Conference races to heat up this week in the AP Top 25

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West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins reacts after a call on the floor during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Youngstown State, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Youngstown, Ohio. West Virginia won 75-64. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

The holidays gave teams a chance to recover, recharge and reset from the first two months of the season.

As the calendar flips to 2020, conference play begins for some leagues, heats up for those that already started.

The road to March is about to heat up.

This week features four games between ranked opponents and several other Top 25 teams facing stiff tests.

It starts Saturday with a Big 12 bruiser: No. 16 West Virginia at No. 5 Kansas.

The Jayhawks (10-2) won the Maui Invitational, knocked off a ranked Colorado team and stomped Stanford on Sunday. Kansas has one of the most formidable front courts in the country with Udoka Azubuike and David McComack, and talented guards to play with them.

The Moutaineers (11-1) are back to playing don't-give-an-inch defense under Bob Huggins after missing the NCAA Tournament last season. West Virginia won the Cancun Challenge by knocking off No. 24 Wichita State and pushed around No. 5 Ohio State in a 67-59 win on Sunday after laboring in a win against Youngstown State.

“I think it's that old adage of respect all and fear none,” Huggins said after the Ohio State victory. “We came off not respecting Youngstown and they gave us a heck of a game. Hopefully our guys learned from that. We're not afraid to play people, obviously, or why would we do this?