?Notre Dame at Southern Cal
ABC 3:30 PM
Matt LoVecchio is:
A) The title of CBS's new hit detective drama
B) The real name of Katie Couric's Today cohost
C) The Fighting Irish's freshman quarterback, who has led them to six straight wins. Notre Dame's last two visits to the Los Angeles Coliseum, both losses (in 1996 and '98), dashed its major-bowl dreams, but if the 8-2 Irish win today, a berth in either the Fiesta or the Sugar Bowl is likely.
? North Carolina at Michigan State
ESPN2 7:30 PM
Having ended the Harlem Globetrotters' 1,270-game winning streak in an exhibition, will the Spartans replace their Big Ten schedule with a series against the Washington Generals? (Or Wizards?) Michigan State, last season's NCAA champ, has a player almost as entertaining as Geese Ausbie in 6'9" freshman center Zach Randolph. The Tar Heels counter with swingman Joseph Forte and new coach Matt Doherty, a globe-trotter of sorts from Hicksville, N.Y., and, most recently, South Bend.
? Lions at Vikings
ESPN 8:30 PM
Like Larry Sanders, Benny Anders and Audrey and Judy Landers, Barry Sanders has gone away. Last week Motown's erstwhile All-Pro running back wed an anchorwoman, launched a website and said he'd remain retired. A week earlier the Lions suffered their most recent major defection when coach Bobby Ross resigned. Still, a helmet-banging defense led by middle linebacker Stephen Boyd was keeping Detroit (7-4 through Sunday) in the thick of the NFC wild-card chase.
?Pacers at Lakers
TBS 10:30 PM
Indiana and Los Angeles (above), last June's NBA Finalists, upgraded in the off-season by adding, respectively, an Isiah and an Isaiah. The Pacers hired Isiah Thomas, whose curriculum hoopae now reads "player, general manager, minority owner, cameo role in Hoop Dreams, minor league commissioner, TV commentator and coach." The Lakers grabbed guard Isaiah Rider, the most itinerant purported bad guy this side of Dr. Richard Kimble. Indiana also felt obligated to get its own O'Neal (Jermaine). Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who supposedly made 2,000 jumpers a day last summer, continues to jack them up (a team-leading 21.4 shots per game through Sunday).
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.