NCAA Basketball: 10 Must-See Games of the Week

Geoff EstesCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2011

NCAA Basketball: 10 Must-See Games of the Week

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    Another week of college basketball is in the books, which means it is time to look ahead to next week. 

    Many teams are getting into their regional games this week, playing local or in-state opponents.  This makes for quite a few interesting matchups.

    The problem with this week is that most of the good games are not until the weekend.  This will help us get over not having any college football to watch on Saturday, but it may make the week drag on a little bit.

    Here are my top 10 games of the week.

Washington vs. No. 16 Marquette (12/6, 9:00 PM ET)

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    Marquette will surely move up in the polls after its impressive win over Wisconsin on Saturday.  The Golden Eagles have looked good so far this year, especially the duo of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. 

    Washington is not the same team it has been the last couple years, but it has still shown some promise.  It enters with two losses already, one coming to surprising St. Louis and the other to Nevada. 

    Not bad teams, but not exactly Duke and Kentucky.

    This should be an interesting battle on a neutral court.  If Marquette plays with the intensity it played with against Wisconsin, Washington better bring its A-game.

Arizona @ No. 9 Florida (12/7, 7:00 PM ET)

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    Arizona travels to Florida on Wednesday in a battle of two-loss teams. 

    Arizona entered the year with a lot of expectations, but it has failed to live up to them.  The Wildcats lost back-to-back games against Mississippi State and St. John's.  They responded by winning two somewhat close games over New Mexico State and Northern Arizona. 

    Florida's two losses are far more impressive, coming by seven to Ohio State and four to Syracuse, two Top Five teams.  While those close games are nice, Florida still has yet to beat a quality opponent.

    This is a big game for both teams to build confidence going forward.

No. 11 Xavier @ Butler (12/7, 9:00 PM ET)

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    Xavier had all but lost to Purdue on Saturday before erasing a 19-point deficit to win the game, led by Tu Holloway's 21 points.  The Musketeers will likely see themselves ranked in the Top 10 entering this game.

    Butler is 4-4 on the season, with losses coming to at least two very good teams in Louisville and Indiana. 

    Butler is not as good as the last two years, obviously, but it is still a scrappy, well-coached bunch, who can knock off anybody. 

    Xavier better be careful.

Harvard @ No. 10 Uconn (12/8, 7:00 PM ET)

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    Harvard is for real this year.  The Crimson enter at 8-0 with impressive wins over Florida State and UCF. 

    UConn has been good at times, but the team has also looked very young at times.  Its loss to UCF a week ago was followed up Saturday with a win over Arkansas.  Jeremy Lamb is leading the team in scoring, putting up over 20 points a game.

    If Harvard can pull the upset on Thursday, look for the Ivy Leaguers to be ranked for the first time in who knows how long.

Iowa @ Iowa State (12/9, 8:00 PM ET)

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    All right, all right.  This is a homer pick.  But it's my list, so I can put the Hawkeyes on it if I want.

    The in-state rivalry is renewed when Iowa travels to Ames to take on Iowa State.

    The Cyclones were expected to be better than they have shown so far this year.  Losses to Drake, UNI and Michigan have not made the Cyclones look too good. 

    Transfers Royce White and Chris Allen have not been as successful in the state as they would have liked.  A win over Iowa would help that.

    The Hawkeyes have been blown out by Clemson, Creighton and Campbell.  In two of those games, the Hawks haven't looked too bad, until the shot goes up.  They are getting the shots they want, they just aren't making them.

    Hawkeyes senior Matt Gatens would sure like to beat Iowa State in his senior season.  This should be an intense game Friday night in Ames.

No. 1 Kentucky @ Indiana (12/10, 5:15 PM ET)

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    I can't wait for this one.

    Kentucky looked awfully good on Saturday, beating North Carolina in a great game.  Add that to the dismantling of St. John's earlier in the week, and the Wildcats are flying high.  Terrence Jones is looking great, and Doron Lamb is filling it up as well.

    Indiana comes in with as many losses as Kentucky: zero. 

    Cody Zeller has breathed some life into the program, as many Hoosier faithful hoped he would do.  Zeller is putting up 15.4 PPG and 7.6 RPG only six games into his college career.

    This is always a borderline rivalry game, but it has a little more meaning this year, with both schools being legitimate Top 25 teams.

No. 2 Ohio State @ No. 14 Kansas (12/10, 3:15 PM ET)

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    If any team has a claim to be ranked first instead of Kentucky, it is Ohio State.

    The Buckeyes have looked unstoppable so far this season. Their 85-63 win over Duke last week was one of the most impressive performances by an entire team in a long time. 

    Jared Sullinger has to be the front-runner for Player of the Year right now.  He's putting up 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

    Kansas has two losses, but they were as acceptable as losses can be.  It dropped two close games to Duke and Kentucky. 

    When Kansas welcomes the Buckeyes to Kansas on Saturday, expect Phog Allen Fieldhouse to be rocking.

No. 20 UNLV @ No. 7 Wisconsin (12/10, 2:00 PM ET)

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    Not a good week for the Badgers.  First, they lost a lead to North Carolina in a very winnable game in Chapel Hill, then on Saturday, they lost at home to in-state rival Marquette.

    The Badgers don't make it any easier on themselves when they welcome UNLV to Madison on Saturday.

    UNLV had a bit of a letdown week following its upset of North Carolina.  The Rebels beat UCSB in two overtimes, and then they were beaten soundly by Wichita State on Saturday. 

    Both teams need this bounce-back win to get some national respect back.

Cincinnati @ No. 11 Xavier (12/10, 12:30 PM ET)

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    The Battle of Cincinnati.

    Xavier enters this game following its matchup with Butler, which I have already touched on.

    Cincinnati is still looking to find its footing on the young season.  The Bearcats dropped games to Presbyterian and Marshall.  The loss to Marshall came in overtime. 

    Cincinnati had a nice comeback win over Georgia last week.

    Xavier has obviously become the premier team in Cincinnati.  The Bearcats will try to steal back some of that thunder on Saturday.

Murray State @ No. 21 Memphis (12/11, 6:00 PM ET)

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    Murray State has done exactly what its name says it does. 

    The Racers have raced out to a 9-0 record with wins over such schools as Dayton, Southern Mississippi, Western Kentucky and UAB.  Murray State is a typical, athletic mid-major who every Top 25 team is scared of seeing in March.

    Memphis was ranked in the Top 15 to start the season, but it has faltered twice to Michigan and Georgetown. 

    The Tigers go to Miami on Tuesday to play the Hurricanes and travel to Louisville on the 17th to take on the sixth ranked Cardinals. 

    The Murray State game is to be played between Miami and Louisville. 

    Can anybody say "trap game?"