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COLLEGE HOOPS: THE WEEK AHEAD
February 26, 2006

SCS.comIt's the final week of the regular season and the month of March will be here in a couple of days, so by all means, let the Madness begin! Though the theme so far this year seems to be teams playing themselves out of the Tournament, there are a number of spots still available and a select few squads trying to earn their way in. There are also quite a few major conferences still trying to determine their regular season champion, including the Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10, and SEC.

MUST-SEE THIS WEEK

Pittsburgh at West Virginia
Monday 6:00 PM CST

Both the Panthers and Mountaineers have dropped out of the Big East race in recent weeks, but each squad's NCAA outlook is very good. Late-season games like these are great for improving NCAA seeding, not to mention your seed for next week's conference tournament. Pitt has won four of their last five, while WVU has dropped three of their last four.

Kentucky at Tennessee
Wednesday 7:00 PM CST

After an upset loss to Arkansas over the weekend, the Vols have dropped a game behind LSU in the race for the overall SEC title. Kentucky, meanwhile, has recovered from a slow start and then a mid-season slump to win three of their last four. The Cats' NCAA hopes appear much safer, though a win like this would certainly solidify their spot.

Memphis at UAB
Thursday 8:30 PM CST

The Tigers head into the final week of the regular season without a conference loss, but this week's trip to Birmingham may be their toughest CUSA test yet. The Blazers, along with UTEP, are tied for second place with matching 10-2 marks, and while UAB's Tournament hopes look pretty good, a win over the top 5 Tigers would end any remaining speculation.

UCLA at California
Thursday 9:30 PM CST

The Bruins head into the final week of the regular season with a one-game lead on both the Bears and Washington. UCLA has been arguably the most consistent team in the Pac-10 this season, and a victory over in-state rival Cal on Thursday would guarantee the Bruins no worse than a tie for the league title.

YOU'LL WANT TO CATCH THESE, TOO

Monmouth at Fairleigh Dicksinson - Monday 6:00 PM CST
  Knights hoping to claim outright league title; Hawks come in 1 game back.

Northern Arizona at Montana - Monday 8:05 PM CST
  Lumberjacks have run away with Big Sky title, while UM is in second.

LSU at South Carolina - Tuesday 6:00 PM CST
  Tigers looking to stay a game ahead of UT in the overall SEC race.

Cincinnati at Seton Hall - Tuesday 7:00 PM CST
  Pair of bubble teams match up, each looking for its eighth league win.

Ohio at Kent State - Tuesday 7:00 PM CST
  Flashes can clinch at least a share of MAC title with 'W'.

Illinois at Minnesota - Tuesday 8:00 PM CST
  Fighting Illini trails Ohio State by one game heading into the week.

Akron at Buffalo - Wednesday 6:00 PM CST
  Zips, currently a game behind Kent, looking to stay alive in the MAC race.

Duke at Florida State - Wednesday 6:00 PM CST
  Noles could grab eighth ACC win and rekindle bubble hopes with victory.

Marquette at Louisville - Wednesday 6:05 PM CST
  Eagles are in the dance, now looking to improve their positioning.

Texas at Texas A&M - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Aggies looking to keep bubble hopes alive with ninth Big XII win.

Colorado at Kansas - Wednesday 7:00 PM CST
  Buffaloes could feel much more comfortable with a big win like this.

Miami at Maryland - Wednesday 8:00 PM CST
  Both squads' hopes have taken a recent hit; loser is certainly finished.

Virginia at North Carolina - Wednesday 8:00 PM CST
  Cavs blew one at CU this weekend but could grab attention with this one.

Wisconsin at Michigan State - Thursday 6:00 PM CST
  Both are in the dance, but neither is playing their best ball.

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