Christmas has passed, and with the conference schedules just around the corner, SCS.com will begin previewing the college hoops week a new way beginning this week. Each Monday, we'll take a look at "The Week Ahead," a glance at the top games to keep an eye on Monday through Thursday of that week. Then later in the week, we'll turn towards "The Weekend Ahead" and preview the top matchups on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
With that in mind, perhaps the top game of the coming week will take place on Tuesday evening when Gonzaga travels to Memphis in a top five showdown set to be televised nationally on ESPN2. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 PM CST in the matchup of two squads who have lost just a combined three times this season. The Tigers have won six straight since dropping a three-point decision to Duke the day after Thanksgiving. Gonzaga, currently 9-2, has won five straight, and the Zags' only two losses came against Connecticut and Washington by a combined total of five points.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
A look back at last week's highlights: Monday saw Northern Iowa win a low-scoring thriller at LSU and Indiana pick up a hard-fought victory at Charlotte ... Pacific took UTEP to overtime on Tuesday, but the Miners came out on top in the extra period ... On Wednesday, the San Juan Shootout concluded with Clemson claiming the title over Akron in the championship game, while Arizona took home the Fiesta Bowl Classic crown with an overtime victory over Western Kentucky ... Also on Wednesday, Bucknell took down St. Joseph's, Illinois hammered Missouri, UCLA survived Wagner, Arkansas romped over Texas Tech, Nevada downed Georgia, and DePaul picked up another impressive road win, this one at California ... On Thursday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma State avoided Tennessee rallies and topped the Vols, while Oklahoma wasn't so fortunate and dropped a decision to West Virginia ... Elsewhere on Thursday in matchups of in-state rivals, Florida rallied late at Miami, Wake Forest survived at Richmond, and Cincinnati evened the score with the Dayton Flyers ... Thursday also saw Charlotte win at Rutgers, Temple take down another SEC team in Philly, this time South Carolina, Gonzaga survive a scare from St. Louis by three, NC State continue Alabama's woes in Tuscaloosa, and Texas A&M remain unbeaten at home against Auburn ... On the eve of Christmas eve, Kentucky survived a scare from previously-unbeaten Iona, while out in Las Vegas, Northern Iowa took down Dayton and Cincinnati topped LSU ... Iowa State won the Rainbow Classic with a victory over Colorado State to cap off the week's activity.
MUST-SEE THIS WEEK
Gonzaga at Memphis
Though it hasn't received as much pub, this game is as big as Duke/Texas earlier this month. Expect a much closer game than the Devils and Horns gave us.
Clemson at Georgia
Tigers, still unbeaten, are coming off championship run in San Juan Shootout. UGA has dropped two straight after winning seven in a row.
Pittsburgh at South Carolina
Panthers are unbeaten, but this game against an average USC squad will actually be their toughest yet.
Oklahoma State at UAB
Cowboys are coming off of a huge, momentum-building win over Tennessee. If you like fast-paced hoops, don't miss this one.
Gardner-Webb at Ohio State
Runnin' Bulldogs have already beaten one Big Ten team (Minnesota) and now try their luck against 8-0 Buckeyes.
Missouri State at Creighton
Opening night in the MVC doesn't get much better than this. This pair has combined to lose just three times thus far.
Indiana State at Wichita State
The Syccamores are unbeaten and already have one MVC win. Another matchup of 2005-2006 conference favorites.
Northern Iowa at Bradley
Panthers have been perhaps the MVC's most impressive team to date, with wins over Iowa, Dayton, and LSU. Braves have lost just twice.
Georgia Tech at Air Force
Falcons' lone loss was in mid-November at Washington. Jackets are just 5-3 and desperately need a good win before ACC play heats up.
Winthrop at Auburn
Tigers took one on the chin at unbeaten Texas A&M last week and now return home to face perhaps the best team in the Big South Conference.
Arizona at Washington State
Wildcats have yet to hit stride but must open play at 7-2 Cougars, recent 27-point winners over Utah.
Arizona State at Washington
Sun Devils seem to have recovered from mid-December slump but can't be looking forward to Pac-10 opener at UW.
California at Southern Cal
Trojans shocked many with win over UNC last week, but they won't sneak up on in-state rival Leon Powe and his Golden Bears.
Stanford at UCLA
Cardinal have been absolutely pathetic for the majority of this season, but there's still a long way to go. Bruins are one of the league favorites.