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January 1, 2009

Hoyas rough week highlights five to watch

There's nothing like playing Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame back-to-back-to back, which is what Georgetown is finishing up this week.

The Hoyas won at UConn in the Big East opener for both on Monday. Saturday, they play host to Pitt, then travel to play the Fighting Irish on Monday to finish off their week from hell.

While the Hoyas' games are the cream of the crop this weekend, there are some other good ones, as well. We do this every Friday; every Tuesday, we give you an early peek at the best games during the coming week.

Here's a look at this weekend's best:

This weekend's five to watch

Pittsburgh at Georgetown, Saturday, noon, ESPN: Georgetown (10-1, 1-0 Big East) had no problems with Connecticut's big and talented frontcourt. Now, the Hoyas get to take on Pitt (13-0, 1-0) and its big men Sam Young and DeJuan Blair. The Hoyas have received big contributions from sophomore point guard Chris Wright and freshman C/F Greg Monroe. Monroe has looked comfortable in the low blocks on both ends of the floor and he is a good passer out of the high post, making him a great fit for the Hoyas.

Ohio State at Minnesota, Saturday, noon, Big Ten Network: Minnesota (12-1) opened Big Ten play with a home loss to Michigan State, while the Buckeyes (10-1) beat Iowa. For the Golden Gophers to be taken seriously as a Big Ten contender, they need to win this one. This should be a grind-it-out affair. And watch the rebounding battle: Michigan State hammered Minnesota on the glass.

Wake Forest at BYU, Saturday, 8 p.m., The Mtn.: Wake is undefeated, but this is the start of a tough four-game stretch for the Demon Deacons. Three of the next four are on the road, and the home game is against North Carolina. BYU (11-1) has a nice duo in Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari, but do the Cougars have enough up front to deal with the Demon Deacons' big men? Wake (12-0) is hammering opponents on the boards, has four starters averaging in double figures in scoring and is shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Kentucky at Louisville, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., CBS: This is one of the nastiest rivalries in the country; it's too bad these teams don't meet twice each season. The Cardinals (8-3) haven't been as good as expected, and their backcourt is proving troublesome. The big guys, though, are supremely talented. Louisville's Earl Clark and Samardo Samuels going against UK's Patrick Patterson makes this worth watching. Kentucky G Jodie Meeks has been a revelation with his production. And, as expected, the Wildcats (11-3) are playing good defense.

Georgetown at Notre Dame, Monday, 7 p.m., ESPN: This will be the first Big East home game for the Irish, who opened conference play with road games against DePaul and St. John's. Luke Harangody and sharpshooter Kyle McAlarney are a potent duo for the Irish. There should be some intriguing matchups on the perimeter, and it also will be interesting to see how Monroe fares in his first matchup with Harangody. These teams met once last season, with the Hoyas winning by 19 at home. If Georgetown somehow manages to open 3-0 in the Big East

Others to keep an eye on

Tennessee at Kansas, Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN: This is the first of back-to-back toughies for the Vols (9-2), who play host to Gonzaga on Jan. 7. UT will push the pace; can KU (9-3) keep up?

Xavier at Virginia, Saturday, 2 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic/Fox Sports Net Ohio: Xavier (10-2) has struggled a bit of late. Though Virginia (6-4) isn't an ACC contender, it still will be tough to win in Charlottesville. Cavs guard Sylven Landesberg is one of the nation's top freshmen.

Penn State at Wisconsin, Saturday, 2 p.m., Big Ten Network: The Badgers (10-3) won at Michigan in their Big Ten opener and now look to have an excellent shot at starting 3-0 in league play. Penn State is 12-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, but the Nittany Lions have beaten no one of note. Are they for real?

N.C. State at Florida, Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS: Both teams have solid records NC State is 9-2, Florida is 11-2 but neither has really beaten anyone. This is just the second true road game of the season for the Wolfpack.

Creighton at Illinois State, Saturday, 8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Chicago/Fox Sports Midwest: These might be the two best teams in the Missouri Valley. Illinois State is 13-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference, and Creighton is 12-2, 2-0.

Illinois at Michigan, Sunday, noon, Big Ten Network: The Illini (13-1) opened Big Ten play with a surprise overtime win at Purdue. And after this game at Michigan, the Illini play four of their next five at home. The Wolverines (10-3) opened league play by losing at home to Wisconsin, and starting 0-2 in conference action with both losses at home isn't something that legit title contenders usually do.

Boston College at North Carolina, Sunday, 5:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net: This is the ACC opener for the Tar Heels (13-0). Can they get through the ACC unscathed? And can Boston College guard Tyrese Rice light up the Heels again?

Arizona State at California, Sunday, 8 p.m., Comcast SportsNet California/Fox Sports Net Arizona: The second of two tough Pac-10 games to open conference play for each team. At least Cal is at home.

Arizona at Stanford, Sunday, 10 p.m., Fox Sports Net: The second of two tough Pac-10 games to open conference play for each team. At least Stanford is at home.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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