ACC M5: Early Season Tournaments, Part II Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on November 19th, 2018

morning5_ACC

Note: To gauge relative team strength, we use current KenPom ratings. All times are Eastern.

  1. Cayman Islands Classic: Clemson (#18) travels to the Cayman Islands this week as the tournament favorite, as Creighton (#41) is the only other squad currently among KenPom’s top 100. This event will not be shown on traditional television, but all the games will be available on Facebook via Stadium College Basketball. The Tigers will face Akron (#149) in today’s opening round (11:00 AM) and will follow that up by playing against either Georgia (#102) or Illinois State (#113) in Tuesday’s semifinals. If they win those two games, Brad Brownell’s team will play in Wednesday’s championship game (7:30 PM). Hopefully Clemson will face the Bluejays in the finals — otherwise this trip won’t do much for Clemson’s non-conference schedule strength.
  2. Maui Invitational: Duke(#1) will be making its fifth trip to the Maui Invitational this week, the traditional marquee event of Feast Week. Mike Krzyzewski’s teams have never lost in this event, but Duke will have to get through a loaded field in Hawaii to keep that streak alive. The Blue Devils will face San Diego State (#56) in today’s opening round (ESPN2 – 5:00 PM) and will follow up that game with either Auburn (#10) or Xavier (#69) in Tuesday’s semifinals. If they can get through that draw, Duke would likely get a shot at Gonzaga (#6) in Wednesday’s championship game (ESPN2 – 5:00 PM). So far, Zion Williamson and the explosive young Blue Devils have been must-watch TV, so we expect this to be the most discussed event of the week. If you’re looking for a sleeper in Maui, watch out for Iowa State (#27) — the Cyclones have looked strong in winning their first three outings of the year.
  3. Fort Myers Tipoff: This is probably the least appetizing tournament of Feast Week. The four teams involved do have something in common, though — each has already suffered a home court upset loss. Boston College (#87) will look to bounce back from its disappointing 76-69 loss to IUPUI by squaring off against Wyoming (#187) (FS1 – 9:00 PM) following Loyola-Chicago (#68) versus Richmond (#140). Tonight’s winners will meet in Wednesday’s title game (FS1 – 7:30 PM). To win this event, Jim Christian will need better bench production than he’s been getting — Boston College’s reserves have tallied only 19 points in three games. This will be especially true if the Eagles meet Loyola-Chicago in the finals, as the Ramblers return some key pieces from last year’s surprising Final Four club.
  4. NIT Season Tip-Off: The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will once again host an event that involves an ACC school. Chris Mack will have his work cut out for him this week as his Cardinals are guaranteed to play two top-notch opponents. Louisville (#55) takes on Tennessee (#9) in Wednesday’s opening contest (ESPN2 – 5:00 PM) with Kansas (#2) and Marquette (#34) doing battle in the nightcap. The winners will play in Friday night’s championship game (ESPN2 – 9:00 PM). This will be a huge step up in competition for Louisville, whose 3-0 start has been achieved against a schedule that is ranked 331st in the nation, according to KenPom. It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals can continue their early hot shooting. So far, they’re converting 64.7 percent of their two-point attempts and a blistering 78.0 percent from the free throw line.
  5. Battle 4 Atlantis:  Virginia (#4) will be favored to come out of the Bahamas with three wins but it will not be easy — crazy things have happened here before. Last year’s tournament got turned upside early and remained that way as two preseason top-10 squads, Arizona and Purdue, ended up playing for seventh place. Tony Bennett’s team will first see action on Wednesday night (ESPN2 – 9:30 PM) when the Cavaliers take on Middle Tennessee State (#165). On Thanksgiving Day, they will face either Butler (#31) or Dayton (#100). There are some big name programs on the other side of the bracket – Wisconsin (#14), Florida (#28) and Oklahoma (#42). If Virginia meets the Badgers in Friday afternoon’s championship game (ESPN – 2:00 PM), we hope the offenses are better than they were in the two latest match-ups between the two — neither club reached the 50-point mark in December slugfests played in 2013 and 2017.
Brad Jenkins (368 Posts)


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