This Weekend in Sports: College Basketball and a Super Bowl Preview?
Get ready for the return of college basketball and an inter-conference clash of NFL powers. Here's what to watch this weekend:
Friday, Nov. 9
Maryland vs. (3) Kentucky
Barclays Center, Brooklyn; 8:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Returning national champion Kentucky opens the 2012-13 college basketball season against Maryland at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Even though head coach John Calipari lost his entire starting lineup to the NBA, the Wildcats have Willie Cauley-Stein, Nerlens Noel and other blue-chip players who figure to present quite a challenge for the Terrapins.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets
Pepsi Center, Denver; 10:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Two Northwest Division teams with playoff aspirations duel on Friday night as Denver (2-3) hosts Utah (2-3). The Jazz stopped a three-game losing streak by beating the Lakers on Wednesday behind Randy Foye and Al Jefferson. The Nuggets are still getting comfortable with off-season acquisition Andre Iguodala, who can be a force at both ends of the floor.
Saturday, Nov. 10
(11) Oregon State at (14) Stanford
Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif.; 3 p.m. (ET) on Fox
Oregon State (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) hopes receivers Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton can deliver big yardage against a Cardinal defense that has shut down some of the best offenses in the country. Stanford (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) will start Kevin Hogan at quarterback in place of the inconsistent Josh Nunes.
(15) Texas A&M at (1) Alabama
Bryant Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; 3:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Few teams are as dangerous on offense as Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2 SEC), which averages 44.7 points and 559.6 yards per game. Top-ranked Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC) and its stout defense can advance to the SEC championship game with a win.
(21) Mississippi St. at (7) LSU
LSU Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.; 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) looks to rebound from its close loss to top-ranked Alabama last week. The Tigers and quarterback Zach Mettenberger host Mississippi St. (7-2, 3-2 SEC), which has the nation's 21st-ranked pass defense.
(4) Notre Dame at Boston College
Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.; 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Notre Dame (9-0) is undefeated this late in a season for the first time since 1993. The Fighting Irish visit Boston College (2-7), which defeated unbeaten Notre Dame teams in 2002 and 1993.
Sunday, Nov. 11
Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.; 3:15 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Jimmie Johnson leads NASCAR's Sprint Cup points standings heading into the next-to-last race at Phoenix. Second place Brad Keselowski is just seven points away from Johnson, with Clint Bowyer a distant third, 26 points behind the leader.
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
Soldier Field, Chicago; 8:20 p.m. (ET) on NBC
Hyped as a potential Super Bowl preview, Houston (7-1) visits Chicago (7-1) in a battle of teams with stingy defenses and effective offenses. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub faces a Bears defense that has scored seven defensive touchdowns on the season, which ties them for third most in NFL history for a single season. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler can expect pressure from a Houston defense that already has 24 sacks on the season.