The Big 12 Week Ahead: Thanksgiving Tournament EditionPosted by dnspewak on November 21st, 2011
With all the holiday tournaments going on this week, it’s time to take a look at the tournaments involving Big 12 teams.
CBE Classic: Missouri
Opening Round Opponent: vs. Notre Dame, Monday 6:30 p.m. CT
Down the Road: vs. Cal/Georgia, Tuesday
First-year head coach Frank Haith will get his first taste of real competition at Missouri this week, as his Tigers square off against Notre Dame on Monday night. The Irish are undefeated, but their only marquee victory came against a solid Detroit team at home by six points. They’ve completed their 4-0 run without forward Tim Abromaitis, who was suspended by the NCAA for participating in an exhibition game a few years ago. Monday will mark the senior’s first game back, however, and he changes the entire dynamic of the lineup. He was preseason First Team All-Big East selection, after all. Abromaitis is one of just two returning starters for Mike Brey along with Scott Martin, while Missouri, of course, returns just about everybody from an NCAA Tournament team. The Tigers have picked up Haith’s new style of play quickly so far, but we’ll have to wait until tonight to judge this team’s true progress.
Pre-Season NIT: Oklahoma State
Semifinal Opponent: Stanford, Wednesday 6 p.m.
Down the Road: Syracuse/Virginia Tech
The opening rounds of the Preseason NIT weren’t easy for the young Cowboys, who needed an overtime thriller to defeat UTSA. The competition now picks up against an improved Stanford team, which has won four convincing games against lesser opponents. LeBryan Nash, OSU’s heralded freshman wing, has struggled to acclimate himself so far, but it’s still quite early. It’s been another freshman — point guard Cezar Guerrero — who’s carried the load so far for OSU. He made eight three-pointers in that victory over UTSA, finishing with 29 points. If Oklahoma State can get by Stanford, it will face either Syracuse or Virginia Tech in the title game. Win or lose, these Cowboys will gain some much needed experience at the Garden this week. By February, this could be a completely different team.
Maui Invitational: Kansas
Opening Round Opponent: Georgetown, Monday 11 p.m. CT
Down the Road: UCLA/Chaminade, Memphis/Georgetown, Tennessee/Duke
Even against one the most loaded November tournament fields in recent memory, the Jayhawks have a decent shot at winning the Maui Invitational this week. They may be breaking in four new starters, but they match up well with a Georgetown team that’s a little thin in the backcourt this season after losing Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. If Kansas can get past John Thompson, III’s, team, it should get a date with struggling UCLA—although the way the Bruins are playing, Chaminade might be their next opponent. Either way, Kansas should be the significant favorite in its first two games at Maui before probably matching up against Duke in the finals.