We've wrapped up our first weekend of basketball season yesterday, and things mostly went as they should have. We'll take a look below at a brief recap of the cupcakes that the B1G demolished all weekend, and look ahead at the various tournament games that are on tap for the week, which looks to be much more competitive than the
SEC OOC style warm up games that were just played.
First: General scheduling comments. We plan on doing a weekend wrapup and look ahead each Monday and a weekly wrapup and weekend look on Fridays. As the season progresses we'll add in some way too early tournament projections and get a power poll rolling, time permitting. So let's get to it!
Everyone rolled on Friday with the exception of Minnesota, where baby Pitino took on his dad in a matchup against Louisville. The game was competitive for the majority of the first half, but Louisville pulled away in the second to win with a final score of 81-68.
Michigan State played a close game against Navy, winning 64-59 after blowing a lead of 13 at point in the second half. Ditto for Northwestern, who received a scare being down 31-28 at the half to Houston Baptist. The wildcats got it together in the second to stave off what would have been an embarrassing loss to a team in the Southland conference. Illinois also received a scare from Georgia Southern, but pulled away in the second half while being out rebounded on the night. Georgia Southern fouled, fouled, and fouled again which kept the game close, but Rayvonte Rice stepped up in the second half to score 14 of his 24 points to lead the Illini to a win.
Yawn. Michigan played the lone game from the B1G on Saturday, notching a 92-68 win over an overmatched Hillsdale team. Hillsdale? I thought scrimmages were over. Guess not.
In the lone game against a team whose conference actually sends more than it's automatic qualifier to the tournament, Rutgers dropped an ugly game to George Washington 70-53 where they never once held the lead. Rutgers was without its top big man Kadeem Jack, who is out with a sprained thumb, who could of helped provide a better inside presence with Junior Etou missing all 8 shots.
The next closest wins were 19 point blowouts by Nebraska and Penn State, with Illinois pegging Coppin State 114-56. Looks like Groce woke them up after they squeaked that win out on Friday.
The Week Ahead:
Pre-season tournament week! Well, not really pre-season, but close enough to the start of it. Indiana, I'm starting with you, but not for good reasons. Well, maybe good reasons depending on how you look at it. You're running something called the Hoosiers Showcase, which the internet tells me is your own exempt tournament. That's cool and all, but this really just looks like a glorified title for your out of conference games. A for effort, but C in execution (you at least got all home games out of this). Indiana hosts Texas Southern tonight and #22 SMU on Thursday. SMU should provide Indiana a solid test and give us a barometer of where they are this season. Outside of Indiana, here are the tournaments this week, and the teams participating in each:
CBE Hall of Fame Classic: Maryland, Iowa State, Alabama, and Arizona State are the host teams. These four teams will advance to the
Championship rounds actual tournament next week, but play two defacto warm up games this week at home. Maryland will host Central Connecticut State on Monday and Fordham on Thursday at 7pm before playing Arizona State in the semi-final of the tournament next Monday. Fordham is not a part of the Classic, but I'll cover it here for Maryland's other mid-week game.
Progressive Legends Classic: Michigan, Oregon, Villanova, and VCU are the four big teams. Similar to the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, the warm up games are this week with the actual tournament next week. Michigan hosts Bucknell and Detroit this week with the semi-finals starting on the 24th.
2k Classic: Iowa, Syracuse, Cal, and Texas are the big four teams. The 2k classic runs similar to the previous tournaments, except it "started" last week with its regional games and they continue mid-week until the championships this weekend. Iowa hosts North Dakota State tonight and Texas on Thursday to determine if they play in the championship the next day or the consolation game.
State Farm Champions Classic: Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky are the big four teams, and this is most likely the biggest early season tournament for college basketball. Michigan State takes on Duke Tuesday night on ESPN, which is their only game in the classic. This tournament is different in that all teams play in the same tournament each year for the next three years, rotating who they play until they play all teams. Interesting concept, but it definitely gives you the early season OOC marquee matchup you want.
NIT Season Tip-Off: Minnesota, Georgia, Gonzaga, and St. Johns are the big four teams here. This week is similar to the rest of the above, playing smaller teams for warm ups before the semi's kickoff next week. Minnesota hosts Western Kentucky Tuesday and Franklin Pierce (who?) Thursday before kicking things into higher gear. That is just what they need after opening with Louisville on the season.
Gilden Charleston Classic: Finally! We have an actual tournament. I mean, all teams in it are in a bracket and if you lose you don't get to automatically advance anyways. The bracket can be found here, along with the teams involved. Penn State opens at 5pm on Thursday against Charlotte, who was an up and down team last year that could give them a scare.
Cancun Challenge: Another actual tournament! I guess as the level of play declines they are more apt to let these teams actually play it out? Northwestern, University of Northern Iowa, and Virginia Tech would be the perceived big players in this tournament, and I say that with a grin on my face. Northwestern opens with North Florida at 8pm EST on Thursday before advancing on with their next opponent TBD.
Northwestern at Brown, Monday, 7pm EST: Northwestern is actually the underdog in this, and I'm not sure what I'll think if they drop a game to Brown. Don't go there Northwestern, you can beat Brown. This is your warm up game for Cancun, so make sure you use it wisely.
Marquette at Ohio State, Tuesday, 7:30 pm EST, ESPN: An early season test as the Buckeyes take on the Golden Eagles, who are generally a much better basketball team than most casual fans would expect.
Central Arkansas at Nebraska, Tuesday, 8:00pm EST: Yawn. Another tune-up game for the Huskers where they should be heavily favored and convincingly up at the half.
Fair Dickenson at Rutgers, Wednesday, 7:30pm EST: Fair Dick? I've never heard of such a school. I'll chalk this one up as a win and a hopefully blow some steam off after losing to GW game.
Green Bay at Wisconsin, Wednesday, 9pm EST, BTN: This should be another blowout for Wisconsin, who held their first opponent to 31 points. Perhaps that should start being the over/under for all of these cupcakes.
Grambling State at Purdue, Thursday, 7pm EST: Another yawner, another tune-up game.
That's the mid-week slate for basketball! The amount of tournaments is getting pretty insane, as I didn't even know the Cancun Challenge or Charleston Classic existed. Either way, teams get to travel and they get some extra work in while the players, in some instances, can enjoy their surroundings. What do I think happens this week? Iowa and Michigan State by far have the hardest matchups of the week with Duke and Texas, so a split there would be awesome. For the rest of the teams? I don't see any games that should be definite losses. Even Northwestern and Rutgers should get out of this week unscathed, and I'm expecting as such.
We'll follow up with a weekend preview and mid-week wrap up on Friday, hopefully with no surprises from the results of the week. Once these tournaments end in the next few weeks, the format will be a day to day format, which will be easier to follow.