Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Non-conference tournaments, part III: Thanksgiving

Battle 4 Atlantis:
VCU vs. Baylor
Michigan St vs. St John's
Wichita St vs. LSU
Louisville vs. Old Dominion
The stakes:  Michigan St and Louisville are the two best teams, and it would be a stark failure for either to reach the final.  Signature win chance looms in the final, though.

VCU/Baylor is one heck of a swing game.  Winner gets Michigan St and a probable chance at Wichita.  Loser gets trapped in a bracket with St John's, LSU, and ODU.  Biiiiiig difference.  Resume-defining difference.  That game is for the world for both teams.

Wichita will be looking just to beat LSU and take their two chances at quality wins.  Everyone else would do real good just to not be in the losers' bracket.

Great Alaska Shootout:
Buffalo vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Oakland vs. Nevada
UC Davis vs. Weber St
Drake vs. Iona
The stakes:  Rough downgrade for the GAS, no one in here represents a signature win chance.  Still, as I've mentioned, neutral court wins have value, and someone's getting 3 of them.  I think Nevada is closest to the at-large board, but this should be a wide-open tournament.

Advocare Invitational:
Indiana St vs. Iowa St
Stanford vs. Miami
Gonzaga vs. Quinnipiac
Seton Hall vs. Florida
The stakes:  Here's a tournament that represents what can go right or wrong in a tournament.  Gonzaga represents a signature win chance...Miami, Iowa St, Stanford, Florida could all vary from great opponents to non-NCAA opponents...and there's a landmine in Indiana St and Quinnipiac.  All you can do if you're any of these teams is win and hope.  If you're Gonzaga, hope you win and then the SHU/UF winner turns out to be good.  Same for Iowa St and Stanford/Miami.  There's a lot of hope that the next team you line up against ends up being good.  Every year there's a tournament where the losers bracket ends up with a really good team, and the winner of the tournament doesn't even get a quality win out of the tourney.  This feels like that tournament to me this year.

Temple vs. Florida St
Illinois vs. West Virginia
The stakes:  Given that Temple and Illinois appear to be poop, it's mega-important for FSU and WVU to hold serve, and then take their chance at a quality win.

Wooden Legacy:
Texas A&M vs. Cal St-Northridge
New Mexico vs. Virginia Tech
Dayton vs. Nebraska
Portland vs. UCLA
The stakes:  For teams like VaTech and New Mexico, a very important first game to get on the bracket side with A&M and UCLA.  Loser gets trapped.  Same with Dayton/Nebraska, but Dayton should win that.  Other than that, this will be all about which teams can't hold serve.

Las Vegas Invitational:
Vanderbilt vs. Butler
Arizona vs. Santa Clara
The stakes:  Vandy/Butler is clear.  One chance at a good win and a house money chance against Arizona.  Simple stakes.

Emerald Coast Classic:
Virginia vs. Iowa
Memphis vs. Providence
The stakes:  Nothing special.  Chances at quality wins, nothing resume-defining in this tourney unless someone beats Virginia.

Barclays Center Classic:
Maryland vs. Richmond
Kansas St vs. Boston College
The stakes:  If Maryland doesn't win, something will have gone horribly wrong.

Savannah Invitational:
Mercer vs. East Carolina
Akron vs. Air Force
The stakes:  Likely no bracket impact, but a couple decent neutral court wins are available here, and it may be worth a seed line for a conference champ in March.

Global Sports Classic:
Washington vs. Western Kentucky
The stakes:  Meh.  Washington should handle this.

No comments: