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COLLEGE HOOPS: THE WEEKEND AHEAD
January 6, 2006

SCS.comConference action heated up in leagues like the Big East and Big Ten earlier this week, and now things will get rolling in others like the Big XII and the SEC over the weekend. Among the top games of the coming weekend is the in-state showdown between NC State and North Carolina in Chapel Hill as well as unbeaten Ohio State's trip to Indiana. Both of those games will be played on Saturday. West Virginia will make a road trip up to Villanova on Sunday as both squads try to grab their second Big East win of the young season. And also on the East Coast Sunday evening, top-ranked Duke will pay a visit to in-state rival Wake Forest, capping off a great weekend of college hoops both in the state of North Carolina and around the country.

MUST-SEE THIS WEEKEND

Florida at Georgia
Saturday 11:00 AM CDT

The Gators have come out of the gates looking like the most impressive team in the SEC, but the Bulldogs look as if they're vastly improved this season. Dennis Felton's squad is 10-3 and recently gave Clemson their first loss of the season. If they're to take down another undefeated team, UGA will have to slow super sophomores Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah.

Cincinnati at Marquette
Saturday 11:00 AM CDT

Largely overlooked so far this season, the Golden Eagles earned some pub earlier this week when they took down UConn, ranked #1 by SCS.com, by 15 points in Milwaukee. The Bearcats have won nine straight since early December but have not played a game on the opponent's home court since December 10. A second upset by Marquette, though not likely, would make things interesting early in the Big East.

NC State at North Carolina
Saturday 2:00 PM CDT

Last year's national champions have battled through the mistakes young players are bound to make and raced out to an 8-2 record. Included in that mark is a win over Kentucky but also a loss to Southern Cal. One of the most impressive teams in the ACC to date has been NC State, victors at Alabama and against George Washington just last week. This one should be a doozy.

LSU at Connecticut
Saturday 3:00 PM CDT

Preseason favorites in their respective conferences, this pair has had a rough go of it lately. The Tigers have lost three of their last five since mid-December and are limping towards SEC play. The Huskies started the campaign with 11 straight wins but dropped their Big East opener at Marquette in disappointing fashion. This one should not be close, though, in favor of UConn.

Ohio State at Indiana
Saturday 3:00 PM CDT

You have to feel good for the Buckeyes. Left out of NCAA play last year when they were truly deserving, OSU has stayed the course and sprinted out to a 10-0 start. The Hoosiers, also a Big Ten favorite, are 9-2 and coming off of a conference-opening win over Michigan earlier this week. This will be a mile-marker for both teams. Where does each stand in both Big Ten and NCAA terms?

West Virginia at Villanova
Sunday 11:00 AM CDT

Big expectations for the Mountaineers got quieted earlier as the squad dropped three of their first five, but WVU has since won seven straight, including a recent 24-point road triumph at Oklahoma. The Wildcats continue to show that they are on of America's best teams this year, their latest triumph coming on the road at Louisville in the Big East opener. A win here would move 'Nova to number two in the country.

Michigan State at Wisconsin
Sunday 12:30 PM CDT

The Spartans are likely the majority's pick as the preseason favorite in the Big Ten. MSU is 12-2 on the campaign thus far and winners of 11 straight. The Badgers, always solid, are sitting at 10-2 overall, one of those losses coming on the road at unbeaten Pittsburgh. This matchup should give us an idea where each stands at this point. Note that the Badgers rarely lose at home.

Duke at Wake Forest
Sunday 7:00 PM CDT

Blue Devils, with the recent UConn loss, are unquestionably the number one team in America heading into the weekend. Coach K's squad is 13-0 but struggled in their lone ACC game to date, a last-second home victory over Virginia Tech last month. This battle will not only be away from home, but also against a much better opponent. The Deacons are 11-2 but don't have the feeling of an ACC contender. We'll see about that Sunday evening.

