Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Preseason NIT’

November 29: The Day After

Posted by Zach on November 29, 2008

Tennessee Georgetown Basketball

So many important games on the slate Friday. I’ll try to recap as many as possible…

Old Spice Classic: Could Siena have been a tad overrated heading into this season? Pesky Wichita State toppled them 72-70 and sent them deep into the losers bracket. The second game was undoubtedly the best of the day and possibly the tournament. Georgetown played a much better all around game than they did the previous day against Wichita State, but multiple ridiculous Cameron Tatum threes carried Tennessee to an enormous win 90-78. Yep, 90 points against that great JTIII defense. Tyler Smith was his usual solid self- 21pts, 6/12 FG, 9/10 FT- and Bobby Maze looks sensational (in some ways he could be an upgrade from Chris Lofton) with 9 assists and 0 turnovers. Maryland was playing with house money against Gonzaga after already knocking off Michigan State last night. They were simply outmanned and outtalented (word? probably not) by a Zags squad 81-59 who may have the old Josh Heytvelt back in the fold. They kept him involved in the second half and he dominated the weak Terps frontline for 22 points on 9/10 FG. In the final game, Raymar Morgan rebounded from a disastrous performance against Maryland with 29 points on 9/11 FG and 11/13 FT to pace the Spartans to a 94-79 win over Oklahoma State, who got a strong effort from Terrel Harris.

Anaheim Classic: Saint Mary’s took out their frustration after a disappointing performance against UTEP to dominate Cal State Fullerton 79-54. Patrick Mills responded with 21 points and the Gaels out-rebounded the Titans 51-28, including 10+ from Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan. The second game- a Wake Forest defeat of a UTEP team that may win Conference USA 82-79– was all about two players: Jeff Teague and Stafon Jackson. The sophomore Teague scored 29 points, dished out 6 assists and hit multiple HUGE free throws down the stretch, while Jackson scored 31 on 9/23 FG, 13/14 FT and grabbed 9 rebounds. Jackson is ultra-talented and definitely has an NBA career ahead of him. Providence forced turnover after turnover in the final three minutes to come back and defeat a 1-5 and reeling Charlotte team 67-62, scoring the last ten points of the contest. The most impressive team the entire day ended their game around 2:30 ET- the Baylor Bears and their 87-79 dismantling of #14 Arizona State. Baylor defeated the tough Sendek zone by draining 11/24 threes and only turning the ball over eight times in the entire game. LaceDarius Dunn scored 27 points and Curtis Jerrells totaled 22, holding off 24 in the final nine minutes from James Harden. Might want to start following this quick, energetic, sharp shooting Baylor squad if you’re looking for a bandwagon.

Preseason NIT: In the third-place game, Boston College scored 54 second half points en route to a nice 83-77 win over UAB. Tyrese Rice scored all 24 of his points in that explosive second half, holding off Lawrence Kinnard’s career high 29 and improving to 4-2 on the season. In the game of the day between two top-15 teams, Oklahoma defeated Purdue 87-82 in OT for the Preseason NIT crown. The Sooners managed 87 points against the normally sturdy Purdue defense by attacking the teeth of the D and living at the free throw line, taking 46 attempts as opposed to 5 for Purdue. Blake Griffin didn’t have a great game- 5/13 FG, 18 points, 21 rebounds, missed some big FT’s- so some of Oklahoma’s secondary pieces showed they’re not just a one-man team: Taylor Griffin with 19, Willie Warren with 22 and Cade Davis with 10, along with clutch free throws in the final minute.

Las Vegas Invitational: West Virginia had six players in double digits- including 14 from John Flowers- and dodged a 15/34 free throw line performance to outpace a weak Iowa team 87-68. West Virginia will face Kentucky for the championship tonight after they survived a late Kansas State run to win 74-72. Jodie Meeks was once again out of his mind, showing why he’s one of the top scorers in the country: 37 points, 11/17 FG, 11/13 FT, 4/6 3pt, and outscored KSU in the first half by himself.

Legends Classic: Washington State played their usual phenomenal defense to down upstart Mississippi State 63-52. Freshman Klay Thompson went off for 19/10 and continues to look impressive, while the Cougars held Jarvis Varnado to just four blocks! Pittsburgh continues to look strong in the early going, holding off Trevor Cook and a fighting Texas Tech team 80-67. Sam Young filled up the stat sheet as usual with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, even though he struggled overall from the floor (9/25). Two players Pitt will need to win the Big East- Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown- both played very well.

