ESPNU)

Meh.

Northwestern at Purdue (6 p.m./Big Ten Network)

Nope.

Long Island at Wagner (8 p.m./ESPNU)

LIU needs a win to stay a game behind Robert Morris in the race for the NEC title.

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