For your viewing pleasure: the games you should circle on your January calendar

Happy new year, dear CHD readers!  Our first resolution of 2014 is to provide you with a viewing guide for January and the reasons to tune in: the best conference games, the best mid-major games, the best day of the entire month, etc.  See below, adjust your television sets accordingly, and prepare to see some of the best college basketball action of the year.


Top-10 high-major conference games of January:
1/5: Iowa at Wisconsin (After Bo Ryan placed some restrictions on being able to transfer from Wisconsin in the spring of 2012, Jarrod Uthoff gets to face his old coach for the very 1st time and perhaps give the Badgers their first loss of the season)
1/5: Oregon at Colorado (The Ducks started 9-0 while Dominic Artis/Ben Carter were suspended, and have remained unbeaten since reinstating the sophomore duo)
1/7: Ohio State at Michigan State (These two teams have combined to win the past four Big 10 conference tourneys, so the winner of this one will have a head start on making it five in a row)
1/7: Baylor at Iowa State (The Cyclones might be undefeated at the moment, but they will be hard-pressed to keep that streak going with this game beginning a daunting four-game stretch that includes at Oklahoma, home against Kansas, and at Texas)
1/9: Memphis at Louisville (Josh Pastner was 0-13 in his career against ranked teams until a five point win over Oklahoma State in December, but his success against Rick Pitino dates back to 1997 when he was a walk-on freshman for an Arizona basketball team that beat Pitino’s Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA title game)
1/11: North Carolina at Syracuse (Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim were members of the inaugural class of the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2006 and have each won 700+ games, but this marks the first time that they will ever face each other in conference play)
1/12: Iowa at Ohio State (The Hawkeyes’ 87 PPG is ranked in the top-10 in the nation, but the Buckeyes allow only 55 PPG due to being one of the best defensive teams in D-1)
1/16: UConn at Memphis (This brand-new rivalry features Joe Jackson vs. Shabazz Napier, and after Louisville heads to the ACC next year this should remain the must-see AAC matchup for the foreseeable future)
1/20: Baylor at Kansas (Scott Drew is 3-11 all-time vs. Bill Self, but one of those three was last March in the regular season finale and this could be the best Bears squad ever)
1/23: Colorado at Arizona (These two schools have quite a rivalry going due to a buzzer-beating bank-shot by Colorado that was waived off last January and an Arizona miss at the buzzer in a two-point loss in the 2012 Pac-12 tourney title game, and both teams have a couple of signature wins already this season)

Top-two mid-major conference games of January:
1/11: Wichita State at Missouri State (Gregg Marshall has last year’s Final 4 team off to a 13-0 start so far, and if the Bears cannot pull off the “shocking” upset at home then an undefeated season is a legitimate possibility)
1/31: Princeton at Harvard (These two are the cream of the crop in the Ivy League, and with no conference tourney their two regular season meetings are the de facto games of the year in the conference)

Top-Two non-conference games of January:
1/5: San Diego State at Kansas (The Aztecs only loss of the year was to top-ranked Arizona, so if they can upset the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse then they can start thinking about an NCAA tourney “road” that could include stops in San Diego and Anaheim)
1/8: Harvard at UConn (The Huskies will certainly be favored, but the Crimson’s only loss thus far was an eight point loss at Colorado, so another decent showing against a top-25 team just might foreshadow a 28-2 regular season and a decent seed in the NCAA tourney)

Best home-and-home series of January:
1/13 (Kansas at Iowa State) and 1/29 (Iowa State at Kansas): The Big 12 is going to be a gauntlet all year long, and this pair of games will be a battle of experience (seniors Melvin Ejim/DeAndre Kane) vs. youth (freshmen Andrew Wiggins/Joel Embiid)

Best single day to be at a sports bar:
1/18: The NFL is kind enough to play its conference championship games on the 19th, so spend the previous day watching a whopping SEVEN(!) games featuring matchups between teams projected to be playing deep into March (including a few possible #1 seeds and several NBA lottery picks):

2PM EST: Oklahoma at Baylor
4PM EST: Pitt at Syracuse
4PM EST: Oklahoma State at Kansas
4PM EST: Iowa State at Texas
4PM EST: UCLA at Utah
8PM EST: Michigan State at Illinois
9PM EST: Louisville at UConn