Floriani at the Preseason NIT

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2009

Ray Floriani is an occasional contributor and the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC conferences.  He covers college basketball in the greater New York City area.

NEW YORK CITY – A few Preseason NIT semifinal impressions as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade marches on. For years it was the Macy’s parade, long before corporate sponsorship entered our stadia and arenas.  UConn looked very good pushing the pace. The Huskies entered the semi with LSU averaging 66 possessions. Against the Tigers, UConn had a 37 possession first half and a 45-29 lead at the break. The final possession total was 69, somewhat misleading as the Huskies started using more clock the last six minutes with the game in hand. Their final offensive efficiency in the 81-55 rout was 117.

alex oriakhi uconn

I’m impressed with the UConn bigs, Gavin Edwards (15 pts), Charles Okwandu and Alex Oriakhi (9 boards). They are all skilled and can run the floor like deer. Don’t forget Stanley Robinson (14 pts, 11 reb), a matchup problem on the wing or in the paint and point guard Kemba Walker (20 pts, 5 assists). It all adds up to a strong cast.  The Huskies had some less than spectacular performances before getting here. LSU saw the Big East refs at their best to date. Coach Trent Johnson was upset that his Tigers could not handle the transition. Coach had to be concerned as well about Tasmin Mitchell (9 pts on 4-12 shooting) and point guard Bo Spencer (5 pts and 2-14 from the floor).  Storm Warren (15 points 7 rebounds) was the lone Tiger consistently productive on this night.  My baseline press vantage point saw Johnson not ranting but in virtual conversation or debate with the officials all night. Clearly, LSU had a lot more issues with execution that needed addressing.

I’m impressed with Arizona State coming out tough. Too often teams are prepared and ready for Duke but play tenuous, afraid to miss a shot or make a turnover. Herb Sendek has plenty of experience facing Duke while at NC State, so he had his team ready and playing the role of aggressor. I was especially impressed with the grit and penetration skills of Sun Devil senior guard Derek Glasser who consistently gained access to the paint.  To their credit on a night they could have been headed to a third place game on Black Friday, Duke was resilient to meet the challenge and respond. Kyle Singler (1-6 first half) hit a huge trey that sparked a mid second half spurt that allowed Mike Krzyzewski’s club to prevail 64-53.

This is Duke’s biggest team in years if not the biggest under Coach K. Still, the motion offense, movement and presentation of great looks is there. I’m looking forward to the big man matchup. UConn blocked 13 shots or 21% of the LSU field goal attempts on Wednesday. Their shot-blocking ability has to be a big concern for Duke.  I’m also interested to see how well LSU can respond after Wednesday as they meet ASU in the consolation.

To all… a happy holiday!!!

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Gazelle Group Back Up To Its Old Tricks

Posted by rtmsf on August 25th, 2009

Take a look at these two news reports, spaced about seven weeks apart this summer:

Exhibit A (July 9, 2009): 

The next chapter of Isiah Thomas’ coaching career will start amid familiar territory for the Hall of Famer: the Big Ten. FIU’s new coach is prepping to debut Nov. 9 at Ohio State in the opening round of a Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.

Exhibit B (August 25, 2009):

Isiah Thomas’ coaching debut at FIU just got a little tougher.  FIU’s first season under the Hall of Fame player will begin Nov. 9 at defending national champion North Carolina, part of a Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. It’s also the opener for the Tar Heels, according to the schedule released Tuesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

What in the name of Anucha Browne Sanders is going on here?!?

2k sports classic cvc

Look no further than our old friends, the Gazelle Group.  Yes, the entity that decided that the meaning of the word “tournament” is factually and legally ambiguous, (updated for 2009) has decided that a UNC-FIU opener would be more interesting to more eyeballs than an Ohio St.-FIU game, and as such, has switched the openers for both schools as part of its sponsored Coaches vs. Cancer tournament event.    Controversy does seem to follow Thomas wherever he goes, but we’re putting this one squarely on the shoulders of the Gazelle Group.   In comparison, these guys make college football bowl organizers look fair and transparent.

FIU’s AD Pete Garcia is no more impressed with GG than we are.  He claims that the event organizers “bullied” FIU into signing the contract under the pretense that they would face OSU, and you know what, we believe him.  He stated that Gazelle Group organizers approached him last week asking him to change teams, and FIU refused.  When they received the press release today showing UNC as their opening opponent, they were shocked, and now they’re threatening to pull out of the CvC altogether.  As for the Gazelle Group, they’re hiding behind their contract language (which does clearly state FIU will play OSU or UNC), but it wouldn’t surprise us in the least if they promised one thing and did another while they were busily redefining that a basket will be worth 4 points and a player will receive 11 fouls this year.  

