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    Christmas: The time of no games

    PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 24: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils and Mohamed Bamba #4 of the Texas Longhorns go after a rebound during the second half of the game during the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm at the Moda Center on November 24, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. Duke won the game 85-78. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images
    Texas big man Mohamed Bamba (right) will match up against another great freshman, Alabama guard Collin Sexton, on Friday night.

    I don’t dislike Christmas; I just don’t like it as much as March Madness. There are no college basketball games on Christmas Eve and just four on Christmas (the final games in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii). My family really likes Christmas so I’ve got to participate fully. Therefore, it’s good to have TiVo. How else could you get through the holiday without games? I’ll be recording as much as I can Friday and Saturday to give myself a backlog.

    Here are the possibilities:


    Temple at Georgia: UGA fans must be still shaking their heads over that loss to UMass. The Bulldogs have better be ready for Temple and the highly entertaining Quinton Rose.

    Louisiana at Clemson: Seven straight wins for the Ragin’ Cajuns but none would compare with a win over an ACC school. Clemson is 10-1 and won’t go easily. The Tigers’ only loss is to Temple.


    Northwestern at Oklahoma: Just to satisfy my Trae Young obsession. He’ll need to play well if the Sooners are going to win this one.

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    St. Bonaventure at Syracuse: Bona hasn’t lost since Jaylen Adams returned from an injury; they’re capable of winning in the Dome.

    Bradley at Mississippi: The Rebels can’t afford another bad nonconference loss and Bradley is a threat.

    Xavier at Northern Iowa: What a dangerous trip for the Muskies. An upset is a distinct possibility.

    Texas vs. Alabama: A chance to see two of the top freshmen in Texas’s 6-11 Mohamed Bamba and Bama’s 6-3 guard Collin Sexton.


    Davidson vs. New Mexico State in Honolulu: A first-round game in the Diamond Head Classic; it matches up two entertaining offensive teams.


    Kentucky vs. UCLA in New Orleans: An unusual neutral site; both teams have been inconsistent, so it’s hard to predict.

    Illinois vs. Missouri in St. Louis: A great rivalry; Missouri has been surprisingly good even though they’ve lost freshman Michael Porter Jr. to injury.

    Joe Sullivan can be reached at