YOU'LL WANT TO CATCH THESE, TOO

Manhattan at Iona - Friday 6:00 PM CDT
  Battle of arguably the MAAC's best two teams.

Charlotte at Dayton - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  Pair of A-10 squads have been up-and-down thus far.

Maryland at Miami - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  'Canes still looking for big-time, momentum-building victory.

Clemson at Virginia - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  Tigers must win this one if they're for real about NCAA's.

Kentucky at Kansas - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  Matchup of all-time greats, though neither has been pretty this season.

Oklahoma at Nebraska - Saturday 12:30 PM CDT
  Huskers sitting pretty at 10-3, but Big XII play is about to begin.

Southern Cal at Arizona - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Trojans already took down UNC, but this one will be much tougher.

Auburn at Vanderbilt - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Pair of SEC surprises open their respective league seasons in Nashville.

Seton Hall at Rutgers - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Two middle-of-the-pack Big East squads, each with outside NCAA hopes.

Notre Dame at DePaul - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Irish dropped thriller at Pitt, would like to follow up with this win.

Illinois at Iowa - Saturday 1:05 PM CDT
  Illini, fresh off win over MSU, hit the road to face tough Hawkeyes.

Buffalo at Northern Illinois - Saturday 2:05 PM CDT
  Bulls are arguably the MAC's best, while NIU boasts RPI in the top thirty.

UCLA at Arizona State - Saturday 3:00 PM CDT
  Pac-10 tri-favorite Bruins should be able to win this road game.

Colorado at Texas - Saturday 3:00 PM CDT
  Buffs are an impressive 10-1, but this one is by far their toughest yet.

Texas Tech at Texas A&M - Saturday 5:00 PM CDT
  In-state battle features young Red Raiders against once-unbeaten Aggies.

Mississippi at Alabama - Saturday 5:00 PM CDT
  Rebels are improving. Tide needs to get SEC play started right.

Virginia Tech at Florida State - Saturday 6:00 PM CDT
  Tech appears to have potential but has yet to mesh. Both need this win.

Louisville at Providence - Saturday 6:30 PM CDT
  Coming off loss to Villanova, Pitino pays visit to his old stomping grounds.

Oklahoma State at Missouri - Saturday 7:00 PM CDT
  Columbia is not an easy venue, especially for a young team like OSU.

Kansas State at Iowa State - Saturday 7:00 PM CDT
  KSU, 9-2, likely to have reality hit them against one of the Big XII's best.

Butler at Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Saturday 7:00 PM CDT
  Matchup of the two best teams in the Horizon League this century.

Arkansas at Mississippi State - Saturday 7:00 PM CDT
  If Hogs are real SEC West contenders, they should beat young Bulldogs.

Northern Iowa at Missouri State - Saturday 7:05 PM CDT
  Arguably two of the three best teams in the MVC go head-to-head.

Colorado State at New Mexico - Saturday 8:00 PM CDT
  Each started league play 0-1, so this one is huge.

Washington State at Washington - Saturday 9:00 PM CDT
  Cougars are 8-3 now, but reality is likely to set in over the coming weeks.

Gonzaga at St. Mary's - Saturday 10:05 PM CDT
  Zags are again the WCC's best, but this road trip is never easy.

Temple at St. Joseph's - Sunday 11:00 AM CDT
  Hawks can't afford another loss, and the same could be said for Temple.

Tennessee at South Carolina - Sunday 12:30 PM CDT
  Bruce Pearl's Vols have looked good early. SEC opener for both.

Winthrop at Memphis - Sunday 1:00 PM CDT
  Eagles are one of the best mid-majors around.

Bradley at Southern Illinois - Sunday 2:00 PM CDT
  Salukis will attempt to remain lone team without a MVC loss.

Drake at Creighton - Sunday 2:05 PM CDT
  Both squads are back at an even 2-2 in league play and need this win.

Boston College at Georgia Tech - Sunday 4:30 PM CDT
  Eagles are one of the ACC's best; GT is coming off huge win over Vandy.

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