Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Early Season Event Guide

Links to/commentary on some early season and holiday hoops tournaments/events. I'll probably add a few more and make this a permanent link at some point. But, this can whet your appetite for now. Some of these events tip off in less than two weeks.

2K Classic (Coaches vs. Cancer)
This one is set up for the four host schools (St. John's, Maryland, Texas, and Michigan State) to get through to MSG on November 16-17.

Basketball Travelers
They have put together six four-team sites to host round robin games.

BCA Invitational
All games are at Syracuse. The 'Cuse, St. Francis (NY), UTEP, and Penn will play a round robin.

Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Ohio State at North Carolina is the big headliner, but barring a significant shift in the cosmos, those teams will be in the bracket come March. Just as meaningful for NCAA profile purposes are:

--Florida State at Wisconsin. The 'Noles can make an early statement.
--Maryland at Illinois. Maryland has missed the NCAA Tourney two straight seasons. They could use a big start.
--Michigan State at Boston College. The Spartans can show that they cannot be written off as a rebuilding team with a win here.
--Indiana at Duke. What a start to the Kelvin Sampson era if the Hoosiers pulled off an upset in Cameron.
--Virginia at Purdue. Both teams looking to make a move upward.
--Iowa at VA Tech. Tech returns five starters and Iowa lost a ton.

Games are played Nov 27-29.

CBE (College Basketball Experience) Classic
Formerly known as the Guardians Classic, the CBE pods are hosted by Duke, Marquette, Stanford and Texas Tech. Pod winners will meet in Kansas City, MO, on November 20-21. Duke and Marquette should have easy roads, but Texas Tech will likely have to get through a seasoned Akron club. In fact, on a neutral court, I would favor the Zips. Even in Lubbock, Akron may be favored. Stanford's pod is a tossup, as both Air Force and Long Beach State reside in their section.

Great Alaska Shootout
Hofstra can get on the map in a hurry on Thanksgiving weekend. They look like the team to beat in this field.

Las Vegas Invitational
Teams will play at campus sites, then head to Vegas where the headline games include Western Kentucky vs. Ball State. Oh yeah, and Florida vs. Kansas. Not a bad November matchup, I guess.

Maui Invitational
This maybe the strongest of the in-season event fields. Oklahoma, Memphis, Purdue, Georgia Tech, DePaul, Kentucky, UCLA and Chaminade will do battle in Maui from Nov 20-22.

Old Spice Classic
This field is almost as strong as your Uncle Fred's scent after slapping on a boatload of Old Spice aftershave. Arkansas, SIU, Marist, Minnesota, VA Tech, West Virginia, Montana and Western Michigan will do battle in this Disney event. This is like a preseason Bubble Boy heaven. This one is also on T-giving weekend. Also, do NOT pull Uncle Fred's finger.

Paradise Jam
The PJAM is stacked! Alabama, Middle Tennessee, Toledo, Iowa, Xavier, VCU, College of Charleston, and Villanova comprise a meaty set of teams. Five of those eight figure to challenge for their conference titles. Games are played in the U.S. Virgin Islands November 17-20.

Preseason NIT
Regional rounds are played on Nov 13, 14, and 15, with the final four in MSG on Nov 22 and 24. The P-NIT also packs some heft and this year is no different. North Carolina, Gonzaga, Indiana and Tennessee are all in the bracket. Winthrop, Baylor, Rice, Butler, and Belmont all have the potential to score a big early season win.

South Padre Island Classic
I could not track down a good link to a bracket for this one. The field is solid with Sam Houston, East Tenn St, Wisconsin, Missouri State, Auburn, OK State, Delaware State, and Southern U. meeting up during T-giving.

SportsTime Ohio BCA Classic
Ohio State hosts VMI, Princeton, Loyola-Chicago, Kent State, South Dakota State, Alabama A&M, and IUPUI.

Top of the World Classic
This Nov 16-19 tourney includes Belt member Troy. Utah State looks like an early favorite.