Top five games

5 Illinois at No. 7 Michigan » This one features excellent backcourt matchups. Entering Thursday's game with Penn State, the Illini had won four straight, including upsets vs. No. 1 Indiana and at No. 18 Minnesota. After reaching No. 1 three weeks ago, Michigan has lost three of its last five, missing the defensive presence of 6-foot-8 Jordan Morgan, who has played a combined 11 minutes in the defeats. (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN)

4 No. 16 New Mexico at No. 22 Colorado State » The top two teams in the Mountain West are separated by one game. Saturday is a chance for the Rams to rebound from a 61-59 defeat Wednesday at UNLV and exact revenge for a 66-61 loss last month in Albuquerque despite a 42-28 rebounding edge. Tony Snell (23 points) was key in the first meeting, outgunning Wes Eikmeier (20 points). (Saturday, 4 p.m., NBCSN)

3 Saint Louis at No. 15 Butler » The powerful duo of Dwayne Evans (6-5, 230 pounds) and Cody Ellis (6-8, 245) have helped propel Saint Louis (20-5) to eight straight wins and first place in the rugged Atlantic 10. One of the wins came over Butler as Jordair Jett scored 19 points in 23 minutes and the Billikens forced 23 turnovers, prompting Butler star Rotnei Clarke to say, "We got punked." (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPNU)

2 No. 4 Michigan State at No. 18 Ohio State » In the first meeting five weeks ago in East Lansing, the Buckeyes got 28 points from Deshaun Thomas, but the Spartans countered with their balanced starting five as all had at least eight points and four boards. Is Michigan State prime for another defeat after losing at home to No. 1 Indiana? Ohio State has lost its last four games against ranked teams. (Sunday, 4 p.m., CBS)

1 No. 11 Georgetown at No. 8 Syracuse » In the Big East's first season, John Thompson Jr. uttered the famous words, "Manley Field House is officially closed." Thirty-three years later the rivalry hasn't dimmed. On Saturday, John Thompson III leads Georgetown in its final visit to the Carrier Dome before the Orange depart for the ACC. The teams are in fine form. All 35,012 seats have been sold. (Saturday, 4 p.m., CBS)


Army at American

When » Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where » Bender Arena

After winning three straight games, Army (13-13, 6-5) can make history Saturday. In 23 years in the Patriot League, the Black Knights have never won four straight. In addition, in 14 games at Bender Arena, Army is winless. History is also at stake for American (10-16, 5-6). Since joining the league in 2001, AU has never finished in the bottom half of the standings or played an opening-round conference tournament game on the road. The Eagles dropped to fifth place in the league with a 50-44 loss Wednesday at Navy.

George Washington at Saint Joseph's

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » Hagan Arena, Philadelphia


With 12 tournament slots available in the 16-team Atlantic 10, it would take a collapse for GW (12-12, 6-5) and Saint Joseph's (14-10, 5-6) not to make it to Barclays Center. The Hawks have presence inside with 6-9 C.J. Aiken (11.1 ppg, 2.9 bpg), who leads the A-10 in blocks; 6-8 Ronald Roberts Jr. (11.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg), who leads the A-10 in rebounds; and 6-8, 255-pound Halil Kanacevic (9.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg). GW counters with 6-9 senior Isaiah Armwood (11.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.5 bpg) and 6-10 freshman Kevin Larsen (7.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

William & Mary at George Mason

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » Patriot Center


What to make of George Mason (16-11, 9-6)? The Patriots have lost their last three games in Fairfax but won their last four on the road. George Mason hasn't lost four straight at home in the CAA since 1994-95 under Paul Westhead. In a 79-60 win at Hofstra on Wednesday, Jonathan Arledge scored 20 points and Erik Copes (11 points, 10 rebounds) had his second double-double in the last four games. William & Mary (12-13, 6-9) has won three straight. Junior guard Brandon Britt has hit 14 of his last 23 attempts from beyond the arc.

Coppin State at Howard

When » Saturday, 4 p.m.

Where » Burr Gymnasium

Howard (6-21, 3-10) goes for a season sweep of Fang Mitchell and Coppin State (5-22, 2-10). In the first meeting in Baltimore, Mike Phillips (15 points, seven rebounds) led Howard to a 70-60 victory, which remains the lone win for the Bison in 14 road games. Coppin State senior Troy Franklin, who scored 24 points against Howard, played only one more game before leaving the team for undisclosed reasons. The top threat remaining for the Eagles, who have lost seven straight, is 6-5 Michael Murray (12.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg).