We made it.
No doubt you’re at work right now looking at the schedule for night one of the college basketball season, trying to plan your attack against a loaded slate.
There’s a lot going on and it’s tough to sift through. I’m here to help — not just for tonight, but for the entire season. See, it’s easy to just watch whatever team ESPN is highlighting on a particular night. It’s easy to just watch the Champions Classic tonight, then take a nap until Feast Week.
But you’ll regret it. You’ll regret it in March when your entire office is relying on you, the basketball guru, for bracket help. You’ll regret it when your girlfriend/boyfriend/neighbor/parole officer asks you what you know about surprise CAA winner Hofstra and if you think they could spring an upset.
Here’s what I’ve done for you: I’ve highlighted one game you should watch every day that there is basketball from now until the end of the regular season. No, this isn’t just a list of the best games — though there are some great ones on here. I compiled this list in a way that ensures you see a variety of teams, from a variety of conferences, in (hopefully) competitive environments. There’s plenty of Nevada, Gonzaga, and San Diego State on here. But there’s also plenty of Southland and #WACtion. I’ve prioritized games that are easy to find on TV or online, but for some of these you may have to do some hunting.
So, without further ado, allow me to plan the next four months of your life:
(all times Eastern)
Tuesday, Nov. 6: BYU at Nevada, CBS Sports, 11 p.m.
The perfect night cap after the Champions Classic ends (we don’t judge, we know you’re watching the bluebloods to start, that’s fine). Throw this one on rather than your cable news channel of choice as election results flood in. You’ll like it better. You know Nevada is stacked, but BYU is really, really good as well and this could be a tough game. The Cougars return four starters, including Yoeli Childs, who averaged 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last year. They also get back Nick Emery, spent last year away from the team but was a double-digit scorer in 2016-17.
Wednesday, Nov. 7: Bucknell at St. Bonaventure, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 8: Alabama State at South Dakota State, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
It’s a slow night in college basketball, so why not watch some Mike Daum?
Friday, Nov. 9: Yale vs. California, ESPNU, 11 p.m.
Yale and Cal square off in Shanghai where both teams will try to avoid back-to-back years of international incidents created by college basketball players.
Saturday, Nov. 10: Illinois State at Belmont, ESPN3, 8 p.m.
The first week of the season is loaded with great mid-major matchups and this is one of the gems. Milik Yarbrough (Illinois State) and Dylan Windler (Belmont) could both be player of the year in their conferences.
Sunday, Nov. 11: Florida Gulf Coast at Michigan State, BTN, 6 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 12: Buffalo at Southern Illinois, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 13: Gardner-Webb at Furman, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 14: Saint Mary’s at New Mexico State, FCS Pacific, 9 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 15: Alabama vs. Northeastern, Charleston Classic, ESPNU, 2 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 16: South Dakota State at Florida Gulf Coast, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17: Saint Louis at Seton Hall, FS2, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18: Charleston at Oklahoma State, FOX Sports Southwest, 4 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 19: Illinois State vs. Georgia, Cayman Islands Classic, Facebook, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 20: Wright State vs. Penn State, Cancun Challenge, CBS Sports, 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 21: Harvard at San Francisco, Stadium Sports, 10 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 22: Grand Canyon vs. Seton Hall, Wooden Legacy, ESPN3, 9 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 23: George Mason vs. Cincinnati, Emerald Coast Classic, CBS Sports, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 24: Houston at BYU, TBA, TBA
Sunday, Nov. 25: Bucknell at Vermont, 2 p.m.
Mid-Major Madness will (hopefully) be in Burlington for this one. Come say hi if you are as well.
Monday, Nov. 26: Wofford at South Carolina, SEC Network, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 27: Nevada at Loyola University Chicago, ESPN News, 8 p.m.
No disrespect to ESPN News, but this game belongs on one of the two main ESPN channels. It’s a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal between two teams that should be every bit as good as (or better than!) they were last year. Rumor has it Cameron Krutwig, last year’s MVC freshman of the year, is in much better shape and it will be fun to watch him inside against Trey Porter and Jordan Brown.
Wednesday, Nov. 28: Montana at Creighton, FS1, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 29: LIU Brooklyn vs. Albany, Belfast Classic, CBS Sports, 2 p.m.
Basketball in Ireland, for reasons.
Friday, Nov. 30: Duquesne vs. Pittsburgh, ACC Extra, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 1: Missouri State at Oregon State, Pac-12 Network, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 2: Colgate at Florida Gulf Coast, 1:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 3: Vermont at George Mason, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 4: William & Mary at Old Dominion, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Washington at Gonzaga, ESPN2, 11 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 6: Drake at Milwaukee, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 7: UMass at Providence, FS1, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8: UNLV at Illinois, BTN, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9: Gonzaga vs. Tennessee, ESPN, 2 p.m.
Two Final Four contenders meeting on a neutral court during the annual December basketball lull? Yes please.
