Preseason Tournament Preview: SEC EastPosted by Brian Joyce on October 21st, 2011
Pack your bags and get ready for some basketball! Everything you need to know about the preseason basketball tournaments involving SEC East teams this season are right here… Well, everything except local travel arrangements and restaurant suggestions. Get ready for remote and beautiful destinations such as Maui, Hawaii; Kansas City, Missouri; somewhere in Connecticut; and East Rutherford, New Jersey. We can only hope that the basketball being played is as stunning as the scenery. If you’re ready to hit the Motel 6 in your city of choice and watch some great hoops then we have you covered with the rest of the details. Just don’t forget to leave the light on.
Progressive CBE Classic
- The field: *Missouri, *Georgia, *Notre Dame, *California, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Detroit, George Washington, Mercer, Niagara, Sam Houston State, South Dakota State (*automatically advances to championship round)
- Dates: November 13 – 17, 2011; Championship rounds – November 21 & 22, 2011
- Location: Kansas City, MO
- 1st round Matchup: Georgia vs. California
- Potential Later Round Matchups: Georgia vs. Notre Dame or Georgia vs. Missouri
- Thoughts: In the opening round of championship play, Georgia plays a Golden Bears team that should challenge Arizona and UCLA to win the Pac-12. Cal returns three double figure scorers from last year and looks to build upon a fourth place finish. Meanwhile, Georgia lost Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins as early entries into the NBA draft. Mark Fox’s Bulldogs will be looking for leadership and scoring, and could find both in freshman McDonald’s All American Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Win or lose, Georgia will be matched up with either the Fighting Abromaitis’ team of Notre Dame or the Missouri Tigers. Missouri has outstanding guard play and will test Georgia’s young back court. Tim Abromaitis is a 6’8″ bruiser who will challenge the void left down low by the losses of Leslie and Thompkins.
- Prediction: Georgia drops both to come back to Athens 0-2.
EA Sports Maui Invitational
- The field: Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA, Chaminade
- Dates: November 21 – 23, 2011
- Location: Maui, Hawaii
- 1st round Matchup: Tennessee vs. Duke
- Potential Later Round Matchups: Tennessee vs. Michigan; Tennessee vs. Chaminade
- Thoughts: The Maui field is stacked with great teams. Well, except for Chaminade and our very own Tennessee. Bruce Pearl left the shelves bare (insert other H.T. Hackney joke here) for new Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin. The Vols face a very good Duke team that will likely pound Tennessee’s depleted frontline with Plumlee after Plumlee. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Tennessee could face a rematch with a Michigan team that blasted the Vols last year in the NCAA Tournament to the tune of 75-45. And that Tennessee team was a lot better than the 2011-12 version. At least the Vols get to enjoy time in Maui because the rest of the trip may not be pretty.
- Prediction: UT comes out of Maui with a 1-2 record after defeating D-II Chaminade for 7th place.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off
- The Field: Naismith bracket – Kentucky, Old Dominion, Penn State, South Florida; Springfield bracket – Vermont, Long Island, Radford, Marist
- Dates: November 19 & 20, 2011
- Location: Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun Casino)
- 1st Round Matchup: Kentucky vs. Penn State
- Potential Later Round Matchups: Kentucky vs. South Florida or Old Dominion
- Thoughts: Penn State doesn’t have much to be excited about. The Nittany Lions return one starter who averaged 6.3 PPG and lost their head coach to Navy (as in, the US Naval Academy). This is from a team that lost to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament by the final score of 36-33. This opening matchup should be an opportunity for the young Cats to flex their muscles and breeze by to the next round. In the championship round, Kentucky could see a slightly more competitive game. Old Dominion is a team that beat VCU last year in the CAA Tournament and came within a bucket of the National Runner Up Butler Bulldogs. However, ODU will be without leading scorer Kent Bazemore until December. Stan Heath has the University of South Florida on the upswing, and the Bulls could be the opponent matched up with Kentucky in the championship round. The Bulls return senior power forward Gus Gilchrist, who averaged 13.4 PPG last season. USF showed some improvement beating VCU in the early part of last season, beating Villanova in the Big East tournament and taking the National Champion Connecticut Huskies to overtime in an eventual loss late in the season.
- Prediction: UK sweeps the two games rather easily.
Ticketcity Legends Classic
- The field: *Texas, *Vanderbilt, *NC State, *Oregon State, Boston University, Bucknell, Cleveland State, Hofstra, Morehead State, Princeton, Rhode Island, West Alabama (*automatically advances to championship round)
- Dates: November 13 -17, 2011; Championship Rounds – November 19 & 21, 2011
- Location: East Rutherford, NJ
- 1st Round Matchup: Vanderbilt vs. NC State
- Potential Later Round Matchups: Vanderbilt vs. Texas
- Thoughts: Vanderbilt is high on expectations and loaded with talent. The ‘Dores will face NC State and C.J. Leslie in the opening round of championship play. Vandy will be without center Festus Ezeli, but should still be able to handle the Wolfpack’s frontcourt. The potential matchup against Texas in the championship is intriguing. The Longhorns lost a ton of talent from last year, but return guard J’Covan Brown and bring in outstanding freshman Myck Kabongo. Vandy should win this tournament, but wins over NC State and Texas would be quality, confidence building wins.
- Prediction: Vandy sneaks by a trending-upward NC State team and a Texas team that hasn’t quite put it together yet so early in the season.