The 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Missouri State at Southern Illinois - Tuesday 8:00 PM CDT
Indiana at Wisconsin - Wednesday 6:00 PM CDT
Colorado at Texas A&M - Wednesday 6:00 PM CDT
Rutgers at Notre Dame - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
Boston College at Wake Forest - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
Iowa State at Kansas State - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
Temple at Charlotte - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
Kansas at Nebraska - Wednesday 6:30 PM CDT
Vanderbilt at Alabama - Wednesday 7:00 PM CDT
Arkansas at LSU - Wednesday 7:00 PM CDT
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State - Wednesday 8:00 PM CDT
Syracuse at Connecticut - Wednesday 8:00 PM CDT
UAB at UTEP - Wednesday 9:00 PM CDT
Air Force at San Diego State - Wednesday 9:05 PM CDT
George Mason at Virginia Commonwealth - Thursday 6:30 PM CDT
St. John's at Georgetown - Thursday 8:00 PM CDT
Southern Cal at Washington - Thursday 9:30 PM CDT
Stanford at California - Thursday 9:30 PM CDT