Here in the Nation blog and other places on our site, you’ll find preview info for three of the biggest games this weekend: Kentucky-North Carolina, Duke-Butler and Illinois-Gonzaga. Those aren’t the only matchups we’re looking forward to, though. Here are 10 more key games that’ll take place over the next three days:
Kansas State at Washington State (11 ET): K-State will have chances for quality road wins in the Big 12. Washington State won’t have as many opportunities like this one, certainly not in Pullman. With or without a healthy Reggie Moore (wrist), this Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series game is a big one for the Cougars.
Utah State at Georgetown (Noon ET, ESPNU): The Hoyas have three solid wins at Old Dominion, vs. NC State in Charleston and against Missouri in Kansas City. Get the Aggies and that’s a fourth. Obviously for Utah State, the favorite in the WAC again, a road win clear across the country against a highly ranked team from the Big East would do wonders for perception.
Harvard at Michigan (1 ET): After a strong showing in a surprising win at Clemson, John Beilein has to keep the momentum going and can’t afford to lose to his predecessor. The Wolverines better be careful, though. Tommy Amaker returns to Ann Arbor and brings with him a Crimson squad that just crushed Colorado.
West Virginia at Miami (4 ET): After a horrendous loss to Rutgers, Miami lived up to its potential with a convincing home win against Ole Miss on Tuesday. Taking out the Mountaineers -- who are gunning for the Top 25 and could very well get there with a victory here -- would cancel out that loss to the Scarlet Knights and put the Canes in a solid position.
NC State at Syracuse (5:15 ET, ESPN2): For the most part, the Orange have toyed around with lesser competition, and Jim Boeheim has been mighty cranky lately. At least they’re winning, though. The Wolfpack came in with high expectations but lost by 15 to Georgetown and are coming off a 39-point shellacking at Wisconsin. NC State needs a good showing.
Boston College vs. Massachusetts (6:30 ET): The Eagles are soaring when Reggie Jackson is scoring, with surprising wins against Texas A&M and Cal in Orlando and an ACC/Big Ten victory against Indiana. UMass is undefeated (7-0) and came away with a solid road win at Quinnipiac this week. Winner of this Commonwealth Classic game in Boston will have a confidence few could’ve predicted in the preseason.
Wichita State at San Diego State (10 ET): This is the premier game in the MWC-MVC Challenge and essentially the last time the Shockers can make their mark in nonconference play. The 19th-ranked Aztecs have beaten quality competition on the road, at a neutral site and at home. The Missouri Valley favorite will offer up another tough opponent.
Richmond at Arizona State (2 ET): The Spiders lost at Iona this season, but then knocked off Purdue last weekend in Chicago. Richmond turned around and lost at ODU, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Getting another quality win away from home -- and this would suffice -- will increase UR’s stock come March. ASU, meanwhile, needs something to brag about after losing to New Mexico and Baylor by 14 each and to St. John’s by nine.
Virginia at Virginia Tech (6 ET): It’s the ACC opener for both squads, but the Hokies clearly need the win more than the Cavs. Virginia is coming off a road win at Minnesota while Virginia Tech lost at home to Purdue, which came after earlier losses to Kansas State and UNLV. A home loss here would be devastating for the Hokies, who came into this season with such high expectations.
Temple vs. Maryland (8 ET): The Owls fell flat in Orlando. Beating the Terps at the BB&T Classic in D.C. would be a major turn back in the right direction, toward a potential A-10 title campaign. Maryland just needs to show consistency and keep up its defensive intensity after embarrassing Penn State 62-39 on Wednesday.