Other Games of Note

  • Dayton overcame an 0/24 (!) performance from beyond the arc to defeat Auburn 60-59 in overtime and improve to 5-0 on the season
  • Illinois (5-0) with another nice win 69-63 over Kent State and Al Fisher’s 18 points. Mike Tisdale stepped up with 20 points
  • Rhode Island will face Villanova today after a 77-72 win over Penn State. If you’re wondering, Jimmy Baron only hit four threes
  • Syracuse shockingly trailed ACC basement dweller Virginia 40-29 at halftime before rallying to a 73-70 victory at the Carrier Dome
  • California destroyed 5-0 UNLV, who just won at UTEP, 73-55, with five players in double figures and Wink Adams shooting 3/14
  • Another notch on the CUSA belt with Tulsa taking down Texas A&M 67-56 behind 16-9-7 from the talented Ben Uzoh

NW Wins Horse Trailer of the Day: Jodie Meeks, Kentucky

On The Tube Today

  • Samford @ Ohio State- 12pm (BTN)
  • Bryant Univ @ Connecticut- 1pm (ESPNFC)
  • Miss Valley State @ Iowa State- 130pm (ESPNFC)
  • North Dakota State @ Minnesota- 2pm (BTN)
  • Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State- 530pm (HDNET)
  • Denver @ Wyoming- 6pm (MTN)
  • Pittsburgh vs. Washington State- 8pm (HDNET)
  • Creighton @ Nebraska- 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Drake vs. Vanderbilt- 830pm (CBSCS)
  • West Virginia vs. Kentucky- 1030pm (ESPN2)
  • VCU vs. New Mexico- 11pm (CBSCS)

One last note: Look at my predictions for these tournaments I made and tell me I’m not Nostradamus.

Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top Games Of The Week (November 24-30) Tournament Edition

Posted by Zach on November 23, 2008

Ah, the best week of the non-conference schedule is finally upon us. This slate of Thanksgiving week games is quite possibly the most intriguing and competitive we’ve ever had. The tournaments in Orlando, Maui, Anaheim, Kansas City, Virgin Islands, New Jersey, Vegas and New York are all highlighted by top-25 matchups and historic programs. This week, settle down with some turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, and enjoy some outstanding holiday hoops.

Maui Invitational– Normally this tournament provides the top November games, and even though the honor goes to the Old Spice this time around, Maui certainly does not disappoint. North Carolina should cruise to their final past the likes of Chaminade, Oregon and Alabama. On the other side of the bracket, Texas will likely face Notre Dame in a captivating semifinal between two top-10 caliber teams. And it only gets more difficult in the final with the Tar Heels on the way. Some players to look out for: Alabama freshman JaMychal Green, Texas forward Damion James, and whether Tyler Hansbrough is close to 100%. He’ll need to be healthy in case a battle with Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody waits. Predicted winner: North Carolina over Notre Dame

Old Spice Classic– Even the first round matchups in this tournament are phenomenal: Tennessee taking on experienced and upset-minded Siena, Wichita State battling Georgetown, Maryland facing Michigan State, and explosive Oklahoma State taking on Gonzaga. This sets up a possible final four of Tennessee, Georgetown, Michigan State and Gonzaga. If you can find a better preseason tournament, please let me know. Keep an eye on whether Bobby Maze can control tempo for Tennessee at the point, if Gonzaga shows why they’re a Final Four contender or if Raymar Morgan has a huge tournament for the Spartans. Predicted winner: Gonzaga over Tennessee

NIT Season Tip-Off– The semifinal matchups at the Garden are BC-Purdue and UAB-Oklahoma, which most likely sets up a very fun final between the Boilermakers and Sooners if they can contain Tyrese Rice (who struggled badly against Saint Louis in a loss) and Robert Vaden (who led the Blazers to an underrated win at Old Dominion), respectively. It’ll be interesting to see how Purdue and coach Matt Painter’s always reliable defense attempts to contain the likes of Griffin inside and Crocker and Warren behind the arc. BC and UAB are both possible bubble teams looking to build their resume while Purdue and Oklahoma can snatch up some quality wins. Predicted winner: Oklahoma over Purdue

Legends Classic- This four-team tournament doesn’t have quite the November matchup that Tennessee vs. Texas provided last year, but there’s still reason to tune in. The first semifinal pits two defensive-minded teams in Washington State vs. Mississippi State, giving us a look at freshman Klay Thompson and shot-blocker extraordinaire Jarvis Varnado. High-scoring Texas Tech and Pat Knight take on Pittsburgh, who happens to be playing great basketball led by a healthy Levance Fields, in the other semi. Once again, you have a team like Pitt trying to build their March resume with the other three squads looking to sneak into the NCAA Tournament and pick up some quality wins early. Predicted winner: Pittsburgh over Washington State

