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BIG MATCHUPS ABOUND AS CHRISTMAS CLOSES IN
December 18, 2006

SCS.com Sure, it's the last week to get your Christmas shopping done, but with the college hoops matchups set to take place over the course of the next few days, perhaps you should skip the traffic and hassle of the mall and instead sit back and take in a week stuffed with great games. A Monday matchup between Oklahoma State and Tennessee gets things started before Illinois and Missouri meet in their annual border war on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Alabama visits NC State, Memphis travels to Arizona, and LSU treks to Washington all in one evening. The week winds down with a showdown between Pittsburgh and Ohio State and another top game featuring Duke and Gonzaga.

[ Must-See Games in Orange ]

MONDAY

Missouri State at St. Louis

Bears are staking their case as the country's best mid-major, but two-loss Bilikens hope to end State's five-game win streak.

Oklahoma State at Tennessee

Cowboys have yet to lose this year, while Vols are fresh off an impressive win over Memphis. Should be a great showdown between two squads with conference title aspirations.

TUESDAY

Santa Clara at Kentucky

After winning at Louisville on Saturday, will the 'Cats overlook a Broncos team coming off a huge road win at Stanford this past weekend?

Loyola (Chicago) at Bradley

Braves took down Iowa State on Saturday, while the Ramblers did their own damage against Northern Iowa. The winner here gets another RPI-impressing win before Christmas.

Illinois at Missouri

It's always a battle when these two get together, and with the pair combining for just three losses thus far, the intensity should be high once again.

Stanford at Fresno State

Cardinal is hoping to rebound from loss to SCU, but a trip to take on the Bulldogs won't be easy. Fresno is 9-1 with recent wins over Oregon State and Creighton.

South Florida at UNLV

Both teams have looked good at times early on and could use a win like this to gain some confidence and respect heading into the holidays.

WEDNESDAY

Alabama at NC State

Tide looks to be one of the country's more talented teams, while new NCSU coach Sidney Lowe is piecing together a roster but doing so quite nicely thus far.

Bucknell at Xavier

Musketeers are hoping to rebound from losses in two of their last three but will have to do so against one of the country's better mid-majors in recent years.

Memphis at Arizona

Fantastic showdown featuring two of the country's most athletic and exciting teams. Both still have much to prove at this point.

Arkansas at Texas

Hogs looked bad at times against Bobby Knight's Red Raiders, so it's hard to see things going much better on the road in Austin against an up-and-coming Longhorns team.

LSU at Washington

Tigers continue their tough non-conference slate with a trip to take on the Huskies, whose only loss came two weeks ago to Gonzaga.

THURSDAY

Oklahoma at Tulsa

Both of these teams have NCAA hopes but will need to improve to make those dreams come true. The winner here gets a quality, RPI-building victory.

Virginia Tech at Seton Hall

Much like the above matchup, this one features two NCAA hopefuls who could use a nice victory outside of conference play.

Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State

The Cowboys' second tough test of the week comes against a one-loss Panthers squad who hopes to rebound after a tough loss on the road at Wisconsin last Saturday.

Duke vs Gonzaga

These two get together in NYC, the Zags coming off a defeat on the road at Georgia. Duke, meanwhile, seems to be getting the wins but doing so in a not-so-pretty fashion.

San Diego State at Washington State

Though overlooked by many, these are two teams to keep an eye on between now and March. Either or both is capable of going dancing and making some noise come spring.

U.S.A.
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