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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Updated: January 25, 10:53 AM ET
Volleyball rematch, potential for VanDerveer's 800th win


Whether you prefer NCAA women's volleyball, milestones in women's college basketball, NFL football or NBA basketball, we've got lots of great action coming up tonight from all across the sports landscape. Here's What We're Watching.

Women's college volleyball: In the first Division I national semifinal, Texas takes on defending champion Penn State in a rematch of last year's NCAA championship, a five-set thriller which will be remembered as one of the best championship matches in tournament history. Tonight marks the first time the finalists from the previous year's championship have met in the national semifinal. The second semifinal pits Pac-10 champion Cal, yet to lose a set in the tournament, against conference rival USC, who has defeated Cal twice this season. Will the Trojans make it three in a row to advance to the championship? For a full semifinal preview, visit ESPN.com. Watch the action starting at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 from Kansas City, Mo.

Women's college basketball: No. 2 Stanford (6-0) at No. 25 DePaul (12-1), 8 p.m. on ESPN3. This game would be notable merely as a top 25 matchup of elite women's basketball programs. But tonight's game has additional significance as Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, in her 32nd season with the Cardinal, goes for her 800th career victory. With a win tonight, VanDerveer would become the fifth women's basketball coach in the Division I 800 win club, joining Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Jody Conradt (Texas), C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers) and Sylvia Hatchell (North Carolina). Random factoid: DePaul head coach Doug Bruno also witnessed Summit's and Stringer's 800th career victories, both notched against DePaul, a good sign for VanDerveer.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers (5-8) at San Diego Chargers (7-6), 8:20 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Ah, the beauty of NFL parity. Thanks to a weak NFC West, the 49ers are in the thick of the playoff race, one game out of first place despite a 5-8 record. A win tonight at highly favored San Diego coupled with losses by the Rams and Seahawks on Sunday would have the 49ers in a three-way tie for first place, and an edge in the tiebreak. The Chargers, behind MVP candidate Philip Rivers, have won five of their past six and are battling for the AFC West title.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks (16-10) at Boston Celtics (20-4), 8 p.m. ET on TNT. Fresh off their thrilling last-second victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, the Celtics are back home seeking a 12th straight win, matching the season highs set by the Mavericks and Spurs already this season. San Antonio Spurs (21-3) at Denver Nuggets (15-9), 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but the Spurs quietly have the best record in the NBA. San Antonio takes its NBA best 9-1 road record to Denver to face the Nuggets, who still have All-Star Carmelo Anthony. For now.

Men's college basketball: There are two games involving top 25 teams: Oral Roberts (4-5) at No. 12 Missouri (8-1), 8 p.m. ET on ESPN3; Austin Peay (6-5) at No. 19 Memphis (7-1), 8 p.m. ET.