[Quickly googles “Tennessee basketball” because there’s no way that can be right]
Oh wow. So Grant Williams could be the SEC Player of the Year and Admiral Schofield is a member of the national all-name team. They’ve got “some guys.” Tune in.
Monday, Dec. 10: CS Fullerton at Saint Mary’s, Stadium Sports, 10 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 11: Colorado at New Mexico, ESPN2, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 12: UMass at Temple, ESPN3, 7 p.m.
I’m a sucker for old conference rivalries being renewed (if you know me, you know why). The Minutemen will be an interesting team this year with scoring machine Luwane Pipkins (21.2 ppg) getting some help from Fairfield transfer Curtis Cobb. They’ll look to spoil Fran Dunphy’s farewell tour.
Thursday, Dec. 13: Eastern Washington at San Francisco, Stadium Sports, 10 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 14: Green Bay at Creighton, FS1, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 15: East Tennessee State at Illinois, BTN, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 16: West Virginia vs. Rhode Island, CBS Sports, 1 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 17: Ball State at Valparaiso, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 18: Albany at Providence, FOX Sports, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 19: Wofford at Mississippi State, SEC Network, 8 p.m.
Slow night. Watch some Fletcher Magee.
Thursday, Dec. 20: Ohio at Purdue, BTN, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 21: St. Bonaventure at Northeastern, NESN, Noon
Saturday, Dec. 22: Iona at Yale, ESPN+, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 23: Manhattan at St. Francis Brooklyn, 2 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 24: NO GAMES SCHEDULED SPEND CHRISTMAS EVE WITH YOUR FAMILY, YOU DEGENERATES
Tuesday, Dec. 25: Diamond Head Classic Championship Game, ESPN2, 9 p.m.
The Diamond Head Classic is the only thing on the schedule and it’s championship day so we have no idea what the matchups will be. In the event that TCU plays Colorado in the title game (boring!), watch either Rhode Island or Bucknell play. One of them will probably have UNLV.
Wednesday, Dec. 26: NO GAMES SCHEDULED BUT HEY MAYBE THAT DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ENDS AFTER MIDNIGHT, TECHNICALLY GIVE YOU BASKETBALL
Thursday Dec. 27: UMKC at Creighton, FS1, 8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 28: Drexel at Northeastern, NESN-Plus, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29: UMBC at Penn State, BTN, TBA
Sunday, Dec. 30: Alabama at Stephen F. Austin, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
Hey, credit Avery Johnson for agreeing to take his team to [checks spelling] Nacogdoches. Especially in a year when the Lumberjacks should be really good. If you’re not familiar, Shannon Bogues, Kevon Harris, and TJ Holyfield combine to form a trio that should bring SFA to the NCAA Tournament.
Monday, Dec. 31: Marshall at Virginia, ACC Network, 1 p.m.
The best defense vs. one of the funnest offenses. The first 1 seed to lose to a 16 vs. an upset special in last year’s tournament. A battle of Good vs. Evil. If Marshall wins, Tony Bennett gets sent to prison, that is the rule.
Tuesday, Jan. 1: CSU Northridge at San Diego State, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 2: Northern Iowa at Bradley, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 3: Louisiana Tech at North Texas, ESPN+, 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 4: Ball State at Toledo, CBS Sports, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 5: La Salle at UMass, NBC Sports, 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 6: South Dakota State at South Dakota, Midco SN, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 7: Texas Southern at Southern, TBA
This is more in here for my enjoyment. During my freshman year at NYU, my roommate and I started a two-person dynasty on whatever college basketball 2K game was out at the time. He was Texas Southern. I was Southern. We both won multiple national championships in the SWAC. IT. COULD. HAPPEN.
Tuesday, Jan. 8: Eastern Michigan at Ball State, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 9: Air Force at Colorado State, Mountain West Network, 9 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 10: UC Davis at UC Irvine, BigWest.tv, TBD
Friday, Jan. 11: Wright State at Northern Kentucky, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12: Cal Baptist at Chicago State, 3 p.m.
OK, if you end up actually seeking this game out and are a fan of neither team, please seek medical help. It’s the newest team to Division I playing at perhaps the worst, most hopeless team in Division I. Actually, it’s almost too gruesome to pass up.
Sunday, Jan. 13: Rider at Niagara, 2 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 14: Holy Cross at Bucknell, CBS Sports, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 15: Southern Illinois at Illinois State, CBS Sports, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 16: Campbell at UNC Asheville, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 17: Belmont at Jacksonville State, ESPN+, 8:15 p.m.
Are these the two best teams in the OVC? Well, Murray State probably has something to say about that, but they’re both contenders, for sure. You already know about Windler, but also watch out for Jacksonville State’s Jason Burnell.
Friday, Jan. 18: Saint Joseph’s at Saint Louis, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 19: Oakland at Detroit, ESPN+, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20: Duquesne at George Washington, NBC Sports, 4 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 21: Marshall at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports, 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 22: New Mexico at UNLV, CBS Sports, 10 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: Illinois State at Bradley, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 24: Florida Gulf Coast at Lipscomb, 6:30 p.m.
