Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Archive for the ‘Preseason Tourneys’ Category

Holiday Tournament Fields Announced

Posted by Zach on August 5, 2008

I know I’ve posted about this before, but I love me some early season Thanksgiving non-conference tournaments. Especially when they kick ass. This year’s fields in Maui, Anaheim and Orlando are outstanding, loaded with top-25 teams and NCAA caliber squads. Here are the official fields and matchups:

Maui: It’s really all about the Notre Dame-North Carolina final set up by the committee. This could be the best shot for UNC to fall other than their trip to Cameron Indoor. Notre Dame is stacked with the inside-outside combo of Harangody-McAlarney along with excellent role players like Tory Jackson and Luke Zeller. We’ve beaten North Carolina to a pulp already on here; they’re loaded more so than any team in recent memory, at least in my eyes. Notre Dame first has to deal with a sneaky St. Joe’s squad and a well-equipped Texas team to make the final, but the possibility of a November 26 ND-UNC battle is one to circle.

Anaheim: Not too many big name programs on the slate for Anaheim, but the quality of the teams is vastly underrated by most. UTEP is a definite candidate to finish second behind Memphis in Conference USA and challenge for a NCAA berth, and they have to face another possible NCAA team, Saint Mary’s, who will fight with Gonzaga and San Diego in a strong WCC. Charlotte has a shot to win the Atlantic Ten this season, so it wouldn’t shock me if they scared Herb Sendek’s team a bit. The best first round game is Providence vs. Baylor as the nightcap, and the winner gets Arizona State. Look for a must-watch ASU-Wake final here.

Orlando: This is a tremendous tournament. When you have a matchup between Maryland and Michigan State in the first round, it’s a special tourney. Tennessee better prepare for Siena, one of the top mid-majors in the nation, and it doesn’t get much easier in the second round with Georgetown. One possible semifinal pits two top-10/15 teams in Michigan State-Gonzaga, with the winner likely playing Tennessee in the final, the SEC favorite.

Chow on some turkey and, rather than football, enjoy some real quality college hoops this Thanksgiving.

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ACC/Big 10 Challenge Schedule Announced; Cook and Caracter

Posted by Zach on July 16, 2008

We’ve been able to predict some matchups for awhile now based on last year’s standings, but the official schedule for the ACC/B10 challenge was released today. The solo Monday contest will pit Wisconsin and Virginia Tech, two teams that are likely middle seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Tuesday’s most intriguing matchup is Duke @ Purdue in what promises to be a close-knit thriller featuring two top 15 teams. Wednesday’s UNC-Michigan State game will be played at Ford Field and is the headliner that night. Will this finally be the year the Big Ten wins? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Mon., Dec. 1
Wisconsin at Virginia Tech (ESPN2, 7pm)

Tue., Dec. 2
Ohio State at Miami (ESPN, 7pm)
Iowa at Boston College (ESPNU, 7pm)
Clemson at Illinois (ESPN2, 7:30pm)
Duke at Purdue (ESPN, 9pm)
Virginia at Minnesota (ESPN2, 9:30pm)

Wed., Dec. 3
Indiana at Wake Forest (ESPN, 7:15pm)
Penn State at Georgia Tech (ESPN2, 7:30pm)
Michigan at Maryland (ESPNU, 7:30pm)
North Carolina vs. Michigan State (ESPN, 9:15pm)
Florida State at Northwestern (ESPN2, 9:30pm)

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Also, this from Andy Katz:

Pitt was supposed to hear this week from the NCAA about whether Mike Cook would receive a sixth season of eligibility. But the NCAA asked for more information, and Pitt has still not gotten a decision. Cook tore his ACL against Duke on Dec. 20.

I heard the Cook resolution was taken care of by the NCAA and he’d gained eligibility for this season earlier in the summer, but with the NCAA slow as usual in their decision making, Cook is on the fence. With the Panthers senior defensive leader on the floor, they become a top-5 team, possibly a favorite for number two behind North Carolina. Without Cook, the team is still immensely talented and can contend for the Big East crown, but not quite as balanced and dynamic.

