By Bill Trocchi
January 13, 2010

Giving you a rundown on the top three games on tonight's college basketball slate:

1. No. 12 North Carolina (12-4, 1-0 ACC) at No. 24 Clemson (13-3, 1-1), 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

North Carolina welcomed back injured starters Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard on Sunday night, and the Heels responded to their embarrassing loss to the College of Charleston by dumping Virginia Tech 78-64. Ginyard gives the Heels a defensive presence, while Graves can loosen up zones with his outside shooting. UNC's last visit to Clemson was a classic, with the Tar Heels winning 90-88 on a three-pointer by Wayne Ellington with 0.4 seconds remaining two years ago. Clemson is 8-1 at home, losing only to Illinois on a night the Tigers blew a 23-point lead. Trevor Booker will give UNC's massive front line a challenge.

2. No. 16 Pittsburgh (13-2, 3-0 Big East) at No. 15 UConn (11-4, 2-2), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2

First-place Pittsburgh was picked eighth in the Big East by Blue Ribbon prior to the season, which is where UConn finds itself after four games. Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown missed the early part of the season for the Panthers, and since they have returned, Pitt has played very well. Brown had 17 points off the bench in a win at Cincinnati and Dixon scored 21 when Pitt upset Syracuse. UConn is scratching its head after blowing a 19-point lead to Georgetown on Saturday. UConn leads the nation in blocked shots per game (as usual) and is third in the Big East in field goal percentage defense. Teams need to shoot well from three to beat UConn at home, and Pittsburgh is just an average three-point-shooting team at 36.3 percent and 5.7 per game.

3. No. 13 Wisconsin (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten) at Northwestern (12-3, 1-2), 8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Everyone from Sports Illustrated to is desperately following Northwestern's quest to earn its first NCAA tournament bid in history. Northwestern will likely be underdogs in its next three games (Wisconsin, Purdue, at Ohio State), so the Wildcats will do well to walk away with just one win in this stretch. Northwestern catches a break by playing Wisconsin in its first game without forward Jon Leuer, who broke his wrist in Wisconsin's win over Purdue. Leuer was the Badgers' second-leading scorer and top rebounder. Look for Wisconsin to go with a smaller lineup and try to defend the three, Northwestern's No. 1 weapon.

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