ESPN+ Week 12 college basketball viewers' guide: Dayton's Obi Toppin, Atlantic 10 get top billing

Toppin, Crutcher connect for monster jam (0:22)

Jalen Crutcher sends an alley-oop to Obi Toppin who throws it down emphatically. (0:22)

Last week the Big 12 took over ESPN+ with four high-quality matchups, including arguably the best team in the nation (Baylor) hosting Iowa State.

This week, there are two Power 5 games on the slate, but the Atlantic 10 is in the spotlight as Obi Toppin returns to ESPN's streaming service, while three league games sit in our top 10.

In addition to Dayton & Co., the slate features another ranked squad, an all-Philadelphia duel and two potential battles for first place.

1. No. 13 Dayton Flyers at Richmond Spiders (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET)

Despite reaching the Maui Invitational final, conquering a difficult nonconference schedule and suffering only two losses so far -- in OT to Kansas and by two to Colorado -- Dayton still seems underrated nationally.

The Flyers are one of the most unselfish teams in the country and have a legit superstar and Wooden Award candidate in Toppin. A trip to the Final Four in Atlanta is not out of the realm of possibility, yet it still seems as if they haven't received the attention they deserve.

A road matchup against Richmond doesn't just impact the chase for the A-10 regular-season title, but it also provides the Flyers another chance to show that they're a cut above the rest. Even with the Spiders' leading scorer Blake Francis likely out with an injury, Jacob Gilyard and Nick Sherod are strong options offensively, making them a legitimate threat to pull off an upset.

2. No. 23 Texas Tech Red Raiders at TCU Horned Frogs (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

It's always fun to watch an up-and-down offensive affair, but what about a gritty defensive battle featuring a talented youngster vs. a wily veteran?

Texas Tech and TCU are elite defensive teams, as both rank in the top 50 nationally in points allowed and feature coaches in Chris Beard and Jamie Dixon who preach toughness and hard-nosed play.

The difference in this matchup could come down to two players. Texas Tech's focal point is freshman Jahmi'us Ramsey, who has lived up to his billing as a top-notch scorer by averaging 15.5 points. Senior Desmond Bane is the Horned Frogs' go-to guy, as he has put up double figures in all but two games. The player more equipped to handle the defensive pressure will likely lead his team to victory.

3. Duquesne Dukes at Rhode Island Rams (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET)

The question continues to persist: Is Duquesne really as good as its record indicates? The Dukes have beaten who they are expected to defeat so far this season, but are they capable of topping the elite teams in the Atlantic 10?

While Rhode Island isn't at the level of Dayton or VCU, it could certainly be the third- or fourth-best program in the league thanks to its elite guard play. Fatts Russell is a superstar, Jeff Dowtin is as solid and as effective as they come, and even Tyrese Martin has started to hit his stride with double figures in three of the last five games.

The Dukes will have much more to prove beyond this outing. The next three games -- at Rhode Island, at UMass and home vs. Dayton -- could be one of the toughest stretches of the season for coach Keith Dambrot's team.

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys at Iowa State Cyclones (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, Big 12 Now on ESPN+)

This is a clash between two units that have immense potential, but haven't found their footing in conference play. Desperation games are typically fun, and this affair is no different with a potential lottery pick also in action.

Iowa State hasn't played well since its win over Seton Hall, as the Cyclones lost to Florida A&M and have only one victory in the league. We've told you to keep an eye on Tyrese Haliburton the last two weeks, but the guard combined for only 11 points. The NBA prospect is almost certainly due for a big game.

On the flip side, the Cowboys have been a mess. They cruised through the NIT Season Tip-Off at the Barclays Center by blowing out Ole Miss and Syracuse, but their schedule has caught up to them as of late. They've lost every game in the Big 12 by at least seven points, which makes this essentially a must-win.

5. Temple Owls at Pennsylvania Quakers (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)

Penn may be 0-2 in the Ivy League -- with both losses coming vs. Princeton -- but the Quakers certainly have played the role of spoiler this year with wins over Providence, Alabama, La Salle and UCF.