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Will 2009 be the Year the Big 10 Finally Challenges the ACC?

Posted by nvr1983 on April 23rd, 2009

Yesterday the pairings for the 2009 ACC/Big 10 Challenge were announced, and cries of rejoice went up from Iowa City through Evanston over to State College as the Big 10 schools realized that they have a fighting chance at actually winning their first Challenge in the eleven years of its existence.   Let’s take a look at the matchups and show you the games where the land-grant institutions (+NW) from the midwest can actually make this happen.

acc-big-10-logo
Penn St. @ Virginia
– PSU is coming off of an NIT Championship and will return its best player, Talor Battle, along with a strong corps of juniors.  UVa will still be learning new coach Tony Bennett’s system.  This is a winnable road game for the Big Ten, and PSU will win it.

Maryland @ Indiana – Assuming Greivis Vasquez returns to school (he should), Maryland should be able to pull away from Indiana relatively easily.  Even moreso if they nab Lance Stephenson.  Tom Crean has a nice recruiting class coming in, but it’s heavy on volume, not stars, and Maryland should get this one.

Michigan St. @ UNC – Goodness, haven’t we seen enough of this already?  We don’t care who UNC loses or Michigan St. keeps.  It’s in Chapel Hill, and even that doesn’t matter.  UNC wins.

Northwestern @ NC State – NW wasn’t terribly far from being an NCAA team this year, and they return most everyone; NC State was pretty far from it and they may lose Brandon Costner.  The gut says this is a winnable game for the Wildcats, but you never know with those guys.  If the Big Ten expects to win this year’s challenge, though, they’ll need this one, so we’re giving it to them.

Virginia Tech @ Iowa – Todd Lickliter’s extremely young team should make a leap of progress next season, but we’re still not sure they’re ready for Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen.  ACC gets the road win.

Wake Forest @ Purdue – Best game of the Challenge, with two black/gold teams taking each other on.  While Wake has proven it can look dominant in November/December before crumbling in February/March, Purdue will be super-jacked for this one.  Look for Hummell and Moore to outplay Teague and Aminu as the home team wins.

BC @ Michigan – In Y2 of John Beilein’s rebuild in Ann Arbor, he worked miracles.  Next year his best two players (Harris and Sims) return, and Crisler Arena will become a place nobody wants to play.  Big 10 win.

Duke @ Wisconsin – these are the games where the home team camps out for weeks in anticipation of beating the Devils, only to watch as Duke eviscerates said home team by 18 pts in the first half on their way to a laugher.  Wisconsin will think it can win this game; Duke knows better.

Florida St. @ Ohio St. – For the first time in four years, OSU won’t be bringing in some 7-foot top recruit, but they won’t need it because they’re bringing back everyone else, including star Evan Turner.  FSU will lose their star Toney Douglas and Uche Echefu, and while they’ll be very good next year, they’ll still be adjusting to life without those players at that time.  OSU at home gets the W.

Illinois @ Clemson – This game is a tossup because both teams bring back a substantial amount of talent as well as bring in strong recruiting classes.  We have a feeling that Illinois is about to become relevant nationally again, but we’re not sure Clemson is ready to cede their spotlight.  Especially in December, when Clemson excels.  We’re going with the home team here.

Minnesota @ Miami (FL) – Tubby welcomes back every player of consequence from an NCAA squad while bringing in a top 12 recruitng class.   Miami isn’t that tough to play at anyway, but especially when Frank Haith loses three of his top five players (incl. Jack McClinton).  Minnesota wins.

There you have it.  Final results (projected):

Big Ten: 6
ACC: 5

The key tossup games in our eyes are Northwestern @ NC State and Illinois @ Clemson.  The Big Ten will need to win one of those two to supplant the ACC for the title of this challenge for the first time in, um, ever.

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Weekend Tourneylicious…

Posted by rtmsf on November 27th, 2008

So the Maui Invitational ends tonight in an early-season blockbuster game – Notre Dame vs. North Carolina – and the CBE Classic and Paradise Jam are already finished, but fear not, hoopheads, there’s plenty more on the way this week..

