RTC Live: 76 Classic (Minnesota vs. Butler & UCLA vs. Portland)Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2009
The best preseason tournament begins today in Anaheim, CA, which is a bit of a shame because The OC isn’t exactly a hotbed of college hoops fans. Nevertheless, the good news is that on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, ESPN and its family of networks will be carrying all of the games from the 76 Classic, and we’ll all be treated to a tournament that hosts four currently-ranked teams and anywhere from 6-8 likely NCAA teams next spring. Our on-site correspondent, Ryan ZumMallen, will be performing RTC Live for us on Thursday and Sunday, but even we won’t ask him to live-blog every game. So, for Thursday night, he will be covering the evening session games, starting with #22 Minnesota vs. #12 Butler and ending with Portland vs. UCLA. The first game features a Minnesota team that has yet to be tested in three games against, well, nobody, and a Butler squad who shares an identical 3-0 record but has been in three relatively close games so far. With the coaching going on between Tubby Smith and Brad Stevens on the sidelines, this should be a really good battle. The late game features local favorite UCLA who is clearly trying to find its identity this season after losing so many stars the last two years (Nikola Dragovic will be back in action, however) vs. a Portland team that returns all five starters and has designs on overtaking Gonzaga for the WCC title this season. The Bruins cannot afford another loss to a mid-major (Fullerton got them last week) and Portland could really use another RPI boost by defeating a Pac-10 team (they beat Oregon in their last outing). All in all, it should be a great evening of hoops in the heart of Disneyland, and we invite you to join us instead of watching some terrible or lopsided football game.