Ten Questions to Consider: Feast Week 2017

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on November 20th, 2017

Feast Week is upon us! Here are 10 questions to consider in advance of all of this week’s action…

Jay Wright’s crew should be right in the thick of things again this season. (Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY)Sports

  1. Which team near the top of the rankings has the most to gain? While there are many potential match-ups that stand out across the various tournaments this week, the Battle 4 Atlantis path to a championship for Villanova could include both Purdue and Arizona. Wins against those two teams would go a long way toward bolstering the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament seeding come March. After Atlantis, Villanova’s schedule the rest of the way currently includes only three games against KenPom top 30 teams.
  2. Which Feast Week tournament is the most competitive? While it may lack a headliner in terms of sheer star power or top-10 teams, the four-team CBE Hall of Fame Classic starting tonight should feature two days of very competitive basketball. Monday’s match-ups feature a pair of interesting storylines: Will Wisconsin be able to protect its defensive glass against Baylor; and will UCLA be able to defend Creighton? The winner of this tournament will leave Kansas City with a pair of quality wins that should hold weight into March.  
  3. Where will the action be in the PK80? The 16-team field at the PK80 Invitational is filled with a number of the top teams in college basketball. The “Victory Bracket” could result in a compelling second round match-up between Phil Knight’s beloved Oregon team and Michigan State — a big early test for the local team that looks much different than the team that won a share of the Pac-12 title last season. The best game of this tournament could come on Sunday evening if the Spartans were to face North Carolina. 
  4. Will the Maui Invitational act as a springboard for another deep NCAA Tournament run again? The past three Maui Invitational winners have each advanced to the Elite Eight or deeper, including eventual National Champion North Carolina last season. This season’s field is headlined by top-15 teams Wichita State and Notre Dame, both of which are capable of continuing that recent history of March success. The key to winning in Maui could be as simple as success in slowing down Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson. Colson is currently averaging a double-double while shooting 61.5 percent from the field.
  5. Which power conference team could be prime for an upset? The Cayman Islands Classic has not gotten a lot of attention nationally but it could prove to be a very important tournament for Iowa. After home games against three of the lowest-rated KenPom teams in college basketball, the Hawkeyes will face a Louisiana-Lafayette team that won 21 games last season and returns five of its six leading scorers. If Iowa gets by the Ragin’ Cajuns, it will have a potentially tricky game against either South Dakota State (and Mike Daum) or a Wyoming team that has gone 19-of-41 from beyond the arc in their first two games of the season.

    Bonzie Colson has gotten off to a tremendous start. (Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)

  6. Will Arizona State hit the jackpot in Las Vegas? The two-day Las Vegas Invitational could be an important tournament for Arizona State. The Sun Devils are currently on the outside of the likes of Joe Lunardi’s November bracket, but a win here would likely provide a resume-enhancing opportunity to play Xavier. The Arizona State backcourt is explosive with Tra Evans and Shannon Evans II combining for over 40 points per game so far. Two wins this week in Las Vegas could go a long way toward an at-large bid in March.
  7. Will the Gaels avoid a misstep in Anaheim? Saint Mary’s was hoping to gain a couple of quality non-conference wins at the Wooden Legacy, but a slow start by Harvard and an injury to Saint Joseph’s Lamarr Kimble has lowered the degree of difficulty of their likely opponents. The Gaels will need Georgia to advance through the other side of the bracket if they hope to have a chance to add a quality win to their resume this weekend. A loss in Anaheim would lower the margin of error for Randy Bennett’s squad moving forward into the new year.
  8. Just how important is the NIT Season Tip-Off to Rhode Island? With the recent news that Rhode Island will be without EC Matthews for four to six weeks, the Rams are suddenly in a position where they will be without Matthews for several of its key games (this week vs. Seton Hall and either Virginia or Vanderbilt, in addition to Providence and Alabama in December). With several of the Atlantic 10’s top teams already accumulating losses to the likes of Hofstra, Toledo and Niagara, a win in New York City this weekend could go a long way in giving Rhode Island’s resume an early edge compared with its conference brethren.
  9. Will Michael Porter Jr. play in the AdvoCare Invitational? The knee injury to Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. has been nothing less than a great mystery. Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin recently said, “I don’t know how serious it is, but I think it’s day to day.” While Porter missing the tournament opener against Long Beach State likely would not matter, Missouri could face issues against a St. John’s team that has gotten off to a quick start followed by a potential title game with West Virginia.
  10. Will there be a post-2k Classic hangover for Providence? Providence has already won the tournament round of the 2K Classic, but the event continues for the Friars with a campus site game against Belmont on Wednesday night. The Bruins have already beaten Vanderbilt this season and come into Providence riding high on the night before Thanksgiving. With a weekend match-up scheduled several days later against Boston College, the Friars must remain focused to win this game. They have struggled with turnovers and free-throw shooting early this season.
Matthew Eisenberg (48 Posts)


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