Continuing tonight in MSG, we have the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.  The finals will be on Friday night.  Although the marquee teams aren’t as illustrious as some of the other names we’ll see over the next few days, the PNIT still holds a certain aura in terms of its prestige and respect among college fans.  We like Purdue to wear down a spirited BC squad in the first game tonight, and Oklahoma to outlast Robert Vaden’s UAB team in the second game (Blake Griffin will have another monster game against UAB’s soft interior), setting up a top 10 showdown on Friday night between teams that you may not get to see much of this year (definitely  must-see tv on Black Friday night). Read the rest of this entry »

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Which One is Jamie, and Is She Single?*

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

Ray Floriani (pictured, center) of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the MAAC and NEC Conferences.  A dilettante of the highest order, he attended the Coaches vs. Cancer final rounds in New York last week.

ucla-dancers

*(ed. note: Ray wrote in to say that Jamie is the redhead on the far left – no, not the Bruin)

NEW YORK CITY – Part of the excitement and ambience of college basketball involves the fans. As in fanatic, passionate and devoted. Largely associated with them is the spirit groups, cheerleaders, dance teams, etc.

Coaches vs. Cancer last week in New York afforded the opportunity to meet with the UCLA Dance Team, the only team in town. “We appear at weddings, civic events and charity events,” coach Molly Vehling said. “But our most important job is cheering for our teams. We cheer at  football and basketball games and it makes me proud that we traveled the farthest and have the only (spirit) group here.”

Those chosen for teams as UCLA dancers go through tryouts. After being selected comes weekly practices punctuated by conditioning. The ladies on the dance teams, at UCLA and other schools, are athletes in their own right.

To a member, this was the first trip to Madison Square Garden for the team. They took in the obligatory sights from Central Park, Fifth Avenue to Ground Zero. Getting on the Garden floor brought added meaning to their performance.

“This (MSG) is a great place to cheer,” said Jamie, a senior. “I’ve cheered in the Staples Center which is similar but here there is so much history.” Jamie used the trip as a test. She’s a microbiology major hoping to go to law school. She’s looking at NYU Law so her first trip to the Big Apple had added significance. Her impression? “New York is a great city, just a little chilly.” Understandable since the region was hit with unseasonably cold temperatures in the low thirties.

Her teammate Michelle summed up the experience, ”this (Madison Square Garden and New York) is just an awesome place.”

After finishing the trip on a high note as the Bruins defeated Southern Illinois in the consolation game, the dance team was off to Broadway.  What show, I asked? ‘The Rockettes,” they answered in unison.  Makes sense one talented dance group seeing another.

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We’ll See Your Maui, and Raise You a CBE…

Posted by rtmsf on November 24th, 2008

Yep, Feast Week is here, and that means tons of preseason tournament action this week.  And to think that some misguided folks still associate Thanksgiving with the gridiron!  Let’s take a quick look at the two tournaments starting tomorrow in Hawaii and Kansas City, and leave a comment if you have a favorite memory from one of these tourneys or a particular game you’re really excited about seeing.

turkey-feast

Maui Invitational

This is our favorite annual preseason tournament.  The Hawaiian shirts, the late start times, Bill Raftery, the high school gym, the raucousness of the fans, the soothing views of the sea as we go to commercial breaks, all of it.  Oh, and it’s usually a loaded field, and this year is no different. If things go as expected (and hoped), we’ll have two good games tomorrow (Texas v. St. Joe’s and Oregon v. Alabama) followed by an absolute blockbuster on Tuesday (Texas v. Notre Dame) and Wednesday (Texas/ND v. UNC).  And hey, who knows, there’s always the chance that little Chaminade can re-enact its magic from that fateful evening 26 yrs ago against another #1 team from the ACC with the reigning POY on the team.  Right?

CBE Classic

Ed. note: we’ve already written a post on the absurdity of the Gazelle Group’s decision to pre-slot the regional hosts (Florida, Washington, Kansas, Syracuse) into the semifinals.  Luckily for GG, all four hosts won their regions, thereby avoiding any possible outcry over the inherent unfairness of not allowing an upset winner to ‘advance’ into the semifinals of this ‘tournament.’

Nevertheless, the matchups in Kansas City are fairly good ones. All four of these teams have a good shot at playing March Madness this year.  For our money, Florida’s young guns versus Kansas’ would be the ideal final game on Tuesday night.

Semifinal Doubleheader
(November 24 – 7:30 ET)
Syracuse vs. Florida- ESPN2
Kansas vs Washington- ESPN2

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Preseason NIT Breakdown

Posted by rtmsf on November 17th, 2008

(ed. note: if you’re looking for the 2009 NIT Bracket, click here.)

