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CRUNCH TIME IS HERE AS FEBRUARY SAYS GOODBYE
February 23, 2007

SCS.com Everyone has their own opinion on the bubble status of various teams these days, but what it comes down to, very simply, is wins. As college basketball fans know, the NCAA puts an emphasis on late-season performance, so winning games down the stretch is crucial to the bubble hopes of teams all across the country. There are huge games everywhere this weekend, some with conference title hopes on the line and many more with NCAA dreams at stake. Who will step up and earn their way into the Big Dance?

MUST-SEE GAMES

Pittsburgh at Georgetown
Saturday 1:00 PM CST CBS

The Panthers and Hoyas find themselves tied atop the Big East standings heading into the weekend with matching 11-2 league records. Both are on pace for great NCAA seeds, and this is the kind of quality win that can improve those prospects in a hurry.

Stanford at UCLA
Saturday 5:00 PM CST

A win here would guarantee the Bruins no worse than a tie for the Pac-10 title. Stanford, meanwhile, is looking to improve their NCAA positioning and could certainly do with a win on the road against one of America's best teams.

Indiana at Michigan State
Saturday 8:00 PM CST ESPN

The Spartans have won their last three and worked themselves back above the .500 mark in the Big Ten. Indiana, meanwhile, has dropped two of its last three. Both teams are in good NCAA shape, but late-season wins like this make you look that much better.

Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Sunday 1:00 PM CST LFS*

The 'Dores took down top-ranked Florida on Saturday but were then thumped on the road at Mississippi State earlier this week. Luckily for them, this game is at home. Both are 8-5 in SEC play and competing against each other for the two seed out of the SEC East.

Wisconsin at Ohio State
Sunday 3:00 PM CST CBS

The Badgers came into the week ranked number one in the country but dropped a road game at Michigan State on Tuesday. Ohio State, meanwhile, is number three and now a game up on UW in the Big Ten standings. However, if Wisconsin wins this one, they'll even up the standings and hold the tiebreaker over OSU.

North Carolina at Maryland
Sunday 4:30 PM CST FSN*

UNC is now in control of their own destiny in the ACC, but picking up a win on the road at red-hot Maryland will be no easy task. The Terps have won four straight and are now 7-6 in ACC play. UM could probably lock up their NCAA bid with a win over the Heels.

OTHER TOP MATCHUPS

SATURDAY

Siena at Marist - 10:00 AM CST

Marist leads the way in the MAAC, but Siena could even things up with a win.

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech - 11:00 AM CST

The loser of this one is in serious jeopardy of missing the Tournament.

Syracuse at Providence - 11:00 AM CST

This is pretty close to a must-win for both, especially the Friars.

Mississippi State at Georgia - 12:00 PM CST

Both are on the outside of the bubble now but hoping to work their way in.

Clemson at Boston College - 12:00 PM CST

Both are in major slumps, though it's the Tigers who are in danger of not going dancing.

Tennessee at Arkansas - 12:00 PM CST

Vols still need one more SEC win to get to eight, while UA is probably out of the NCAA race.

Missouri at Nebraska - 12:30 PM CST

Tigers would pull even at 7-7 with a victory in Lincoln.

Georgia Tech at Virginia - 2:30 PM CST

Jackets desperately need a huge victory like this to get to .500 in ACC action.

Marquette at Notre Dame - 2:30 PM CST

Both are 9-5 in Big East play, though ND is hot while MU has dropped 3 of 4.

Florida at LSU - 2:45 PM CST

Tigers' postseason hopes are all but toast. UF has already won the SEC title.

Texas at Oklahoma - 3:00 PM CST

Sooner win would move OU back to 7-7 in Big XII action.

Auburn at Alabama - 4:00 PM CST

Tide is now a game back in the SEC West.

BYU at San Diego State - 4:00 PM CST

League-leading Cougars venture out on the road in MWC play.

Mississippi at South Carolina - 6:00 PM CST

Rebs try to stay atop the SEC West standings and keep bubble hopes alive.

Fresno State at New Mexico State - 8:00 PM CST

Must-win game for the Aggies if they're to keep slim at-large hopes alive.

Washington at Oregon - 9:30 PM CST

UW is likely out of the running for a NCAA berth, while Oregon isn't far from joining them.

SUNDAY

Louisville at Connecticut - 11:00 AM CST

Loss would guarantee that UConn won't finish above .500 in league play.

Duke at St. John's - 1:00 PM CST

Late-season non-conference outing shouldn't pose much of a problem for Devils.

Arizona at Arizona State - 7:00 PM CST

Sun Devils try to pull second consecutive Sunday upset.

U.S.A.
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