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HOOPS HEATS UP AS FOOTBALL WINDS DOWN
January 8, 2007

SCS.com While most of the nation's attention will be on Glendale, Arizona and the BCS championship game Monday evening, the focus will soon shift to college hoops in the days ahead as conference play begins to hit stride and pretenders fall by the wayside. After a light schedule of action to begin the week, Tuesday offers a full plate of top games, such as West Virginia's trip to Notre Dame and Arkansas' visit to Florida. Also on Tuesday, Wisconsin will play host to Ohio State, while Alabama will welcome in LSU. In addition to those, keep an eye on Oklahoma State's trip to Kansas on Wednesday, as well as all of the games previewed below.

MUST-SEE GAMES

West Virginia at Notre Dame
Tuesday 6:00 PM CST ESPN2

These two are among the biggest surprises of the season thus far, even after the Irish were taken down at Georgetown over the weekend to fall to 13-2. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, are 13-1 overall and leading the way in the Big East with recent wins over Connecticut and Villanova.

Arkansas at Florida
Tuesday 6:00 PM CST ESPN

The Hogs had perhaps the most impressive win of the past weekend, taking down Alabama handily in Fayetteville. This road trip to the Swamp, though, will be a much tougher outing as the defending champs seem to be getting their act together following a recent romp over Ohio State and a win in their SEC opener against Georgia.

Ohio State at Wisconsin
Tuesday 8:00 PM CST ESPN

There's no doubt that these two are the favorites in the Big Ten this year, and it should be a race that goes well into February, and possibly into March. Both are ranked among the top five teams in the nation, so it should be an extremely hard-fought battle as Greg Oden leads his Buckeyes into Madison to take on Alando Tucker and the Badgers.

LSU at Alabama
Tuesday 8:00 PM CST ESPN2

The Tide has to feel a bit embarrassed after their SEC-opening performance on the road at Arkansas on Saturday, and it appears they may have caught a break when LSU star Glen Davis was banged up in an auto accident over the weekend. Bama would hate to start SEC play 0-2.

Oklahoma State at Kansas
Wednesday 8:00 PM CST

Though Texas A&M and Texas may contest otherwise, these two have been the best of the bunch in the Big XII thus far and will likely duke it out for the next two months or so to see who comes away as the conference champ. Winner here takes the early edge.

OTHER TOP MATCHUPS

MONDAY

Villanova at Georgetown - 7:00 PM CST

Hoyas are fresh off a big win over Notre Dame, while Villanova has dropped two in a row and wants to avoid an 0-3 Big East start.

Texas Tech at Kansas State - 9:00 PM CST

One for-sure future Hall of Famer pays a visit to a potential future Hall of Famer. Red Raiders have won 6 of their last 7.

TUESDAY

Clemson at NC State - 6:00 PM CST

Tigers are the lone remaining unbeaten in college hoops and will look to continue their streak against a depleted Wolfpack roster.

Texas A&M at Baylor - 7:00 PM CST

Bears gave Oklahoma State a stiff challenge in Stillwater over the weekend and could do the same against the in-state rival Aggies.

Northern Iowa at Illinois State - 7:05 PM CST

MVC-leading Panthers hit the road to take on a Redbirds squad that has dropped each of its first four league games.

New Mexico at Air Force - 8:00 PM CST

Lobos have gotten off to a bad start in MWC play and now must take to the road to battle the best team in the conference.

Boston College at Wake Forest - 8:00 PM CST

The Eagles have been disappointing thus far but have come out on top in the first two ACC games. Wake, meanwhile, appears doomed to the cellar.

Evansville at Missouri State - 8:05 PM CST

Bears should be flying high after back-to-back wins over Bradley and Wichita State.

WEDNESDAY

Pittsburgh at DePaul - 6:00 PM CST

Blue Demons got a huge road win over Villanova on Saturday, but their return trip home will be even more difficult.

George Washington at Massachusetts - 6:00 PM CST

These two, along with Xavier and Dayton, are the class of the A-10, so it should be a good conference battle early in the year.

Duke at Georgia Tech - 6:00 PM CST

Both teams lost heart-breakers over the weekend, Duke at home to Virginia Tech and the Jackets on the road at Clemson. Who gets it back on track?

Purdue at Indiana - 6:00 PM CST

Both teams are now 1-1 in Big Ten play, and each looks capable of making a NCAA run.

Marquette at Connecticut - 6:00 PM CST

Eagles have started a miserable 0-2 in league play and now look to fall even further behind unless they can pull the upset.

Wichita State at Indiana State - 6:05 PM CST

All of a sudden, the once-highly ranked Shockers don't look so great. Meanwhile, the Sycamores are 3-1 in MVC action and playing good hoops.

South Carolina at Georgia - 6:30 PM CST

The Bulldogs started the season hot but have struggled lately. This is the kind of game that is a must-win if their NCAA hopes are legit.

Mississippi at Mississippi State - 7:00 PM CST

In-state rivalry alert. Both teams were hot in December but have since cooled off. They're likely fighting for fourth place in the SEC West.

Auburn at Kentucky - 7:00 PM CST

Tigers got things off to a good start in SEC play with a win over Vandy, but can they stay on the court with UK?

Iowa at Illinois - 7:00 PM CST

Illini has struggled big-time with quality competition. Steve Alford, meanwhile, is on the hot seat (what else is new?) and needs to make a NCAA run.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - 7:00 PM CST

Vols narrowly escaped Mississippi State on Sunday and now make a quick turn-around against their in-state rivals.

Missouri at Texas - 7:00 PM CST

The potential of the 'Horns is huge, but how will they fare over the course of the Big XII season? Missouri's fast pace should be a good test.

Southern Illinois at Bradley - 7:05 PM CST

Does the MVC ever get old? Both of these teams plan to be in the race until the end.

Virginia at North Caroina - 8:00 PM CST

Just when you start thinking good things about the Cavs after their big win over Gonzaga, they lose at home to Stanford. A follow-up trip to UNC is not the recipe for success.

THURSDAY

Hofstra at Drexel - 7:00 PM CST

This pair, a combined 6-0 in Colonial action, look to be among the best that conference has to offer this year.

Washington at Stanford - 9:30 PM CST

Cardinal got a nice win at UVA on Sunday, while Washington is looking to recover from a bad 1-3 start to Pac-10 play.

Washington State at California - 9:30 PM CST

The Cougars are continuing to prove they're for real this year, but nothing helps solidify that claim more than victories on the road.

U.S.A.
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