The Preseason NIT, the Granddaddy of all the Preseason Tourneys, begins tonight, with all sixteen teams in action at four regional pods (Chestnut Hill, MA; W. Lafayette, IN; Norman, OK; Tucson, AZ).  Unlike many of the D2 and whatever-else teams thrown into the pods of the CvC last week, the PNIT at least uses all D1 teams for its sacrificial lambs.  A new feature is that each of the sixteen teams was seeded, although we’re not sure how BC and Arizona ended up with protected seeds over Davidson (also, why isn’t #1 Purdue playing #16 Miss. Valley St., and #2 v. #15, etc.?).  We suppose BC fans would buy more tickets in Manhattan next week?  Whichever.   Below is the regional bracket, and our thoughts and picks follow.

Best first-round game. #8 St. John’s v. #9 Cornell.  You don’t think that Big Red is looking forward to sticking it to their Big East brethren to the south?  Click here if you don’t believe us.  These two NY teams have never played, but we’re thinking that Cornell will ride its three-point shooting to the upset win in Chestnut Hill tonight.

Other Upset Possibilities. Keep an eye on these two games in the Tucson regional:

  • #3 Arizona v. #15 Florida Atlantic.  Nobody has a clue how Arizona is going to respond to all of its turmoil from the offseason, or whether half of its players will even be available tonight (apparently so), but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about college basketball and despite trite cliches to the contrary – adversity generally does NOT end well.  New FAU head coach Mike Jarvis knows how to coach up a team for one game, and this could be a rude awakening for Russ Pennell as a D1 coach.
  • #7 UAB v. #11 Santa Clara. The recipe for an upset here is clear.  WCC talent is generally underrated.  This is a west-coast team playing an east-coast team in the Pacific time zone.  John Bryant inside the paint.  Robert Vaden may still be feeling the effects from his recent arrest hanging over his head (4 pts last game on 2-13 FGs).  UAB head coach Mike Davis has been known to lay an egg or two in his career.  UAB will have no answer for Santa Clara big man

Will MVSU Break 30? #2 Oklahoma v. #16 Mississippi Valley St. Knowing what we know about Oklahoma’s defense, and knowing also what we know about MVSU’s inability to score the basketball, we foresee something along the lines of 75-35 in this game.

They Should Roll. BC at home v. Loyola (MD).  Purdue at home vs. Eastern Michigan.  And Davidson in Norman vs. James Madison.  No way any of these three loses tonight.

Two Evenly Matched Bad Teams. #6 Georgia v. #10 Loyola (IL). Wow, the PNIT should commend itself for getting two Loyola into this tournament.  Was Loyola Marymount not available?  No further comment on this game, other than to say either team could win, and Purdue will blast said winner tomorrow night.

Regional Picks. We’ve got BC, Purdue, Davidson and Santa Clara (taking advantage of the FAU upset).  We really didn’t want to pick against Oklahoma at home, but then again, how do you justify picking against Stephen Curry?  If the Wildcats can contain Blake Griffin inside, they can win that game and head to MSG.

Enough with ESPNU!!!! Three of the four televised games tonight in this tournament are on the U.  Look, we understand why the games are on there.  But why not also put them on the ESPN Full Court package so that those of us held completely hostage by our cable companies can actually take advantage of those games as well?  We already pay for the FC service, so what possible harm could it do to expose more paying customers to your product?  Make us pay $10 if you like, but just give us access to it!

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CvC Starts Tonight

Posted by rtmsf on November 10th, 2008

So if you haven’t heard, tonight is the beginning of college basketball regular season games.  What we’re really talking about, though, is two games from Durham as part of the Coaches v. Cancer Tournament (only one televised on ESPNU).  In fact, the first game (Houston v. Georgia Southern) starts in about forty minutes. 

So we wanted to throw up the brackets again just to remind ourselves of who was playing in this thing, and what we might expect to see in a week or so.  Some predictions below the bracket.

Duke Regional.  Obviously, Duke will be heavily favored in both games, but Houston is a slight sleeper here.  The Cougars won 24 games last season, defeated Kentucky, and played Memphis tough in both of their CUSA contests.  They lost their top two players from last year, but return their next four, and Coach Tom Penders’ teams play hard and typically can score with anybody. 

