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SHORT WEEK NOT WITHOUT GAMES TO WATCH
December 27, 2006

SCS.com It's an abbreviated week across the college hoops nation, but that doesn't mean there aren't a number of big games to keep an eye on in the next couple days ahead. Bradley and Northern Iowa open up Missouri Valley play on Wednesday night in that day's top matchup before a number of other top games dot the Thursday slate. Among those is an SEC-ACC matchup between Georgia and unbeaten Clemson. Also keep an eye on the Pac-10, as Washington visits USC and UCLA welcomes in Washington State on Thursday. Below is a complete look at the games to keep an eye on.

MUST-SEE GAMES

Bradley at Northern Iowa
Wednesday 8:00 PM CST ESPN2

It's the Missouri Valley opener for both of these squads, who have combined to win 18 games and lost just five so far this year. Each has big conference and NCAA hopes as the new year grows nearer, and this is just the first in a long line of very tough MVC games for both over the course of the next ten weeks or so.

Georgia at Clemson
Thursday 6:00 PM CST FSN*

Few expected these two to have just a combined two losses when the end of December rolled around, but with the Tigers 12-0 and the Bulldogs 8-2, that is exactly the situation we have. While UGA knocked off Gonzaga a while back, Clemson is still looking for that signature non-conference win before ACC play begins.

Washington at Southern Cal
Thursday 9:30 PM CST

Like many projected, the Huskies have had a very successful non-conference campaign. USC, meanwhile, has performed well also, picking up possibly their best win just a few days ago over highly-ranked Wichita State. Pac-10 play is long and brutal, so getting off to a good start is priceless.

Washington State at UCLA
Thursday 9:30 PM CST FSN*

Though they haven't played an extremely tough schedule, the Cougars have lost just once thus far, a streak that includes a big come-from-behind win over in-state rival Gonzaga earlier this month. UCLA, meanwhile, is a near-unanimous choice as the country's top team at this point. Can WSU pull another big upset?

OTHER TOP MATCHUPS

THURSDAY

George Mason at Drexel

The Dragons are actually playing the better ball of these two, though each has NCAA hopes as we head towards conference play.

Purdue at Indiana State

The Sycamores already took down rival Butler earlier this year and will now get their shot at the Boilers, who are 10-2 to date.

SMU at Oklahoma

The Mustangs have very quietly gotten off to an impressive 9-1 start, but this would easily be their best win yet.

Drake at Evansville

Few expect these two to contend with the big boys in the MVC this year, so a good start is crucial if either is to make a run.

California at Arizona

The Bears are 8-4 on the season but will need one of their best efforts yet to contend with a suddenly red-hot Wildcats squad.

UNLV at Texas Tech

Bobby Knight will be looking to break the all-time wins record against a UNLV team that is an impressive 11-2 thus far on the season.

Air Force at George Washington

After having their last game snowed out, the 11-1 Falcons head eastward to take on a GW squad hoping for a return trip to the Tournament.

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