The first half of the week saw one unbeaten, Clemson, go down while another, Pittsburgh, remained without a loss this season after winning on the road at South Carolina on Wednesday. And after seeing the Memphis Tigers go back and forth with Gonzaga before pulling away in the final minutes, it is clear that both of those teams will be major players on the national scene come March. This weekend's action will give a further glance into several teams' status, such as when we see George Washington travel to NC State or LSU visit unbeaten Ohio State.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
A look back at this past week's highlights: In perhaps the biggest game of the entire week, Gonzaga and Memphis battled back and forth for 35 minutes before the Tigers pulled away late and defeated the Zags ... Also on Tuesday, Wisconsin-Milwaukee picked up a nice road win at Wyoming thanks to a great second half performance in Laramie ... A couple of teams without losses had tough Wednesday night battles against SEC foes: Pittsburgh rallied from behind over South Carolina, while Clemson saw their streak come to an end against Georgia ... UAB picked up a blowout win over Oklahoma State, while Ohio State and Oklahoma avoided upsets against Gardner-Webb and Oral Roberts, respectively ... In Missouri Valley action, Wichita State slipped past Indiana State by four, Creighton stomped Missouri State, and Bradley took down Northern Iowa in overtime ... Other games of interest on Wednesday saw Air Force beat Georgia Tech, Georgetown win on the road at UTEP, Southern Illinois knock off Murray State on the road, St. Joseph's defeat St. Mary's out west, and Bucknell avoid the upset attempt by Boston University ... Pac-10 play opened on Thursday evening, and the games went as expected: Washington took down Arizona State, Arizona topped Washington State, California squeaked one out at Southern Cal, and UCLA knocked off Stanford ... Also on Thursday, Auburn battled back in the second half to beat Winthrop, while Santa Clara upset Bucknell out on the west coast.
MUST-SEE THIS WEEKEND
Virginia Tech at Old Dominion
Both teams have NCAA hopes but will need to win games like this to see those dreams come true.
Vanderbilt at Dayton
One of the SEC's better teams travels to face the Flyers, who have lost two straight since starting 8-3.
George Washington at NC State
The Atlantic 10's best squad visits a Wolfpack team that looks better and better with each game they play. Arguably the weekend's best game.
Iowa at St. Louis
Hawkeyes appear to be bouncing back from early-December slump. Bilikens are just 6-5 but took Gonzaga to the wire.
Ohio at Kentucky
Possibly the best team in the MAC (we aren't forgetting you, Buffalo) visits the Wildcats who have star center Randolph Morris back in the lineup.
Indiana State at Missouri State
Both the Sycamores and Bears lost MVC games on Wednesday, so the loser here would fall towards the back of the pack early on.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Montana
The Panthers have been one of the best mid-majors over the past few seasons, but the Grizzlies are 10-1 and recent winners over Stanford and Santa Clara.
Iona at Seton Hall
Gaels' lone loss came last week at Kentucky. Pirates have won three of their last four but struggled against quality competition.
LSU at Ohio State
If GW/NCSU doesn't suit you, then maybe this one will. The Buckeyes are still unbeaten, while LSU, a favorite in the SEC West, has dropped two of three.
Arizona at Washington
The Wildcats have yet to gel thus far and will likely struggle on the road against a UW squad that is 10-0 with a win over Gonzaga on their resume.
Louisville at Miami
The Cardinals looked horrid in their first road test at Kentucky. This is their second, and the Hurricanes desperately need a quality win.
Villanova at Temple
Each of the Owls' losses came on the road, but they've beaten the likes of Alabama, Miami, and South Carolina in Philly. Now they get a shot at one of the nation's best.
California at UCLA
In-state showdown pits an extremely young but even more talented UCLA squad against the Bears and their big man Leon Powe.
Alabama at Oklahoma
Tide has struggled against every good team they have faced thus far. Sooners have been up-and-down but still look like one of the Big XII's best.
St. Joseph's at Gonzaga
Hawks have dropped two of their last three, and it appears they will be unable to contend with the A-10's elite. A trip to Gonzaga likely spells trouble as well.
Wisconsin at Pittsburgh
Two of the most disrespected teams, both this year and in most every year, meet head-to-head. Panthers remained unbeaten with win at South Carolina on Wednesday.
Nevada at St. Mary's
Big west coast non-conference battle pits the WAC's best team against a Gaels squad that has won four of five since losing four straight.
UTEP at Texas Tech
Quality in-state showdown features two teams who would prefer to have a few more victories on their slate so far. Winner gets a boost heading into conference play.