SIU Regional.  Two easy first round game for S. Illinois and UMass, but that matchup presents an interesting contrast in styles – SIU with their methodical pace and UMass with its breakneck pace (#4 nationally in possessions/game last year).  We’d expect SIU to win because they simply don’t lose many nonconference games at home, but it could be an interesting game.

UCLA Regional.   Ho-hum.  UCLA will have no problem with anyone in this region, but we’d recommend bringing your iced double latte if the Bruins play Miami (OH) in the second round.  That game won’t break 100 pts total. 

Michigan Regional.  It wouldn’t shock us if Michigan lost a second-round matchup with Northeastern here.  In fact, this is probably the most likely shot at an upset in the four regionals.  Northeastern returns its entire starting lineup from a team that some expect to make some noise in the CAA this year.  And while we love John Beilein, he’s probably a couple years away from fully implementing his system in Ann Arbor. 

The Picks to go to MSG.  Duke, S. Illinois, UCLA, Northeastern.

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Preseason Tourney Brackets

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2008

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive listing of the preseason tournaments, rather just the best ones, but if you feel like we omitted something relevant, link to it in the comments.  And against our better judgment, we’re putting those ridiculous CBE and Legends Classic “brackets” into the post as well.  Losers. 

The 2kSports Coaches v. Cancer tips off the season with games beginning on Nov. 10.  Duke, S. Illinois, UCLA and Michigan are expected to make it to the semis at MSG, but don’t sleep on UMass or Northeastern as spoilers.   

The Maui Invitational, on the Mon-Wed of Thanksgiving week, as usual, shouldn’t disappoint.  There are at least five NCAA teams here, and UNC-Notre Dame in the finals could be seen again in late March or early April. 

Another Thanksgiving week classic, the Preseason NIT, with the semis on the Wednesday prior to the holiday and the finals on Friday night, is a little weaker than normal.  But any chance to see Stephen Curry on the big stage at MSG is worth watching, so let’s all root for Davidson to pull off the second-round upset over Oklahoma.  A number of teams could win this tourney, but we guess Purdue is most likely?  Arizona?  Cornell?

The Old Spice Classic is a newer tournament also airing during Thanksgiving weekend, but what a great lineup!  There are literally no bad teams here – all eight could be playing in March Madness 2009, and it would be a huge disappointment if any fewer than six do.  We like Siena to pull the upsets to play Gonzaga in the finals there, with mid-major glory all around. 

The Anaheim Classic is another ESPN property airing during Thanksgiving weekend – the lineup is solid, although not as strong as the Old Spice.  We like the young Deacs to play run-n-gun Baylor in the finals. 

Sigh…  here is the “Championship Round” bracket for the Legends Classic.  Remember, each of these teams has already been slotted into these spots no matter what happens in the previous two rounds of this ‘tournament.’  So… disgustingly… weak.  Pitt should roll here no matter what happens in the other game. 

Along the same lines, the CBE Classic is so lame that they won’t even give us a bracket to put up for you.  The matchups aren’t bad, but we’re still bitter (see Legends Classic).  We like Florida and Kansas to play in the final, with UF taking the title. 

—CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS—


Semifinal Doubleheader
(November 24 – 7:30 ET)
Syracuse vs. Florida- ESPN2
Kansas vs Washington- ESPN2
Championship Doubleheader
(November 25 – 7:45 ET)
Consolation Game- ESPNU
Championship Game- ESPN2

Any others?  We’ll revisit these when they actually start, but we wanted to get them all in one post as part of the preview. 

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Quite Possibly the Most Ridiculous Thing We’ve Ever Seen

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2008

Today we were doing some background work on some of the preseason tournaments – you know, the Maui, the PNIT, the Coaches v. Cancer, the CBE (formerly Guardians) Classic, etc. – and we came across some information that absolutely floored us.  Seriously – like a-George-Mason-administrator-who-also-happens-to-be-a-college-football-referee-selling-his-F4-rings-on-Ebay (h/t GMB) floored us.

Photo Credit: LA Times

When we started researching the CBE Classic and the Legends Classic, both tournaments put on by The Gazelle Group organization, we discovered very quickly that we couldn’t find a complete bracket for these tournaments.  Instead, all we located was a weird one-page listing of matchups on the CBE site, and a similar listing in addition to a four-team “Championship Bracket” on the Legends site.  As we floundered wondering what the hell was going on with these tournaments, we noticed an interesting little phrase tucked into the middle of the page of the CBE site (emphasis added). 

This year, the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic will be played under a new format…

- Regional hosts automatically advance to the Championship Rounds in Kansas City regardless of the regional results.

