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Top 5 Games to Watch on College Basketball’s Opening Night

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Top 5 Games to Watch on College Basketball’s Opening Night

Carrier Classic
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Today is Friday Nov. 9 and the start of the another season of college basketball is at our disposal.

As part of college basketball's opening night, there will be 125 Division I-related games that will take place and some of them are can't miss contests. From the second annual and more expanded Carrier Classic to a pivotal early season match-up in Brooklyn, there is plenty of action that you must tune in for.

The 2012-13 season starts with a bang and spans throughout the weekend. The five games listed that follow this opening slide were all taken into consideration from Friday night only.

The non-conference portion of the schedule is a test to all, but more so for others. Teams that expand their out-of-league criteria look to boost their resumes for March. When the NCAA Tournament is on the horizon, it's funny how many times the committee will look, even as far back as November, to determine who's in and who's out of the Big Dance.

There may even be some teams in action tonight that that same idea applies to, so buckle up college basketball fans, another season is ready to tip.

Honorable Mention: Lehigh at Baylor, 5:00pm (EST)

Lehigh made a statement a season ago by shocking second-seeded Duke in the Round of 64. The return of lead guard and one of the nation's most prolific scorers, C.J. McCollum, once again has the Mountain Hawks in the hunt for a run in March. Baylor however, is led by point guard Pierre Jackson and a talented roster in Waco has the makings of a Big 12 title contender.

Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse

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No. 5: Ohio State vs. Marquette

Deshaun Thomas
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Time: 7:00pm (EST)

Location: Off-the-coast of Charleston, South Carolina

Coming in at No. 5 is one of two aircraft carrier games in place for Friday night. Just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, Ohio State and Marquette will hit the court to begin the year. The Buckeyes feature one of the more elite rosters in the country, led in large part by juniors Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas. Marquette, on the other hand, looks to replace last year's duo of Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. In addition, projected back court starter Todd Mayo was ruled academically ineligible earlier this week.

The Good Word: The Golden Eagles always play gritty under head coach Buzz Williams, but the Buckeyes should have too many weapons in this one.

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No. 4: North Texas at Creighton

Doug McDermott
Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Time: 8:05pm (EST)

Location: @ Creighton, Omaha, Nebraska

So, why would you want to tune into this game over the likes of Ohio State and Marquette? Well let's be serious, North Texas and Creighton may very well be two teams that you're looking at when filling out your bracket in March. Yup, Creighton and North Texas, and to open up the season, the pair will duke it out in Omaha. The Blue Jays' Doug McDermott is a preseason candidate for National Player of the Year, while the Mean Green have a budding superstar in their own right. I'm referring to Tony Mitchell, whose name very well could be called within the top-10 of next year's NBA Draft.

The Good Word: North Texas has the talent to make some noise this season, but will that noise be loud enough to compete on the road on Friday night? McDermott's the key, but can UNT even hold him below 20 points? Creighton should use the home court atmosphere to their advantage in this one.

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No. 3: UConn vs. Michigan State

Keith Appling
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Time: 5:30pm (EST)

Location: Ramstein Air Base, Germany

Yes, you read that location right. This season opener between UConn and Michigan State will tip-off from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany as part of tonight's military-themed evening in college basketball. The Huskies are entering the season with interesting implications. The talent level took a hit this off-season, Jim Calhoun retired and UConn is banned from competing in the postseason in 2013. So, what do the Huskies plan to do? Well, sending a message to the college basketball world may not be all that farfetched with the back court duo of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. However, Michigan State has a message of their own to send on Friday night, looking to prove their worth as three league rivals are currently entering the season with a higher ranking.

The Good Word: If UConn can control the perimeter, this can be a nail biter. If not, Michigan State should like their chances.

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No. 2: Georgetown vs. Florida

Kenny Boynton
US PRESSWIRE

Time: 9:00pm (EST)

Location: Off-the-coast of Jacksonville, Florida

Another game aboard an aircraft carrier, this season opener between Georgetown and Florida will be played off the coast of Jacksonville. The Hoyas face the daunting task of replacing Hollis Thompson, Jason Clark and Henry Sims from a season ago, but sophomore forward Otto Porter has his sights set on a massive season. Porter's match-up with the Gators' Patric Young should certainly be one to watch, but do the Hoyas have enough firepower to stake their claim at an upset?

The Good Word: As Florida has proven in the past, guard player will be crucial. If the Gators can control the perimeter and limit Porter's production, the advantage is there's.

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No. 1: Kentucky vs. Maryland

Nick Faust
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Time: 8:30pm (EST)

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn will play host to a number of college basketball-related events this season, including the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in a few weeks and the Atlantic 10 tournament come March. On Friday night however, the lights in the city are on and a battle is brewing. The eligibility clearance of Maryland wing Dez Wells is crucial, but can the Terps really pull off the upset? Kentucky has a fresh batch of newcomers looking to defend their national title from a season ago and for them; it's showtime.

The Good Word: The Wildcats' talent is through the roof, but the Terrapins should look at this game as a resume-builder right off the bat. It's virtually a must-win for Kentucky with a date with Duke looming on Tuesday, so expect the Wildcats to rise to the occasion in game number one.