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Big 12 - Thursday Game Previews

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After a fairly light round of games on Wednesday night in the Big 12, much more action heats up today and tonight. There are six Big 12 teams in action highlighted by #22 Texas taking on #16 Illinois from New York City. While the majority of the games have a chance to be blowouts there are a couple worth tuning in for to see who wins.

Nebraska vs. Vanderbilt (12:30, ESPNU) - The Cornhuskers are playing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and thus have to step up their level of competition against an SEC school. Nebraska must shut down Vanderbilt's PG Brad Tinsley who had a triple double in the Commodores season opener and forward Jeffrey Taylor who had 27 points. Should be an early litmus test for Doc Sadler's team.

Texas Southern at Oklahoma (7 P.M.) - This game could represent a for Jeff Capel's squad as Texas Southern recently played Wichita State and only lost by a score of 79-67. Oklahoma will hope to see the continued progression of Andrew Fitzgerald & Cameron Clark in another non-conference tilt they should win. Following the game with the Sooners, Texas Southern's next three games are all on the road at Oregon, Oregon State & Kansas State. Tough way to open a year for those kids.

Jackson State at Baylor (7 P.M.) - A game which on paper would appear to be nothing more than a nice scrimmage for Baylor to continue and work as a team without LaceDarius Dunn. Jackson State is 0-2 on the season with huge losses against Central Florida and TCU. Hopefully a game where can get to see how much Perry Jones can dominate.

Western Illinois at Missouri (7 P.M) - The Tigers home opener should be a fun time for the fans getting to watch newcomers Ricardo Ratliffe & Phil Pressey and probably seeing the Tigers win by about 50 points. The Leathernecks from W. Illinois are coming off a 13-17 season and aren't expected to challenge for the title in the Summit League. Even in Mike Anderson's system where many waves of players get solid minutes, should be interesting to see which combinations he goes with in this one.

Presbyterian at (3) Kansas State (7 P.M.) - Will this game represent the return of Curtis Kelly before KSU travels to KC to play Gonzaga next Monday night? With or without Kelly the Wildcats should easily roll in the contest against Presbyterian who is coming off a 5-26 season while still transitioning over to D1 basketball. Look for K-State to try and get Wally Judge, Freddy Asprilla and maybe Kelly involved early to try and establish their low post scoring. In their opening game of the season Presbyterian lost to Vanderbilt 88-47.

(16) Illinois vs. (22) Texas (8:30 P.M, ESPNU) - The main event for Big 12 play on Thursday comes from Madison Square Garden in New York with this early season gem. Texas has looked impressive in the young season with freshman Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph combining with an improved Jordan Hamilton to vault the Longhorns solidly back into the polls. Illinois is led by guard Demetri McCamey who averaged 15.3 points last season. This should represent quite a test for Texas as the Illini have become almost a sexy pick by some to go deep in the NCAA Tournament this season.