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COLLEGE HOOPS: THE WEEK AHEAD
February 12, 2006

SCS.comWow, things sure are crowded! Take a look at the Missouri Valley standings. Or the Big East standings. Or the Big Ten, Colonial, CUSA, Pac-10, or WAC standings. All of those conferences, and a number of others, have major log-jams at or near the top of the league, and there are only about four weeks left to decide who will come out on top. Among the top games on the schedule over the coming few days is one of the best matchups we've seen this year. Top-ranked Connecticut will travel to Villanova Monday evening in a showdown of top five squads. Meanwhile, the WAC's top two teams, Nevada and Louisiana Tech, also meet on Monday, while two of the MVC's four leaders go head-to-head on Tuesday. Those and much more all headed your way this week!

MUST-SEE THIS WEEK

Connecticut at Villanova
Monday 6:00 PM CST

This is perhaps one of the best matchups we've seen all year. Both squads are ranked in the top five, and each is tied atop the Big East standings with just one league loss apiece. In fact, the pair has lost just a combined three times all season, and neither has been beaten since mid-January. One of the win streaks will have to stop on Monday, however, meaning either the Huskies or Cats hold their ground at the top of the Big East standings.

Louisiana Tech at Nevada
Monday 11:00 PM CST

The WAC's co-leaders go head-to-head out in Reno. Each is 8-3 in league play, but a second pair of teams is just a game back at 7-4 in WAC action. The Wolfpack won the earlier meeting on the road in Ruston by a dozen points, and if they can pull out a second victory over LA Tech, it would extend their win streak to six. The WAC is likely a one-bid league, so regular season conference finish is huge in determining seeds for the league tourney in March.

Creighton at Wichita State
Tuesday 6:05 PM CST

If there's a more exciting conference in the country than the MVC, someone please let me know. Creighton, Wichita State, Southern Illinois, and Northern Iowa all bring 11-4 league records into the week, marks that lead all conference competitors by at least two games. At the moment, all four look like solid NCAA bets, but you can never be too sure. Wins like these can help put teams over the top, both in terms of NCAA seeding and regular season titles.

Michigan State at Iowa
Tuesday 8:05 PM CST

The Hawkeyes bounced back from a stunning road loss at Northwestern to take down Indiana on the road over the weekend, leaving Iowa in first place by a half-game over Ohio State heading into the new week. Michigan State is coming off a troubling loss of their own, a 14-point setback at Minnesota over the weekend. The Spartans are now just 6-4 in league play and tied for fourth place in the Big Ten. Iowa City has been the toughest place to play in the Big Ten thus far, meaning things aren't getting easier for MSU.

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Wednesday 7:00 PM CST

The Buckeyes had as good of a week as anyone else in the country last week, winning on the road at Michigan before taking down Illinois at home on Sunday. OSU is now 7-3 in Big Ten play and just a half-game back of league-leading Iowa. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is 7-4 and seems to have bounced back from a slump that saw the Badgers lose five of six games. It's a matchup of two different styles of basketball, and no matter which one prevails, it will have huge Big Ten title implications.

YOU'LL WANT TO CATCH THESE, TOO

Kansas at Oklahoma State - Monday 8:00 PM CST
  Jayhawks are one of the hottest teams in America.

Alabama at South Carolina - Tuesday 6:00 PM CST
  Win like this could help USC's NCAA hopes. UA trying to stay off bubble.

West Virginia at Seton Hall - Tuesday 6:30 PM CST
  Pirates need to bounce back with big win after let-down against UConn.

Maryland at Clemson - Tuesday 7:00 PM CST
  Terps desperately need this one to help their Tournament hopes.

Florida State at NC State - Wednesday 6:00 PM CST
  Noles hoping to get on bubble. Pack looking to bounce back from GT loss.

Hofstra at UNC-Wilmington - Wednesday 6:00 PM CST
  Two quality squads, each chasing George Mason in the Colonial.

Cincinnati at Syracuse - Wednesday 6:30 PM CST
  Loser here can all but kiss their NCAA aspirations goodbye.

Georgia at Kentucky - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  If the Cats lose this one, their NCAA hopes are in serious danger.

Arkansas at Mississippi - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Heath likely has one month to save his job. He better start in Oxford.

Indiana at Penn State - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Hoosiers don't want to fall below .500 in Big Ten play.

Nebraska at Iowa State - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Loser here can pretty much forget the Big Dance.

Florida at Vanderbilt - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Dores working their way back on the bubble. This 'W' would be huge.

Oklahoma at Colorado - Wednesday 8:30 PM CST
  Buffs could really (really) use this win.

Miami at Boston College - Thursday 6:00 PM CST
  Canes' NCAA hopes are fading fast. BC looking to improve seeding.

Georgetown at Marquette - Thursday 8:00 PM CST
  Eagles blew one at Rutgers but get another chance for a quality win.

San Diego State at UNLV - Thursday 9:00 PM CST
  Aztecs continue to lead the MWC by two games over UNLV.

Arizona at California - Thursday 9:30 PM CST
  Bears are right in the Pac-10 race. Cats fighting for NCAA lives.

U.S.A.
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