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

Even though it is the shortest month of the year, you still need a viewing guide for February as well as the reasons you should 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.

february

GAMES TO CIRCLE ON YOUR CALENDAR
Top-10 conference games of February:
2/8: Michigan at Iowa (The Hawkeyes have not made the NCAA tourney since 2006, and after losing in Ann Arbor on 1/22 they will have revenge on their mind when they host the Wolverines in Iowa City)
2/11: Michigan at Ohio State (These two legendary rivals only face each other once in the regular season, and freshman point guard Derrick Walton will get his first [and possibly last] look at senior point man Aaron Craft)
2/11: Oklahoma State at Texas (Marcus Smart made more free throws [16-15] and had more steals [6-5] than the entire Longhorns team in an 87-74 win on 1/8, so look for Texas coach Rick Barnes to try and make Smart look the opposite of himself in the rematch)
2/12: Syracuse at Pitt (This the only road game the Orange will play during the first half of February, and Pitt started the season 12-0 at home before a loss to Duke earlier this week)
2/15: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (The Sooners won the first edition of “Bedlam” last Monday, and if the Cowboys hope to even the score they will have to put a body or three on Ryan Spangler to prevent him from recording another 17-rebound night)
2/15: Florida at Kentucky (The Gators only have one loss since Thanksgiving but Kentucky’s freshmen have been growing up fast: the winner of this one will have the inside track on the SEC regular-season title)
2/16: Villanova at Creighton (The Wildcats’ only home loss this year was on 1/20 when the Bluejays made a conference-record 21 shots from behind the arc, so their perimeter defense will be put to the test when they head to Omaha)
2/22: Louisville at Cincinnati (The Bearcats begin a daunting three-game stretch against the defending champs/UConn/Memphis, so we will finally figure out if they are a pretender or a contender)
2/22: Syracuse at Duke (The first game between Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski will take place in front of 36,000 people at the Carrier Dome, and Round two should see the Crazies bringing their A game at Cameron)
2/23: Michigan State at Michigan (Keith Appling’s double-double was not enough to get the Spartans over the hump in their five point home loss to the Wolverines on 1/25, but if all of his teammates are healthy by late-February then they have a decent shot in this intrastate battle)

Top five mid-major games of February:
2/5: Wichita State at Indiana State (The Shockers could be 23-0 entering this game, and if they leave with yet another win then 31-0 will become a VERY realistic possibility)
2/6: Murray State at Belmont (The Racers and the Bruins both lost a ton of star power from last year, yet they still lead their respective OVC divisions as they come together for their only regular-season meeting)
2/8: Northern Colorado at Weber State (The Bears throttled the Wildcats by 19 points on 1/9, but if they can return the favor at home then they have a decent shot of making the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2007)
2/21: Mercer at Florida Gulf Coast (The Eagles rode “Dunk City” all the way to the Sweet 16 last March, but new coach Joe Dooley has been looking up at the Bears all season due to their 12-1 record in their past 13 games)
2/22: San Diego State at New Mexico (The Aztecs have won 17 in a row since losing to #1 Arizona in its second game of the year, and if they can get by the Lobos then they have to be considered a favorite to join the Wildcats as a #1 seed in the tourney)

Top non-conference game of February:
2/8: Gonzaga at Memphis (Most teams do not schedule non-conference opponents this late in the season, but coaches like Josh Pastner/Mark Few do not make the NCAA tourney every single year because they are afraid of the occasional challenge)

Best single day in February to be at a sports bar:
2/1: Give your eyeballs a good pre-Super Bowl workout this Saturday by watching give games that will go a long way toward determining what seed everyone gets in March (including a few possible #1 seeds and several NBA lottery picks):
12PM EST: Ohio State at Wisconsin (this game looked a lot better a month ago when both teams were undefeated, but if you like great defense then this game is right up your alley)
1PM EST: Kentucky at Missouri (None of the Tigers’ four losses this year have been by more than 6 points, so expect them to be super-competitive when the Wildcats travel to Columbia)
4PM EST: Oklahoma at Iowa State (this game also looked a lot better a month ago, but if you like great offense then this game is right up your alley)
4PM EST: Kansas at Texas (The Jayhawks spent January beating up on every single ranked team in the Big 12, but the Longhorns have quietly been doing the same and will have an entire week to prepare for this huge showdown)
6:30PM EST: Duke at Syracuse (Two Hall of Fame coaches and two storied programs meet up for the first time as conference rivals: do not miss it!!)

Best Valentine’s Day gift:
2/14: Arizona at Arizona State (The Wildcats embarrassed the Sun Devils by 23 points on 1/16, and CHD’s own Jon Teitel will be in Tempe in person for the next Duel in the Desert)

JonTeitel