CBE Classic– It seems like we can’t fully gauge how good the four teams in the CBE Classic will be this season, and this tournament should provide an early barometer on whether Florida, Syracuse, Kansas and Washington are contenders or pretenders. Florida has been playing outstanding basketball this season led by all-around guard Nick Calathes. The determining factor in their game against Syracuse could be if anyone on Florida can contain Arinze Onuaku in the paint. The revamped Kansas Jayhawks will be playing on a national stage for the first time, facing a Washington team looking to shake off some early season disappointment. Predicted winner: Syracuse over Kansas

Paradise Jam- Two excellent games Monday night in the Virgin Islands with the consolation game pitting Miami vs. San Diego and the championship spelling Wisconsin vs. Connecticut. Jack McClinton exploded in a one-man offense vs. Connecticut and will look to carry it over against scoring guard Brandon Johnson and a solid mid-major Torero squad. In the championship, Wisconsin’s solid defense will look to confuse the athletic and explosive Connecticut offense. Who performs better in the Trevon Hughes vs. A.J. Price matchup could determine the winner. Also, who will contain Hasheem Thabeet down low? Prediction: Connecticut 66, Wisconsin 58

Anaheim Classic– I absolutely love this tournament. Every single team brings something different to the table to set up quality games in both the winners and losers bracket. On Thursday, Saint Mary’s and Patrick Mills look to squash a dangerous UTEP team. Al-Farouq Aminu, James Johnson and Jeff Teague need to contain outstanding scorer Josh Akognon in the Wake-Cal State Fullerton clash. A-10 contender Charlotte, who nearly took down Clemson on Saturday, faces a tough matchup in Arizona State. To conclude Thanksgiving Day, explosive Baylor and Curtis Jerrells takes on high-scoring Providence. And that’s just the first day, folks. Games like Saint Mary’s-Wake Forest and Arizona State-Baylor in the semis give me no reason to leave the couch. Predicted winner: Baylor over Wake Forest

Cancun Challenge- Four teams will travel to Cancun for some decent games: Drake vs. Vanderbilt and VCU vs. New Mexico. Keep an eye on some standout players like Josh Young of Drake, A.J. Ogilvy of Vanderbilt and Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth. The VCU-New Mexico game is one to watch as both could be battling for one of the last spots on Selection Sunday in two conferences that may receive multiple bids. Predicted winner: VCU over Vanderbilt

Las Vegas Invitational– The four-team tourney in Vegas fails to live up to the standard of many others on this list, but a field of Kentucky, West Virginia, Iowa and Kansas State is still worth watching. Predicted winner: West Virginia over Kentucky

Posted in Non-Conference Tournaments, Top Ten Games of the Week | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Non-Conference Tournament Predictions/Preview

Posted by Patrick on November 18, 2008

Thursday night brings the Semi-Finals of the 2K sports classic in which all of the regional hosts moved on to Madison Square Garden.

Semifinals: UCLA will have trouble with Michigan but should end up winning because of their overall depth and poise in pressure situations. This will also be Manny Harris’ chance to show the nation what he’s all about on a huge stage, so expect a big night from him.

Duke should blow out Southern Illinois, but then again many people thought they should have blown out Rhode Island. SIU is a good team at home, but on the road against one of the better Duke teams in the past couple of years it’ll be no easy task. I expect Duke by 15+.

Finals: UCLA vs. Duke: Wow, what a match-up in the first tournament final. I want to say that Kyle Singler and Duke will win this game because they are a better team technically, but UCLA just has more talent. Darren Collison has been unstoppable and UCLA’s big men should dominate Duke inside.

Champion: UCLA

Regional Games: Certainly nothing is set in stone in terms of which teams will make the semifinals and play in New York. Arizona must beat UAB, Oklahoma plays Davidson, Boston College has to beat St. John’s, and Purdue needs to hold off Loyola. I predict that all regional hosts will advance except for Oklahoma who will lose tonight against Davidson.

Semifinals: Stephen Curry will prove to be too much for Arizona, although I expect Chase Budinger to have a big night.  Arizona needs to make sure they don’t become too hung up on stopping Curry and forget about players like Lovedale and Paulhaus-Gosselin. That could lead to their demise.

Purdue will suffer their first loss of the season against Boston College in this semifinal match-up. I love what Matt Painter has done with this program and think that they are still the favorites in the Big Ten, but Tyrese Rice will dominate in this game. Much like Curry will do against Arizona, Tyrese Rice can divert attention away from his teammates and confuse the Boilermakers all night.

Finals: Boston College vs. Davidson: This will be a match-up between two of the most dynamic guards in college basketball, and while Rice is going to be a force in this game he will be no match for Curry. As we all saw last season, Curry performs on the big stage. I don’t expect anything different from him in the final.

