John Stevens is a featured columnist for RTC. His columns will appear on Tuesdays throughout the season.
Ah, Thanksgiving week. As if ESPN’s 24-hour binge of college basketball last week wasn’t enough, here comes the oh-so-appropriately-named Feast Week, another avalanche of hoops awesomeness spread out over seven days that not only launches college basketball right back into the middle of the sports radar where it belongs, but also goes great with Thanksgiving leftovers, paid days off of work, as well as pizza and garlic bread (in case you’re sick of all that turkey by Saturday’s games). Aside from the month of March, it doesn’t get much better than this for college hoops fans. The daytime games, the intriguing match-ups…good God, who would want to brave the lines on Black Friday? THIS is the way to kick off the holiday season.
The holiday tournaments are a great time to familiarize oneself with the big boys of the game – see UNC in Maui, Georgetown in the Old Spice Classic (why are these tournaments called ‘classics’ when they’re 2-3 years old?), and so forth – since some of them might be making their first appearances on national television. I’ve always thought one of the best things about the holiday onslaught of games was the opportunity to find a team that wasn’t getting much hype and, if they give one of the highly-ranked teams a game or even pull off an upset, follow them throughout the season and maybe use them in March when I’m doing way too much bracket-filling analysis, if there is such a thing. I mean, we all know about Carolina and Oklahoma and Michigan State. Who will we see that bears watching in these Thanksgiving tournaments that we haven’t been hearing a lot about? Here, in my opinion, are a couple of squads to keep an eye on not just over this holiday weekend but also to see how they mature over the course of the season: Read the rest of this entry »