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Alternative Viewing: New Year’s Day College Basketball Buffet

Jan 1, 2012, 10:57 AM EDT

Three regional basketball programs are in action on ESPNU today.
Whether you want to protest management, or plain don’t care about meaningless Week 17 football games, the NFL is not the only game in town today — literally… at least as far as your television is concerned. ESPNU has you covered with three regional basketball programs that find themselves in some intriguing matchups.
1 p.m.
Villanova @ #13 Marquette
After jumping out to a 4-0 start, the Wildcats have gone through a rough patch, winning just three of their last nine. Their losing ways extended into their Big East opener, which they dropped to West Virginia 83-69 in Morgantown on Wednesday.
Things could get worse before they get better, as the Golden Eagles have a talented club that might be in contention for a conference title. However, Marquette has faltered of late as well, losing two of their last three. Can a young Nova crew slip out of Michigan Wisconsin with the upset victory?
5 p.m.
Penn @ #5 Duke
Okay, this one is probably more for Duke fans. On paper, the Quakers are completely overmatched. As usual, the Blue Devils have one of the most highly regarded teams in the nation, and when these programs met two years ago, Penn got trounced to the tune of 114-55. Here’s hoping a better showing is in order.
7 p.m.
Penn State @ Northwestern
The Nittany Lions have hung in there so far this year despite graduating their best, and arguably only player. They are two games above .500, but got smoked by Michigan 71-53 in their Big Ten opener on Thursday.
On the flip side, PSU has historically had success against Northwestern. You have to go all the way back to the 06-07 season to find the last time the… uh, Wildcats beat blue. That said, they are off to a much better start than usual, and may even have the better team this year. We’ll see.