Champion: Davidson

Semifinals: I am not a fan of the fact that even in the unlikely event that there is an upset in the regional rounds, the hosts automatically move on to Kansas City. I think that for the true purity of a tournament format, winners should always advance.

Regardless, the first game will be between Florida and Syracuse. Florida has been surprising in their early games winning by very large margins, and most notably Nick Calathes is playing out of his mind. Although Syracuse is the more athletic team, they don’t play defense and Florida will take advantage of that. Florida will move on to the championship game.

The next semifinal is against Kansas and Washington. I would pick Washington in this game had they not just lost at Portland, a team that won just nine games the previous season. Kansas has the more well-rounded team and should move on with little trouble.

Finals: Florida vs. Kansas: Two programs that have won national championships in the past two seasons will go head to head in the CBE Classic final. While I like Kansas, Florida is the better team and Calathes will dominate once again. Kansas should hang close and make this a close game, but I expect the Gators to pull out a victory in the end.

Champion: Florida

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Quarterfinals: In the past these quarterfinal Maui games have provided much better match-ups, but this season the top seeds look like they should get out of the first round pretty easily. Don’t expect Chaminade to upset #1 UNC like they did to Ralph Sampson’s Virginia team way back when, and Indiana won’t stand much of a chance against Notre Dame. Saint Joseph’s can give Texas trouble, but the Longhorns are without a doubt the much better team. Oregon will defeat Alabama in a mild upset.

Semifinals: The Texas and Notre Dame game should go back and forth all night with great match-ups at the guard (A.J. Abrams vs. Kyle McAlarney) and forward (Luke Harangody vs. Damion James) positions. Harangody should dominate like usual, and carry the Fighting Irish to a resume building victory.

North Carolina will dominate Oregon, and it shouldn’t even be close.

Finals: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame: This game will depend on whether on not Tyler Hansbrough is ready to play at a high level, because if he is sitting out Harangody will have free reign down low. However, I expect that Hansbrough won’t miss such an important game and North Carolina will show why they are the best team in the nation beating Notre Dame by more than ten points.

Champion: North Carolina

Quarterfinals: By far the most complete tournament from top to bottom is the Old Spice Classic being played over Thanksgiving weekend in Orlando. In the first game, Siena will play Tennessee. I think that Siena will win this game much like they did against Vanderbilt in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. The second match-up won’t be nearly as compelling as the first, and Georgetown should roll over Wichita State. Michigan State will have a lot of trouble with an underrated Maryland team, but should get by to the next round. Finally, Gonzaga shouldn’t have any trouble at all with inconsistent Oklahoma State.

Semifinals: Siena will continue to play Cinderella and upset Georgetown the day after beating Tennessee. Georgetown isn’t nearly as good as their ranking and Siena is a very experienced and poised basketball team that will take advantage of the younger Hoyas.

Gonzaga will prove to have too much depth for Michigan State, and the inside-outside combination of Austin Daye and Jeremy Pargo can put up tremendous numbers. These two teams match up very well against each other, but I expect the Zags to continue their trend of performing well in non-conference tournaments.

Finals: Gonzaga vs. Siena: Two teams from mid-major conferences that are both looking to get back to the NCAA tournament and make plenty of noise in their brackets. I think that after two big upsets, trying to get three in a row will too big of a task for the Saints and Gonzaga will roll to victory.

Champion: Gonzaga

Quarterfinals: St. Mary’s should have no trouble with UTEP and move on to the second round. Cal State Fullerton will be very scrappy and keep their game close, but Wake Forest will prove to be too much for the Titans. Arizona State will walk over Charlotte, and Baylor will sneak by Providence.

Semifinals: St. Mary’s is a tremendous team that will make noise in their conference this season and probably get back to the NCAA tournament, but Wake is more athletic and should run up and down the court with ease. Al Farouq-Aminu will have one of the better games in his college career scoring more than 25 points.

Arizona State may have some trouble with Baylor, but James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph are going to lead the Sun Devils to victory and on to the finals.

Finals: Arizona State vs. Wake Forest: Harden will show why he is the best player in the Pac-10 and take over in a very important game for ASU. Supporting players such as Pendergraph, Ty Abbott, and Derek Glasser will also have great games to crush the Demon Deacons hopes of winning this tournament.

Champion: Arizona State

Other Tournaments to Check Out:

Paradise Jam: Possible match-up between UConn and Wisconsin/San Diego

Legends Classic: Pittsburgh, Washington State, Texas Tech, and Mississippi State highlight this field.

Posted in Non-Conference Tournaments, Predictions | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »