Monday, November 24, 2014

Neutral site tournaments, part 2: Gobble gobble week

Gulf Coast Showcase (November 24-26):
Green Bay vs. East Carolina
Fresno St vs. Evansville
Marist vs. FGCU
San Francisco vs. Hawaii

Bring me all of your mid-majors!  Green Bay is the best team in this field, and the pressure will be on to hold serve for them.  Any mis-step could be fatal.  FGCU won't be an at-large team, but they're 2nd best in this field, probably.  Everyone else is playing for a chance to make a name for itself.

Maui (November 24-26):
Purdue vs. Kansas St
Missouri vs. Arizona
Pittsburgh vs. Chaminade
BYU vs. San Diego St

Boy, rough to be Arizona.  You sign up for Maui and get stuck with a marginal Missouri team.  They better hope it's K-State next, because Purdue isn't any better.  And where are the high-end teams?  SDSU is worth a signature win, but frankly Arizona needs to sweep through to avoid losing ground in the race for a 1 seed.

BYU/SDSU has high stakes.  Winner gets a decent Pitt team and a possible chance at Zona.  Loser gets the garbage game with Chaminade and the likely Purdue/Missou winner.  Meaning the loser would not get a quality win in this tournament.  SDSU probably has enough room to rebound from it.  BYU might not.

Legends Classic (November 24-25):
Villanova vs. VCU
Michigan vs. Oregon

Oregon is the lemon in this field.  Villanova/VCU is a bigtime game.  Whoever wins plays Michigan in a bigger time game.

CBE HoF Classic (November 24-25):
Arizona St vs. Maryland
Alabama vs. Iowa St

Iowa St should roll this field.  Anything less is a failure, and a scoop for someone else.

MGM Grand Main Event (November 24-26):
Oklahoma St vs. Oregon St
Auburn vs. Tulsa

I'll be surprised if it's not OkSt vs. Tulsa in the finals here.  Not a high-impact tourney, but could be a useful win for either team.

Cancun Challenge (November 25-26):
Virginia Tech vs. Northern Iowa
Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern

UNI is a bubble team.  These other 3 most certainly are not.  2 pressure games incoming for UNI.

Battle 4 Atlantis (November 26-28):
Wisconsin vs. UAB
Florida vs. Georgetown
UCLA vs. Oklahoma
Butler vs. North Carolina

It's the big one.  First off, Wisky and UNC need to avoid the quarterfinal upset.  Provided that, expect heavyweight games in the semifinals and finals everywhere.

UCLA/Oklahoma and Florida/G'town are high stakes games.  Losers likely get stuck with an easy game (read: not helpful to the resume), while the winners get two high-profile games.  Florida in particular has looked vulnerable this season.  This tournament offers signature wins that can be very valuable in March.  Pay close attention to who wins.

Preseason NIT (November 26, 28):
Minnesota vs. St John's
Georgia vs. Gonzaga

Minny/St John's is your classic bubble game.  Gonzaga should win this tournament, but Georgia can redeem some early sins by beating them.

Great Alaska Shootout (November 26-29):
Pacific vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Missouri St vs. Colorado St
Rice vs. Mercer
Washington St vs. UC Santa Barbara

Not the greatest field.  Pay attention to MSU/CSU - two sleeper agents in the at-large pool; winner will have a chance to pile up 3 neutral site wins for the resume.

Orlando Classic (November 28-30):
Santa Clara vs. Tennessee
Kansas vs. Rhode Island
Michigan St vs. Rider
Marquette vs. Georgia Tech

Boy, rough draw for URI.  Probably the 3rd best team in this field, but a loss to Kansas buries them on the wrong side of the draw with less chance for high-impact wins.  Good thing they beat Nebraska.

Obviously Kansas and MSU are the headliners and both need to hold serve twice.  Is Tennessee or Georgia Tech any good?  If so, they'll handle their business in the first game, at least.

Wooden Legacy (November 27-30):
Princeton vs. UTEP
San Diego vs. Xavier
Long Beach St vs. Western Michigan
San Jose St vs. Washington

Some sneaky good basketball here.  Xavier is a bubble team, UTEP is a bubble team to me, WMU is a sneaky good team in the MAC, LBSU could win the Big West...opportunities for all these teams here.

Las Vegas Invitational (November 27-28):
Indiana St vs. Illinois
Baylor vs. Memphis

Baylor and Memphis are both down this year.  Kind of a big game for both, can't get quality win chances slip away.

Emerald Coast Classic (November 28-29):
Middle Tennessee vs. Cincinnati
Creighton vs. Ole Miss

Cincy has no choice but to roll in these two games.

Corpus Christi (November 28-29):
Bradley vs. TCU
Mississippi St vs. St Louis

All 4 teams are irrelevant.  Well played, Corpus Christi.

Barclays Center Classic (November 28-29):
Rutgers vs. Vanderbilt
LaSalle vs. Virginia

Oof, Virginia.  What did you deserve to get stuck with this?

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