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Thursday, January 6, 2011
Updated: January 25, 10:20 AM ET
Open season: ACC women's hoops

Women's college basketball:The ACC is bringing the hotness with tonight's games. No. 3 Duke hosts No. 15 Maryland in a rivalry matchup that will be sure to bring out the Cameron Crazies. The two schools' head-to-head record couldn't be any closer: They've played 73 times, and the Terps lead the series 37-36.

Meanwhile, two other ACC teams also open conference play in Atlanta, where undefeated and No. 8-ranked North Carolina visits the unranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who are enjoying a nine-game winning streak.

NBA: A sprained right knee has kept Dirk Nowitzki out of the Mavs' last five games and will keep him out of tonight's contest with the Thunder. With Caron Butler (knee) out for the season, Nowitzki's presence is even more critical for the Mavs, who are looking to complete a three-game season sweep of the Thunder at American Airlines Center. Nowitzki ties his 2001-02 season mark for most regular-season games missed tonight. Without Nowitzki, Dallas needs to rely heavily on Jason Terry and DeShawn Stevenson.

On the left coast, the Nuggets will wrap up a two-game road trip against one of the Western Conference's worst teams -- the Sacramento Kings. Carmelo Anthony, who missed five games recently following the death of his sister, seemed to get his groove back Wednesday night against the Clippers, scoring 31 points and grabbing nine boards. Look for another explosive game from Melo; the Kings' defense can't contain him.

College football: Go Bowl, Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (Ohio). The winner of my Most Improved Award of the season goes to the RedHawks of Miami, Ohio. After finishing 1-11 last season they improved by eight wins this season, finishing 9-4. If the RedHawks win tonight against Middle Tennessee, they would match the FBS record for biggests single-season turnaround. I'll be watching just to see if the little guy triumphs.