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COLLEGE HOOPS: THE WEEKEND AHEAD
January 27, 2006

SCS.comAnother huge weekend of college hoops is ahead, and it's becoming judgement time for many teams all around the country. Louisville got a big mid-week home win over Cincinnati, but can the Cards get the job done on the road at Rutgers? Arizona seems to have gotten things back on track, but can they go into North Carolina and come out with a victory? Michigan came to play against in-state rival Michigan State, but will the Wolves bring that same intensity to Saturday's showdown with league-leading Wisconsin? And when the week is over, who will come out on top of the crowded MAC East? Those questions and many more are the ones we'll keep an eye on over the coming weekend.

MUST-SEE THIS WEEKEND

Marquette at Pittsburgh
Saturday 11:00 AM CDT

Though overshadowed by a number of teams in the Big East this season, the Golden Eagles continue to hang out in the top half of the conference standings, carrying with them a 5-2 league mark into the weekend. Pittsburgh, 5-1, got things back on track with a home win over Syracuse on Monday after losing their only game of the season last weekend at St. John's. This is a game most would expect the Panthers to win, but a Marquette upset on the road could get the Eagles in some serious NCAA talk, not to mention the Big East race.

Vanderbilt at Florida
Saturday 12:00 PM CDT

After winning their first seventeen games of the season, the Gators have suddently found the SEC road to be a bit difficult. UF dropped a hard-fought game at Tennessee over the weekend before being shocked by an improving South Carolina squad in Columbia on Wednesday. Luckily for Billy Donovan's squad, this weekend's game against the Commodores is in Gainesville where the team is 12-0 this season. Look for Vandy to put up a fight, though. The 'Dores already won in Lexington earlier this month.

Arizona at North Carolina
Saturday 12:00 PM CDT

This is a great cross-country matchup of traditional powers, each going through somes trials and tribulations this season. The Wildcats, after consecutive losses in the state of Oregon, seem to have gotten things turned around with three straight victories in PAC 10 play. UA is now 6-3 in conference games and just percentage points out of the top spot in the league standings. UNC, meanwhile, is just 3-3 in the ACC and losers of three of their last four games, including a pair of home defeats to Miami and Boston College. Will the 'Cats keep rolling or will the Heels step it up?

Wisconsin at Michigan
Saturday 1:35 PM CDT

The Wolverines proved they are ready to contend for the Big Ten title and a NCAA bid with a come-from-behind home victory over in-state rival Michigan State Wednesday evening. UM, now 4-2 in league play, will welcome in conference leading Wisconsin on Saturday in yet another important Big Ten showdown. It seems like every game played in the conference this season has some affect on the league leaders, and this one is no different. It's another chance for the Wolves to pick up a crucial home victory but also an opportunity for UW to extend its Big Ten lead.

Ohio State at Iowa
Saturday 7:05 PM CDT

Did we mention that every game in the Big Ten has huge implications at the top of the conference standings? Add this one to that list. The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes are both 4-2 in league play, and with the way things go in this conference, either could be atop the Big Ten standings come Sunday if the right things happen. Iowa has proven to be a very dangerous squad at home, already compiling wins over Illinois and Indiana in Iowa City this season. OSU, though, has won their last two games on the road, but this one will be perhaps their toughest trip yet.

Texas at Oklahoma
Saturday 8:00 PM CDT

No team in the Big XII looks capable of slowing down the Longhorns, but if someone is to challenge Rick Barnes' squad this season, perhaps the best bet might be the Oklahoma Sooners. Kelvin Sampson's team, 3-2 in league play, was expected to contend with Texas in the Big XII, and while OU's season has had a few more bumps than hoped, they still appear to be among the top three or four teams in the conference. The Sooners have won three of their last four at home, and the rest of the Big XII would be happy to see OU give the 'Horns their first league loss of the season.

YOU'LL WANT TO CATCH THESE, TOO

Kansas at Iowa State - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  The inconsistency of these teams is what makes coaches insane.

Cincinnati at Georgetown - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
  'Cats falling fast, while Hoyas are rising to the occassion.

Old Dominion at George Mason - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Two of the top three contenders in the Colonial meet head-to-head.

Louisville at Rutgers - Saturday 1:00 PM CDT
  Cardinals got a big win Wednesday, but how will they follow it up?

LSU at Mississippi - Saturday 2:00 PM CDT
  Tigers are lone SEC team without a conference loss this season.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest - Saturday 2:00 PM CDT
  A matchup of the 11th and 12th place teams in the ACC...seriously.

UCLA at Oregon State - Saturday 3:00 PM CDT
  Beavers already took down Arizona in Corvallis earlier this month.

Missouri at Nebraska - Saturday 3:00 PM CDT
  Both squads are hovering around the .500 mark in Big XII play.

Villanova at Notre Dame - Saturday 5:00 PM CDT
  This is the kind of win that could bring the Irish back to life.

Wichita State at Creighton - Saturday 6:05 PM CDT
  Another matchup of Missouri Valley favorites.

Kansas State at Colorado - Saturday 8:00 PM CDT
  Both have been up and down, but shown signs of good things to come.

Miami (Ohio) at Ohio - Sunday 11:00 AM CDT
  The MAC East is as crowded as any division in America.

Indiana at Minnesota - Sunday 12:00 PM CDT
  Hoosiers need road win to keep pace in the Big Ten.

Arkansas at Kentucky - Sunday 12:00 PM CDT
  Wildcats are gaining momentum, while Hogs are looking for some mo'.

NC State at Clemson - Sunday 12:30 PM CDT
  Wolfpack needs to rebound from mid-week setback against Seton Hall.

Buffalo at Kent State - Sunday 1:00 PM CDT
  Yet another crucial MAC East showdown.

West Virginia at St. John's - Sunday 1:30 PM CDT
  Red Storm is improving tremendously.

Miami at Florida State - Sunday 3:00 PM CDT
  In-state matchup features two teams looking to stay above .500 in ACC.

Seton Hall at Syracuse - Sunday 3:30 PM CDT
  Hall got huge upset at NCSU Wednesday. 'Cuse has lost three straight.

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