Find a stream for this one or listen on the radio. It’ll be worth it, I promise. Remember that batshit ASUN title game these two teams played? Lipscomb went up by 32 points on FGCU’s home court then the Eagles pulled to within five in the second half? Any game that ends 108-96 is a good one and this was no exception.
Friday, Jan. 25: Rider at Iona, ESPNU (maybe, it’s a MAAC flex game), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 26: Jacksonville State at Morehead State, ESPN+, 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27: Southern Illinois at Loyola University Chicago, CBS Sports (maybe, it’s an MVC flex game), 2 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 28: NC Central at Savannah State, ESPNU (maybe, it’s a MEAC flex game), 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29: Kent State at Western Michigan, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 30: Lehigh at Lafayette, Lafayette Sports Network, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 31: Gonzaga at BYU, ESPN2, 11 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 1: Yale at Harvard, ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2: Grand Canyon at CSU Bakersfield, WAC Digital Network, 10 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3: Northern Kentucky at UIC, ESPN+, 4 p.m
Monday, Feb. 4: Alabama State at Prairie View, PVAMU Sports Network, 7:30 p.m.
You know what? You haven’t watched enough SWACtion this year. Here’s your chance to change that.
Tuesday, Feb. 5: San Diego State at New Mexico, ESPN2, 11 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 6: CS Fullerton at UC Irvine, BigWest.tv, TBD
Thursday, Feb. 7: Whatever Big South Game is on ESPNU, 7 p.m.
ESPNU will be showing either: Gardner-Webb at Longwood, Campbell at High Point, Radford at Hampton, Winthrop at Charleston Southern, or UNC Asheville at Presbyterian. Root for Radford-Hampton to be the one they choose so you can see Ed Polite Jr. of the Highlanders go up against a Pirates team that should finish in the top third of the conference in its first season.
Friday, Feb. 8: Georgia State at Louisiana, ESPN2, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9: Boston University at Bucknell, Patriot League Network, Noon
Sunday, Feb. 10: Illinois State at Missouri State, ESPNU (maybe, it’s an MVC flex game), 4 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 11: Portland State at Sacramento State, BigSkyConf.com, 10:35 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: Eastern Michigan at Ohio, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 13: Richmond at VCU, ESPN2/U, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 14: Jacksonville State at Tennessee Tech, ESPN+, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 15: Saint Joseph’s at Davidson, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16: Army at Navy, CBS Sports, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 17: Fairfield at Niagara, 2 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 18: Boston University at Holy Cross, CBS Sports, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Bucknell at Colgate, Stadium Sports, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 20: Southeastern Louisiana at New Orleans, UNOPrivateers.com, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 21: Fort Wayne at South Dakota State, Midco SN, 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 22: Iona at Manhattan, ESPNU (probably, it’s a MAAC flex game), 7 p.m.
Rivalry night in the Bronx! The two campuses are separated by just 10 miles and have played plenty of memorable ones at Draddy over the years. You can still expect good things from the Gaels this year, even without Roland Griffin, but they may not be a surefire top-three MAAC team like we thought.
Saturday, Feb. 23: Denver at North Dakota, FOX Sports North, 4 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 24: Green Bay at IUPUI, ESPN+, 1 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 25: South Carolina State at NC Central, ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Saint Louis at VCU, CBS Sports, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 27: Colorado State at Boise State, Mountain West Network, 9 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 28: Austin Peay at Eastern Kentucky, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
THIS IS MARCH
Friday, March 1: Penn at Harvard, ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 2: Princeton at Harvard, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 3: Conference USA TBA, Facebook or Stadium Sports
This is one of those TBA CUSA dates — set aside at the beginning of the year to pit similar teams in the standings against each other with the goal of giving the upper portion of the conference more opportunities against quality opponents. And with Western Kentucky, Old Marshall, Old Dominion, and (to a lesser extent) North Texas and Texas San Antonio primed for solid years, there’s guaranteed to be a high-stakes game to catch.
Monday, March 4: ASUN Tournament Quarterfinals, TBD
The ASUN kicks off conference tournament season, so forget about all the regular season games for a night and watch any (or all) of the four quarterfinal games.
Tuesday, March 5: Stephen F. Austin at Abilene Christian, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6: St. Bonaventure at Davidson, Stadium Sports, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 7: Grand Canyon at Utah Valley, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 8: Yale at Penn, ESPN+, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 9: San Diego State at Nevada, CBS Sports Network, 10:30 p.m.
Will this game determine the Mountain West championship? Well, Nevada should have it all wrapped up by now but you never know. The two best teams in the conference on the final day of the season is always worth watching, and at worst, it’s a chance for each team to notch one more quality win.
Sunday, March 10: Big South and ASUN Championship games, ESPN Networks, TBD
The final day of the college basketball regular season features two conference title games. Watch em.