A brief family vacation this means we're previewing the weekend a day early; but first, a look back...
In The Books
Creighton 75, Butler 64: The Jays ran away with this game at home, handing Butler their third lost of the season and second in Big East play.
Michigan State 65, Minnesota 47: The Spartans locked down defensively, holding the Gophers to .72 points/possession, their lowest opponent point total of the year.
Iowa State 96, Oklahoma State 86: The Cyclones pick up a good road win, while OK State falls to 0-4 in Big 12 play.
North Carolina 93, Wake Forest 87: The Tar Heels escape Winston Salem with a win, setting up their huge showdown with Florida State at home on Saturday.
Illinois 85, Michigan 65: The Wolverines defense is a mess. A tournament bid seems like a long shot at this point.
Michigan’s allowed 1.20 points per possession or more in three of four B1G games. Conference opponents shooting 57 percent on threes.
— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) January 12, 2017
Tipping Off This Weekend
Notre Dame at Miami FL: The Irish take their 3-0 ACC record south to the Watsco Center.
UCLA at Colorado: The Bruins last road swing saw their first loss of the year at Oregon. Colorado would love nothing more than pulling of the signature win they so badly need.
SMU at Cincinnati: The AAC drivers seat is on the line, especially if the Mustangs can pull the upset on the road.
USC at Utah: A big opportunity for the Utes to get on firmer ground, bubble-wise.
Ohio State at Wisconsin: The Badgers look to bounce back at home from Sunday's loss at Purdue.
Duke at Louisville: The Blue Devils are back on the road after falling to Florida State on Tuesday in which Grayson Allen looked disjointed and Harry Giles was only available for a handful of minutes. The loser will be dealt their third off of ACC play.
Virginia at Clemson: Two more ACC teams looking to avoid their third ACC loss.
Florida State at North Carolina: Here's the biggest reason neither of the previous teams want to pick up their third ACC loss, the winner of this game will hold a three-game advantage over those teams.
Baylor at Kansas State: How to the Bears bounce back from such a poor showing on Tuesday, their first after getting the consensus #1 ranking.
Wichita State at Illinois State: The road test will be the Shockers biggest in conference play.
UCLA vs Utah: The Bruins look to survive a tough weekend road swing, while Utah badly needs a signature win.
Xavier at Butler: Both teams are coming off decisive losses and look to send a message that they're still ready to contend for Big East supremacy.
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga: The first round of the WCC's battle of titans takes place in Spokane.
Michigan State at Ohio State: Both teams were on the outside of my latest Bracketology 2017, but wins like this could put them back on the right side with time to play themselves onto solid ground.
USC at Colorado: The Buffalo are favored in this home contest, one they'll definitely want to win to prove themselves as tournament-hopefuls.
Iowa at Northwestern: The Wildcats continue their quest for their first ever NCAA Tournament berth.