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Tuesday Preview: Illinois State’s bounce back, red-hot Buffalo and more

Here’s your guide to Tuesday’s mid-major action.

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Tuesday and there’s basketball. Need way say more?

Here are the games and story lines to follow, along with all of your watching/streaming needs:

Northern Illinois at Buffalo | 7:00 PM ET | ESPN3

The Huskies’ surprise 4-1 MAC start gave way to a 2-3 stretch, but they’re still tied atop the jumbled MAC West. Keeping pace will be difficult. Buffalo has been red-hot lately, putting up its three best offensive performances of the season the past three games. Versatile forward Blake Hamilton has been a match up nightmare over that stretch, averaging 28.3 points, 6.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game. He should be marked by Northern Illinois ace defender Aaric Armstead in a can’t-miss clash.

Illinois State at Drake | 8:00 PM ET | ESPN3

Improbable as it may sound, Des Moines has become a tough MVC trip. Just ask Wichita State, which had to earn a victory at the Knapp Center last week. We all know what happened next. The Shockers steamrolled Illinois State behind a 35-4 mid-game run. After the game, Dan Muller talked to the Pantagraph about his decision to call only one timeout during the blitz.

“Did I want them to figure it out for themselves? Yes and I wanted them to have the feeling of what it felt like to continue to get dominated, to be honest,” said Muller. “I could see in their faces not a lot was going to change.”

No matter the opponent, how the Redbirds respond is a big story. They’ll try and rebound against a 5-7 Drake team that has been more competitive than many would’ve thought when Jeff Rutter replaced Ray Giacoletti in early December. They don’t have the interior heft to exploit MiKyle McIntosh’s absence, or a defender capable of frustrating Paris Lee a la Zach Brown. But they do have two players capable of scoring in bunches in Reed Timmer and De’Antae McMurray.

Other story lines to follow:

  • Akron hadn’t lost since Dec. 10 before falling at Ohio last Saturday. Can the Zips start another winning streak against a Ball State team that has won six of its last eight games? (Ball State at Akron | 7:00 PM ET | American Sports Network/ESPN3)
  • Iona is the only team with a realistic chance of catching Monmouth in the MAAC. Can the Gaels keep the dream alive at home against Siena? (Siena at Iona | 7:00 PM ET | ESPN3)
  • Rhode Island’s at-large hopes are still alive, but the margin of error is razor thin. UMass has lost four in a row, but has been right there in each. (Rhode Island at UMass | 7:00 PM ET | CBS Sports Network)
  • Princeton has staked its claim to the Ivy after a long layoff, but gets a third-straight road game. Are the Tigers ripe for a letdown after a hard-fought win over Harvard? (Princeton at Penn | 7:00 PM ET | Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia)

The rest:

Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3
Central Michigan at Ohio, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3
Western Michigan at Miami (OH), 7:00 PM ET, ESPN3
Bowling Green at Kent State, 7:00 PM, Kentstatesports.com
St. Joe’s at Dayton, 7:00 PM ET, American Sports Network
Utah State at Colorado State, 9:00 PM ET, CampusInsiders.com
San Diego State at San Jose State, 11:00 PM ET, CBS Sports Network