Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN2 will feature a pair of top ten matchups tonight with Texas A&M hosting Kentucky at 7 p.m. EDT and Connecticut hosting Baylor at 9 p.m. EDT. The following are a few relevant links from around SB Nation as well as some WNBA draft notes for WNBA fans.
We haven't been posting game day threads for nationally televised college games this season and we're not changing that tonight simply because of the magnitude of the games.
With SB Nation United, we have the ability to just slide previews and recaps from other sites around the network into the layout so I normally just do that when they notify me - it's quicker and gives you content from the voice of those fans directly, which I always love to support. But tonight, three previews for these two games popped up - with more coming - so I decided to just throw them together in one post.
So without further ado, here's the vital information from the relevant SBN sites for tonight's big games on ESPN2. Feel free to drop other links of your own in the comments.
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Kentucky Wildcats
7 p.m. EDT - ESPN2
College Station, TX - Reed Arena
Avid college basketball fans probably don't need anyone to tell them that this game will come down to defense, specifically how each team handles the opponent's pressure and minimizes turnovers.
Jim Hu writing over at SBN's Good Bull Hunting detailed the keys to this game from a Texas A&M perspective, which focused on defense but also highlighted a player who might figure prominently.
Jennifer O'Neill. UK's 2 guard, A'dia Mathies is their biggest star and will draw our best defender, but the point guard position could be decisive. O'Neill had a great game in the Cats comeback win vs S. Carolina, but had some inopportune turnovers in their loss to Georgia.
Greg Alan Edwards of SBN's A Sea of Blue addresses those same issues, but also fills us in on the implications this game has for the SEC title down the line:
If they can take the Aggies, Kentucky will have 2 wins over them this season. Even if Tennessee wins out up to the UK game, if the Wildcats win that game, they win the conference. In between these games, UK only has to travel to LSU and Ole Miss to get victories there. Only.
Go ahead and click their links to get more perspective from each side of that game. For WNBA fans, there's a pair of major draft prospects in this game: 6'5" Texas A&M center Kelsey Bone and Kentucky guard A'dia Mathies. We've talked more about Mathies at this site, but Bone is also someone who could be selected in the first round (if she elects to leave school this year).
UConn Huskies vs. Baylor Lady Bears
9 p.m. EDT - ESPN2
Hartford, CT - XL Center
It's gotten to the point where it's almost impossible to be a sports fan at all without having heard of Baylor's Brittney Griner. I'd probably go a step further and say that even non-sports fans have heard of her, but sadly my life as it currently stands doesn't include many non-sports fans so I'm not able to confirm that through personal experience.
Anyway, some people think she's had an impact on the game or something and Kate Morrison of SBN's Our Daily Bears summarized that earlier today.
Baylor is currently 24-1 on the season, with their only loss coming to Stanford after an injury to point guard Odyssey Sims. Jordan Madden might be a deciding factor in tonight's matchup, a welcome development from the senior guard who has become Baylor's "defensive stopper" after three years of hard work. This is also another "last" for Brittney Griner, her last game against UConn in the regular season before she moves on to the WNBA, and in her four years she has changed the way that women's basketball is played.
This fourth meeting all-time between these two teams is sold out, according to a release from UConn.
For WNBA fans, one draft prospect is obvious: Brittney Griner, a likely first pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. But also on the first round radar might be UConn guard Kelly Faris, who has answered a lot of questions about her game and pro potential this season.
For those interested in watching these games, A Sea of Blue usually has a good crowd of Kentucky fans on their game threads and ODB will be hosting a thread posted closer to game time as well (Update: ODB's game thread has been posted here).
Or you can feel free to follow along here and drop your thoughts. No matter how you watch, it should be pretty good basketball so enjoy.
For more on the 2013 WNBA draft, check out our draft prospects storystream.