Can AJ Brodeur, Jordan Dingle and the Quakers do it again -- this time against an in-city opponent in Temple?

While the Quakers have great efficiency on offense, the Owls likely will be able to use their speed and athleticism to their advantage. But the biggest question is whether coach Aaron McKie can somehow get his three top talents -- Quinton Rose, Nate Pierre-Louis and Alani Moore II -- to all play well on the same night. If so, this squad can do serious damage for the remainder of the season.

6. Northern Iowa Panthers at Southern Illinois Salukis (Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET)

Between AJ Green's scoring and wins in 10 of its past 11 games, Northern Iowa can legitimately stake a claim as one of the better mid-majors in America.

In fact, this year's edition of the Panthers is no secret anymore on the national landscape despite being picked to finish third in the MVC preseason coaches' poll.

But Green is the reason to watch this game. The sophomore guard has increased nearly every stat from his freshman campaign, including his scoring and assists. What stands out most, though, is his consistency as he has dropped double figures in every game since Nov. 26. If you're looking for an underrated star that can take over in March, Green is the perfect guy to keep an eye on.

7. Fordham Rams at Saint Louis Billikens (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET)

This is another opportunity to catch double-double machines Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French as the Billikens host the Rams.

Despite the presence of two stars and two wins over Power 5 schools, SLU remains a major question mark as an NCAA tournament team because of struggles from its role players. Javonte Perkins has stepped up his game since the New Year, but with Fred Thatch Jr. out indefinitely and Gibson Jimerson done for the year, the roster is a bit thin for Travis Ford.

While SLU likely will be a heavy favorite in this A-10 matchup, Fordham took Duquesne to overtime on the road last week. Dropping this game would be detrimental to the Billikens' résumé.

8. Belmont Bruins at Austin Peay Governors (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET)

A battle at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference will take center stage as Belmont and Austin Peay duel in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Casey Alexander's debut season with the Bruins features a loss to SIU-Edwardsville, but has been smooth sailing otherwise. Belmont has one of the top offenses in the nation, averaging 81.6 points (12th in the country) and 19 assists (fourth in the country). Adam Kunkel is the team's leading scorer, but he has plenty of help from big man Nick Muszynski, forward Tyler Scanlon and do-it-all talent Grayson Murphy.

The Governors revolve around veteran Terry Taylor. The guard is averaging 22.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, and has dropped 30+ points in four games already this season. Can Taylor outduel a high-distribution offense all by himself?

9. Liberty Flames at North Florida Ospreys (Thursday, 7 p.m. ET)

As explained in this space last week, nothing Liberty does is pretty -- even though it works to perfection. The Flames are a lock-down defensive team that likes to produce enough offense and wins ugly.

North Florida is the complete opposite -- the Ospreys score nearly 80 points a game, have five players averaging in double figures and don't play much defense.

As the Ospreys start to separate themselves as the second-best team in the Atlantic Sun, this could be the Flames' most challenging test for the remainder of the regular season. The Ospreys will need to speed up the pace and control tempo if they want to pull off what would be a ginormous upset against an elite mid-major.

10. Chattanooga Mocs at East Tennessee State Buccaneers (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

Another gem of a matchup in the Southern Conference as the Mocs -- who have won six of their last eight -- take on the favorite to capture the league crown.

Very few teams can compete with ETSU's experience and balance, but Chattanooga sports two players with Power-5 experience in ex-Notre Dame guard Matt Ryan and former Arizona State forward Ramon Vila. Add in David Jean-Baptiste -- the team's second-leading scorer -- and the Mocs have the talent to match the Bucs.

What separates ETSU from most, though, is its depth. It has eight strong rotation players who are truly capable of starting and playing heavy minutes if needed. Coach Steve Forbes does an excellent job of pushing the proper buttons, solidifying the rotations and matching up with his opponents to perfection. That's what makes this unit so aesthetically pleasing and one of the top Cinderellas to watch