Also in the Big East, can you believe Rick Pitino is giving Derrick Caracter another chance? The guy who has been a complete nuisance and selfish act his entire career, at every level, will get yet another shot to redeem his career as Slick Rick stoops to a new low in order to win. Caracter can rejoin the Cardinals in 2009-10 if he follows a list of rules including: attending all classes, finding a Pitino-approved job and getting into shape. Let me go out on a limb and say Caracter will never suit up for Louisville again.

But we all like comeback stories. So why not?

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Non-Conference Tournaments Update

Posted by Zach on July 10, 2008

Every year I get really excited for the non-conference preseason tournament slate. They always feature outstanding early season matchups and give us fans the ability to evaluate if teams are overrated or undervalued as early as November. While Maui usually shines the brightest as far as quality matchups, this year a different tournament over Thanksgiving takes the crown.

The nationally televised Anaheim Classic will feature top-25 contenders Arizona State, Baylor and Wake Forest. Also in the field are Providence and new coach Keno Davis, WCC contender St. Mary’s, UTEP, Charlotte and two more teams that have yet to be announced.

The Great Alaska Shootout normally draws very solid matchups but is now struggling to survive. Since ESPN has dropped the full telecast of the GAS, they have to pay teams 55,000 to come to Alaska as opposed to just 14,000 four years ago. The Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks recently folded and it’s becoming more and more difficult to attract teams to Alaska. The participants in 2008 are San Diego State, Portland State, Hampton, Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Western Carolina, Alaska-Anchorange and an unknown 8th team.

-The Coaches vs. Cancer leads off the season and you know Duke has to be involved if ESPN is televising. The four regionals are UCLA, Duke, Michigan and Southern Illinois. A Duke-UCLA final at MSG could be very compelling. Michigan has a threat in their region with Massachusetts.

– The Legends Classic is Pittsburgh’s to lose. The other teams are Washington State, Mississippi State and  Texas Tech.

The CBE Classic in Kansas City could feature a Kansas-Florida matchup that has been highly anticipated each year now. Only this year both teams are barely scraping the Top 25 after one of the two has won the National Title the last three years. The favorites to reach KC: Florida, Kansas, Syracuse, Washington.

The San Juan Shootout is underrated with Wright State, South Florida, Murray State and Oral Roberts.

The Puerto Rico Classic could be a tournament to keep a close eye on. John Calipari and Memphis could find themselves facing Demar DeRozan and the USC Trojans in an exciting final. Also in the tournament are Virginia Tech, Xavier, Seton Hall, Hofstra and two more unannounced teams.

The four Preseason NIT regionals: Boston College, Oklahoma, Arizona, Purdue. Don’t put Oklahoma in New York automatically, though. Davidson is in their region. Purdue has Georgia in theirs but they should be able to get past the Bulldogs.

The Old Spice Classic is the cream of the preseason tournament crop over Thanksgiving Weekend, with every game being televised by ESPN. When Georgetown is arguably the fifth or sixth best team in the field, you know you have something special. The big players are Gonzaga, Tennessee and Michigan State. Also armed and potentially dangerous are Maryland, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Siena and Wichita State.

The Maui Invitational usually is the best tournament. It’s not as star-studded as previous years, but features the best potential final: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame, a battle of top five teams. Also in the field are Alabama, rebuilding Indiana, Oregon, Saint Joe’s, the host Chaminade…and Texas, who could pull a shocker.

The Paradise Jam is also a dandy. UConn and Miami are both top-10 or 15 teams and could meet in a very good final. Watch out for San Diego and Wisconsin, as well. Filling out the field is Southern Miss, La Salle, Valpariso and Iona.

The two games in Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Invite: Kansas State vs. Kentucky, West Virginia vs. Iowa

Not a bad way to start the college hoops season.

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