There will be more than 20 college basketball games over the weekend that carry postseason implications.
These just happen to be the most interesting on paper:
* Syracuse at Pittsburgh (Noon): The Panthers (17-5) are not RPI darlings because of their lousy nonconference schedule. They are tempo-free darlings, ranked No. 6 in the Pomeroy Ratings after Thursday's games. If nothing else, the Orange's visit to the Oakland Zoo should be the sort of bruising affur fans have come to know and love over the years in the Big East ... and will moving forward in the ACC.
* Duke at Florida State (2): The Seminoles have won four of their last nine at home against Duke and crave something of substance to pair with (a) a modest signature victory over Brigham Young and (b) equally modest season sweeps of Clemson and Maryland.
* Massachusetts at Charlotte (2): Atlantic 10 Roulette at its finest.
* San Diego State at Air Force (3): The Falcons have earned some attention for their four-game winning streak. Knocking off the Aztecs, even at altitude, would provide some credibility as they try to hide a tepid nonconference schedule strength.
* Alabama at Vanderbilt (4): The Crimson Tide (13-7) has a month-long win-or-else stretch, starting with this trip to Nashville. On the horizon: at Auburn, Louisiana State, at Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi State, at Louisiana State, Auburn.
* Miami at N.C. State (4): Do the Hurricanes at least creep into periphery of the argument for a No. 1 seed if they win in Raleigh. A triumph gives them victories over all three Triangle schools plus Michigan State and keeps them unbeaten in the ACC.
* St. John's at Georgetown (4): The Red Storm has both good wins (at Cincinnati, vs. Notre Dame) and bad losses (at San Francisco, vs. UNC Asheville) on its resume. Snagging a split of the season series with Georgetown would provide added credibility to St. John's spot in third place in the Big East.
* Kentucky at Texas A&M (6): The Wildcats won't top their victory over Mississippi, but paying back an earlier loss to the Aggies would keep John Calipari's crew on an upward trajectory.
* Mississippi at Florida (7): It's suddenly a significant game for the Rebels, who are in no great danger of missing the postseason but could still use something helpful for their profile. Nothing in the SEC is as helpful this season as beating the Gators.
* Indiana State at Drake (7:35): The Sycamores just won at Wichita State, bolstering their case considerably. Now comes the matter of handling prosperity against a Drake bunch that beat Creighton at home last week.
* Baylor at Iowa State (8): A pair of 14-6 teams occupying places in the 7-10 seed range meet in Ames. Someone is coming away with a moderately useful victory. Someone else will leave with less wiggle room.
* UNLV at Boise State (9): Is it now or never time for the Broncos, who have dropped four of five? Maybe not yet, but it's getting there.
* Michigan at Indiana (9): You might have heard about this one.
* Arizona State at Washington (9): The Sun Devils look for a road sweep of the Washington schools as they continue to try to pile up wins to obscure an underwhelming nonconference profile.
* Providence at Villanova (Noon): There was nothing wrong with the Wildcats losing at Notre Dame. The same wouldn't the case with a home stumble against the Friars.
* Iowa at Minnesota (1): The Golden Gophers look to put together consecutive wins after a four-game skid. It helps to be at home, where they've thrived all season. Iowa, meanwhile, could use something to propel it out of the bottom half of the Big Ten.
* Marquette at Louisville (2): The Golden Eagles share the lead of the Big East entering the weekend, while the Cardinals dropped three straight before surviving at home against Pittsburgh on Monday. Rick Pitino's team could use a strong performance, though not specifically for seeding purposes.
* Virginia at Georgia Tech (3): The Cavaliers' wacky profile could take another weird twist with a loss in Atlanta. Virginia can't do anything about its early missteps and can even chalk some of them up to Jontel Evans' foot injury. But it can avoid dropping games to teams near the bottom of the ACC standings.
* Oregon State at Stanford (3): Can the Cardinal follow up their impressive performance against Oregon on Wednesday with another victory? That game came out of nowhere for a team that's 1-7 against the top 75. So would a loss to the Beavers (RPI: No. 160) for a team that is 12-1 against everyone outside the top 75.
* Wisconsin at Illinois (3:30): The Illini's loss in East Lansing was promising, but it doesn't change the fact they are in the midst of a brutal stretch. Having to play a grinding game with the Badgers won't make things any easier.
--- Patrick Stevens