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COLLEGE HOOPS: THE WEEK AHEAD
February 5, 2006

SCS.comThe Super Bowl is over, and so from now until March, it's all about college hoops. The coming week's action gives us plenty to look forward to, including matchups like Wichita State's trip to Northern Iowa, Duke's visit to North Carolina, West Virginia's trek to Pittsburgh, and many more. We're at the halfway point of the conference schedules in many of the leagues around the country, so if your team is going to make a move in their respective conference race, now is the time to begin making that push.

MUST-SEE THIS WEEK

Tennessee at Kentucky
Tuesday 6:00 PM CDT

The Volunteers continue to lead the SEC East, but Florida is just a game behind while the Wildcats have come back to life and are back in the race. UK had won five straight before their weekend loss at UF. Tennessee, meanwhile, has lost just one conference game all year, that on the road at LSU about three weeks ago. The 'Cats have actually played better on the road than at home, but if they want to have a shot at the SEC East crown, this is one they'll need to put in the win column.

Wichita State at Northern Iowa
Tuesday 7:05 PM CDT

The Shockers picked up a huge double-OT victory over Southern Illinois over the weekend, but a trio of teams (WSU, NIU, and Creighton) remain tied atop the MVC standings. The winner of this one will be in no worse than a tie for the top spot and possibly have the conference lead to themselves depending on what the Blue Jays do on the road at Evansville. This league race is going to go right down to the wire, but every game from here on out is crucical to each team's hopes.

Duke at North Carolina
Tuesday 8:00 PM CDT

After losing two of their first four ACC games, the Tar Heels have rebounded to win three of their last four, including victories over Boston College and Maryland. Throw in a non-conference win over Arizona, and UNC is one of the hottest teams in the ACC heading into the new week. Duke, meanwhile, has survived a number of recent scares, but the Devils have still lost just one game and continue to lead the ACC race. Some have speculated that Coach K's team could run the table in league play, and if they can win in Chapel Hill, that feat becomes a bit closer to reality.

NC State at Miami
Wednesday 6:00 PM CDT

The play of the Blue Devils has overshadowed this pair who find themselves just behind Duke in the league standings. NCSU comes in at 7-2 and winners of three straight, while the Canes are 6-3 in ACC play and have been victorious in their last three outings as well. While NC State appears to be a near-lock for NCAA play, Miami's case is not as solid, but UM should earn a spot in the bracket with three more wins. Their coming stretch is brutal, but a win in this one would get things off to a good start and move the team that much closer to March Madness.

Ohio State at Michigan
Thursday 6:00 PM CDT

Six of the eleven teams in the Big Ten have lost either two or three conference games so far, and this pair is among that group. Both teams are 6-3 in league games and still very much in the Big Ten race, both one game back of the league-leading Iowa Hawkeyes. This contest could go either way, and it's one that each squad feels they can win. Perhaps it's a bit more crucial for the Wolves, however, since UM has the homecourt advantage and is also coming off of a weekend loss at Iowa.

West Virginia at Pittsburgh
Thursday 8:00 PM CDT

Only seven teams in the country have yet to lose a conference game, and the Mountaineers are among that elite group. WVU's 8-0 Big East mark leads that conference, and the squad has actually lost just once since the end of November. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, sprinted out to a 15-0 start but has lost three of their last five, though those defeats have come by an average of just four points each. Still, it's a home game for the Panthers and one they need to win if they have serious Big East title hopes.

YOU'LL WANT TO CATCH THESE, TOO

Louisville at Cincinnati - Monday 6:00 PM CDT
  Both teams are fighting to get back to .500 in Big East play.

Missouri State at Southern Illinois - Tuesday 8:00 PM CDT
  How will the Salukis rebound from heartbreaking 2OT loss at WSU?

Indiana at Wisconsin - Wednesday 6:00 PM CDT
  Both squads have struggled lately, and each could use a big win.

Colorado at Texas A&M - Wednesday 6:00 PM CDT
  If the Buffs are for real, this is a game they should win.

Rutgers at Notre Dame - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
  Can the Irish finally get a victory, or will they be denied yet again?

Boston College at Wake Forest - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
  WF has been horrible in ACC play, while BC is trying to stay in the race.

Iowa State at Kansas State - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
  If the Cyclones are serious about NCAA play, they need to get this win.

Temple at Charlotte - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
  49ers can't let this home game slip through their fingers.

Kansas at Nebraska - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
  Red-hot Jayhawks look to keep rolling in their quest for NCAA bid.

Vanderbilt at Alabama - Wednesday 7:00 PM CDT
  'Dores are struggling, while Bama is fresh off a victory over LSU.

Arkansas at LSU - Wednesday 7:00 PM CDT
  A win like this could get UA some attention and above .500 in the SEC.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State - Wednesday 8:00 PM CDT
  In-state rivalry alert. These games are always intense and fun to watch.

Syracuse at Connecticut - Wednesday 8:00 PM CDT
  If things continue as they've been lately, the Huskies will win easily.

UAB at UTEP - Wednesday 9:00 PM CDT
  Both are chasing Memphis, each just one game behind UM in CUSA.

Air Force at San Diego State - Wednesday 9:05 PM CDT
  Aztecs continue to lead the MWC as the Falcons chase from behind.

George Mason at Virginia Commonwealth - Thursday 6:30 PM CDT
  Colonial-leading Patriots visit rival Rams.

St. John's at Georgetown - Thursday 8:00 PM CDT
  Storm's momentum has come to a halt, while Hoyas are H-O-T.

Southern Cal at Washington - Thursday 9:30 PM CDT
  Both coming off disappointing losses, who gets back on track?

Stanford at California - Thursday 9:30 PM CDT
  This pair is tied for second place in the Pac-10, just a game behind UCLA.

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