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Tolerable Thursday - 22 January

There are quite a few games on tonight, but tonight's action will be hard pressed to match last night's. Northwestern started the evening off with an upset win over Michigan State at the Breslin Center. South Carolina stunned Florida on a Zam Fredrick layup of redemption at the buzzer. Virginia Tech ended Wake's unbeaten Winston-Salem. NJIT snapped its 51-game losing streak. Northeastern beat George Mason with some tough D on the last Patriot possession. (It didn't help that John Vaughn was on his way to the hospital after suffering a concussion. Not the greatest news, but it looked like it could be far worse during the 20-plus minute delay.) UConn powered past Nova and Oklahoma did the same to Nebraska. Arizona State won in Tucson for the second straight time, the first time that's happened in a quarter-century. UNLV stunned BYU at the Marriott Center. And Clemson lost to UNC in Chapel Hill.

OK, so some things never change.

Here's the best of the slate that will try to live up to last night.

West Virginia @ Georgetown (ESPN, 7 EST) - Mountaineers haven't looked sharp lately, following up losses to UConn and Marquette with two lackluster wins over Marshall and USF. They're slipping down the S-Curve accordingly. Hoyas are looking to rebound from their loss to Duke Saturday afternoon. The Phone Booth is the right place to bounce back.

Purdue @ Minnesota (ESPN2, 7 EST) - Gophers need to show some toughness after their loss to Northwestern on Sunday. Both teams are trying to stay keep within a game of Michigan State in the loss column.

UL-Lafayette @ Western Kentucky (FCS Atlantic, 8 EST) - Hilltoppers currently lead the Sun Belt East Division, but with how up and down they are, they can't afford a slip-up against the Ragin' Cajuns.

St. Mary's @ San Diego (ESPN2, 9 EST) - The Gaels and Toreros are both 4-0 in the West Coast Conference, a half-game up on Gonzaga. USD needs this win more, as they don't have the resume the Gaels do.

UCLA @ Washington State (FSN/selected CSN networks, 9 EST) - The Cougars are only a game back of the Bruins in the Pac-10. Not bad for a team that lost as much as they did, even if two of their three league wins are against the Oregon teams. The Bruins intend to show Wazzu is a pretender this season.

New Mexico State @ Boise State (FS Arizona/Full Court, 9 EST) - The Aggies and Broncos are already two games behind Utah State in the standings. Three games would be fatal to their chances for the WAC crown, even at this early stage.

USC @ Washington (FSN/selected CSN networks, 11 EST) - Huskies can really make a case for themselves this weekend. A sweep of the L.A. schools could push them closer to the field of 65.

Also of note, Providence @ Seton Hall (ESPNU, 7 EST) - The Friars are firmly on the bubble. While they've played close games against the two Big East powers they've faced so far (Georgetown and Marquette), they've done a fine job of beating the teams below them, something crucial to having a chance at making it to March. The Pirates are still in search of their first conference win.