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Around the hoop: League battles top weekend slate

So how was your New Year’s?  Ready for some college hoops?  Tired of the BCS?  Good.  Weekly bracket updates start Monday (1/5) here at Bracketville.  As such, we can officially begin the countdown to Selection Sunday.  That in mind, this weekend is packed with intriguing matchups.  The Pac-10 opens league play.  Two Missouri Valley favorites lock horns.  Wake Forest gets its first true road test at BYU.  Tennessee and Kansas play for the first time – ever.  And in this region, few games top Kentucky vs. Louisville.

Oh, and did we mention that Pittsburgh opens Saturday’s festivities with a trip to Georgetown?

You can always follow important upcoming games under our schedule link from the front page.  Here is the outlook for this weekend …

SATURDAY – January 3

  • Pittsburgh @ Georgetown – Hoyas can certainly take an early hold on the Big East.  A win would give GU victories over both preseason favorites (Connecticut/Pitt).
  • Ohio State @ Minnesota – If there was an early December “must win” this would be it for the Gophers.  Losing two at home to open Big 10 play wouldn’t be ideal.
  • Missouri @ Georgia – The Tigers need to win games like this if they want to stay in the March picture.
  • Xavier @ Virginia – Muskateers need to re-find their mojo; beating an ACC team on the road would be a good start.
  • Tennessee @ Kansas – Might be one of the most interesting matchups of the weekend.  Defending champ KU has put itself squarely on the NCAA bubble.
  • West Virginia @ Seton Hall – Can a healthy Mountaineer team keep it going?
  • Michigan State @ Northwestern – Okay, don’t laugh.  The host Wildcats have played well enough to not be an afterthought.  Can the Spartans avoid a let down after a big win at the Barn.
  • Wake Forest @ BYU – Time for the Deacons to show us something.  Same for the host Cougars.
  • Creighton @ Illinois State – The two MVC favorites square off in Bloomington (IL).  Neither team did much (if anything) out of conference, so the league title is more important than ever.

SUNDAY – January 4

  • Illinois @ Michigan – Much like Minnesota, Michigan faces going 0-2 at home to start the Big 10.  The upstart Illini could turn more heads with another road win.
  • Kentucky vs. Louisville – A rivalry always worth watching.
  • Cincinnati @ Marquette – Can the Golden Eagles hold home floor again?
  • UCLA @ Oregon – The host Ducks aren’t that good, but they are tough at home.
  • Boston College @ North Carolina – An ACC tune-up for the Tar Heels and a chance for BC to not get blown out.
  • USC @ Oregon State – The Trojans might be 50-50 at this point to make the NCAAs, so every road win matters.
  • Arizona State @ California – To be legit, the Sun Devils need to win some important road games.
  • Arizona @ Stanford – For a team that hasn’t won away from home, starting with two on the road isn’t ideal for ‘Zona.

Have thoughts?  Send us a rebound – Bracketguy.

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