GOP gears up for another debate

(NBC News) The field is dwindling but the intensity and stakes are not.

The remaining Republican presidential contenders gather to debate tonight in Houston with front runner Donald Trump coming in with growing momentum, and the rest of the field desperate for it.

This debate is the last time the Republican candidates will be together before Super Tuesday and it could be a last stand for those chasing Donald Trump.

"His three chief opponents all have to run in their home states and trump could beat them all," says NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd.

Which means the stakes and tension in tonight’s debate will be high.

Many analysts warn the time for other candidates to block a trump nomination is running out.

"You’ve got the Washington post with a stunning editorial about stopping trump. They feel there is some urgency now to stop trump, and that would create some historic rush towards them in the final weeks," Nicolle Wallace NBC News Political Analyst.

History that either way will begin to play out when the Republicans walk on to this stage at the University of Houston in just a few hours.