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JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT FOR SHOPPING, AND HOOPS
December 22, 2006

SCS.com There's just enough time before Christmas day to squeeze in a little last-minute shopping, and of course a bit of college hoops as well. A number of teams are taking advantage of that opportunity, setting up several nice matchups on either Friday or Saturday this weekend before the entire country takes the following three days off in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. A number of the weekend's best games will take place out west in either the Rainbow Classic or the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. Among the top games being played on campus are a couple of matchups set to hit the hardwood in SEC country, as Tennessee welcomes in Texas, while Florida plays host to Ohio State. Below is a complete look inside the upcoming weekend.

[ Must-See Games in Orange ]

RAINBOW CLASSIC - Friday through Saturday

This event got started on Wednesday, and after two days of action, four of the eight teams have one win while the other four dropped their first game. Nebraska will take on Hawaii, while Creighton will battle Houston on Friday in the winner's bracket before those winners meet on Saturday to determine the champion.

LAS VEGAS CLASSIC - Friday through Saturday

Friday matchups pitting Kansas State against Southern Cal and Wichita State versus New Mexico highlight the first day in Las Vegas. The winners then meet on Saturday to determine a champion. So what to watch for? How about USC star Nick Young trying to take down first-year head coach Bob Huggins' Wildcats. Or the sixth-ranked and still unbeaten Shockers going up against the 8-2 Lobos. Regardless of who wins those first games, the resulting matchups on Saturday should both be worth keeping an eye on.

FRIDAY

Massachusetts at Kentucky

Expectations are high for the 9-2 Minutemen whose last outing was a win on the road at Louisville. Each of UK's three losses thus far came against a top fifteen opponent.

North Carolina at St. Louis

The Heels head out on the road for one of their toughest tests yet against a Bilikens squad that is fresh off a thriling, one-point win over rival Missouri State earlier this week.

Missouri State at South Florida

Speaking of MSU, the Bears will try to rebound from that loss to SLU, but a trip to USF won't make that easy. The Bulls are 9-3 on the year, though they have dropped their last two.

Georgia at Georgia Tech

It should be a great battle when these two meet on Friday, each with high hopes for the upcoming season. UGA is pumped after last weekend's win over Gonzaga, while Tech is hoping to get back on track after losing three of their last five.

Nevada at Akron

The Pack is expected to be a force on the west coast this season, but their venture to the midwest will not be easy. The Zips are 7-2 on the year with a win over Oral Roberts earlier this month.

Texas A&M at Auburn

The Aggies have not backed down from the tough opponents this season, and though the Tigers aren't expected to be anywhere near the top of the SEC standings this fall, it will be yet another big test for A&M.

Oral Roberts at Arkansas

ORU has failed to ride the momentum from their big win over Kansas earlier this year but has a chance to grab another big victory here over an Arkansas team that has dropped two in a row.

SATURDAY

Texas at Tennessee

The Horns are young and inexperienced but very dangerous, as they've already shown against the likes of LSU and Arkansas. The Vols, winners of five straight, will try to avoid becoming their third SEC victim already this year.

Boston College at Kansas

After both were hyped early in the year, losses seem to have moved each to the back-burner, but that will change as they hit the floor on Saturday. The winner gets a big boost just before Christmas and the start of conference play.

Michigan State at UCLA

The Spartans have been cruising against easy competition lately, but that streak ends on Saturday when they head out west. The Bruins have yet to lose and are ranked #1 in basically every college hoops poll there is.

Ohio State at Florida

It's the game of the weekend, as the defending champs play host to a team with very real title dreams of their own this season. Which squad will light it up from downtown? Will Oden and Noah go head-to-head, and if so, who prevails? Those are just a couple things to watch when these two get together in Gainesville.

Dayton at Pittsburgh

The Flyers are indeed flying high after a 10-1 start to the season, including wins over Louisville and Creighton. This will be their toughest test yet, though, as the Panthers are expected to be near the top of the Big East standings this spring.

Southern Miss at Bradley

The Eagles have lost just once, that to Alabama last weekend. Bradley, meanwhile, is staking their claim as one of the country's top mid-majors after early-season victories over DePaul, Rutgers, and Iowa State.

U.S.A.
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