- All other participants will advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sites. Thus, every participating team will be guaranteed four games.

Ummmmm…. whaaaaaaattt??? 

Is this some kind of a joke?  Does The Gazelle Group think that we, the college hoops public, are complete effing morons?  How can they get away with this???  One of the ironclad bastions of basketball at every level from peewee league up to the pros is the idea of tournament play – you win, you advance.  You lose, you go home.  And here we have the first instance we’ve ever seen where that rule of basketball law is being fixed supplanted so that the money teams get to keep playing irrespective of their on-court performance.

Oh, but RTC, Kansas, Florida, Washington and Syracuse are going to win those CBE Classic games against a couple of nobodies anyway.  Same for Wazzu, Mississippi St, Pitt and Texas Tech in the Legends Classic.  No harm, no foul, right? 

Where’s My Shotgun?

Well, here’s a reminder for those of you with that clouded mentality – Gardner-Webb.   Does that name ring a bell from last year’s CvC Classic?  In the subregional round, the little school from outside of Charlotte shocked the basketball world by defeating mighty Kentucky in its worst home loss in almost two decades.  In the middle of football season, that loss earned far more attention in the national media (PTI, Sportscenter, etc.) than whoever won that tournament actually got.  But the problem, apparently, was that the Kentucky loss resulted in G-W and its dozens of fans going to NYC to play in Madison Square Garden rather than the Big Blue and its legions of fans (and dollars).  So this year the Gazelle Group has managed to rig the system in two of its sponsored tournaments so that the marquee names have a 100% chance (as opposed to the 99% chance they previously had) of getting to the semifinal round. 

Sorry Fairleigh Dickinson, Eastern Kentucky, North Alabama and Akron (among others), The Gazelle Group doesn’t have room for you on its dance card this year.  But hey!  At least you’re guaranteed four games, right?  That’s just as good as playing in a big-time arena on ESPN, right?

Memo to TGG for next season – why don’t we just take a vote of 12 random teams and declare it the champion of the tournament?  That way we can simply do away with the tedium of getting teams to the various locations, televising the games, and actually worrying about who will advance to the next round!  You can run ads on ESPN for a month given all the money you’ll save!  As for your judges, we hear that there’s a former French Olympic judge available to serve on your panel, and Katherine Harris is always around for this sort of thing…

What a stinking, heaping, vomit-inducing pile of abomination. 

Please tell The Gazelle Group how much they suck at: gazelle@gazellegroup.com.

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Maui Invitational Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on November 19th, 2007

Let’s kick off Thanksgiving Week with a little Maui Invitational to go with your turkey and stuffing.

The Maui is easily our favorite pre-conference tourney every year.  There’s something about the endless beach and sunset shots they show us during timeouts, or maybe it’s just Bill Raftery in a Hawaiian print shirt.   Whatever the case, we love it and we can’t take the season seriously until the luau music hits our ears.  Not to mention that most years there’s some excellent basketball to watch.  Our favorite two tourneys right off the top of our head were the year (2001) that Ball St. beat #3 Kansas and #4 UCLA in consecutive nights before finally succumbing to #1 Duke; and the year (2005) that Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison and Michigan St.’s Maurice Ager bombed threes all over the place in a triple-OT thriller.

Our picks for this year are below the bracket.

Maui Invitational Bracket

Day One Picks.   Marquette easily over ChaminadeLSU in a low-scoring slugfest over Oklahoma StDuke runs all over PrincetonArizona St. surprises Illinois.

Semis.  Herb Sendek gives Duke a tough game, but K prevails (9-0 in this event).  Marquette’s guards confound LSU.

Finals.  Duke gets revenge for last year’s loss to Marquette in the finals of the CBE Classic.

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CBE Classic Bracket

Posted by rtmsf on November 12th, 2007

While we’re at it, here’s the CBE Classic (formerly Guardians Classic) bracket, which actually started last night (Maryland and Hampton won), but has the bulk of games starting tonight.

 

CBE Classic BracketM

CBE Classic Bracket

Unless Hampton takes down Maryland later tonight (very possible!), we don’t see the possibility of an upset in the four regionals of the CBE Classic.  Mizzou is currently keeping Central Michigan in the game, but we figure they’ll open it up in the second half and come out of their region easily the next night.  UCLA will have no problems whatsoever with either team it plays.  And Michigan St. could struggle a little with UL-Monroe, but it should no worries tonight against Chicago St.  Our take – all four hosts advance.

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