Top-ranked Duke claimed the CBE Classic crown Tuesday night in Kansas City with a convincing 82-68 victory over No. 4 Kansas State in a pre-Thanksgiving top five tussle. The Blue Devils defense was the difference, as they gave the Wildcats starters plenty of problems, even with a friendly crowd attempting to boost K-State. The victory was Mike Krzyzewski's 800th at the helm of the Blue Devils.
Gonzaga used a late surge to open up a halftime lead, but had to hold on for a 66-63 victory over Marquette, who got within two with 43.7 seconds left, thanks to a Jimmy Butler three, in the third place game.
Tonight, a slightly unexpected Maui final, a Cancun Challenge championship that could be more entertaining than expected, and the two NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals are the big highlights. More on them after the jump.
Connecticut vs. Kentucky, approx. 10 p.m. ET (ESPN): In the Lahaina Civic Center, there is a large banner listing the names of the champion teams and MVPs of this tournament. If the Wildcats want to see their name up there, they're going to have to keep Kemba Walker (31 pts. vs. Wichita State Monday, 30 vs. Michigan State last night) off the MVP column. Hell, he may end up there anyway, considering where many, including myself, had the Huskies coming into this tournament. However, Kentucky may be up to the challenge, considering how Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones responded to the challenge posed by Washington's veteran squad in Tuesday's 74-67 semifinal win.
Cancun Caribbean Challenge Final/Consolation
Providence vs. Wyoming, 7 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports): Both teams put in good efforts in their semifinal games, and this one should be a close battle between teams who may struggle in their respective leagues as the season wears on.
La Salle vs. Missouri, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (CBS College Sports): Mizzou was widely expected to cruise in this tournament, but struggled yet again last night, allowing Wyoming into the game late. Things won't get better this evening, as Aaric Murray, Jerrell Williams, and Devon White give the Explorers the size to give the Tigers' serious headaches.
NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals
VCU vs. Tennessee , 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Volunteers are talking a good game about being ready to play, no matter what craziness is going on with the program; however, they'll need to be ready to face a motivated Ram squad that loves to press.
UCLA vs. Villanova, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): A victory for a young Bruins team over a more-experienced Wildcat squad would do wonders for Ben Howland's team's and the Pac-10's postseason prospects. If UCLA can replicate its early defensive performances, they'll have a chance to pull the upset.
Great Alaska Shootout Quarterfinals
The first two quarterfinals are late tonight. Games three and four will take place late tomorrow.
Southern Utah vs. Drake, 11:30 p.m. ET (FCS Pacific/MASN/Altitude 2): The Thunderbirds are 1-2, but one of those losses was to NAIA Cal Baptist. As for the Bulldogs, they dropped a 48-point decision at Iowa State last time out.
Ball State vs. St. John's, approx. 2 a.m. ET (FS Arizona/MSG+): The Red Storm are the favorites in this half of the bracket, even if they've stumbled out of the gate with a loss at St. Mary's and a close win over Columbia. The Cardinals are 2-1, but were smoked by Butler on Saturday. (Arizona State anchors the other half of the bracket, but Weber State has a good chance of surprising.)
7th place: Chaminade vs. Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): I should have figured it would be fated that the Silverswords wouldn't play UVa. Remember that hope I mentioned surrounding the Sooners yesterday? Well, forget it.
5th place: Wichita State vs. Virginia, approx. 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): The Cavaliers played some defense yesterday afternoon and have a chance at leaving Maui with two wins. However, the Shockers may be a bit more motivated today than OU was.
3rd place: Michigan State vs. Washington, approx. 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Spartans haven't won an exempt event since capturing the title at the inaugural edition of the long-departed Pearl Harbor Classic in 1998. Maybe Tom Izzo needs to quickly get to Cancun. The Huskies, particularly point guard Isaiah Thomas, will be looking for a bit of redemption after putting together a fairly miserable performance against Kentucky.
There are a few other TV games for the evening.
- Savannah State at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET (Big East Network/SNY/MASN/FS Ohio/Full Court): The Tigers couldn't quite get past Dayton Monday, but they get another crack at a name win tonight.
- Florida A&M at Dayton, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3): The Flyers hope to do better against the Rattlers, who happened to defeat Savannah State by 11 in Tallahassee. The Bearcats and Flyers are both hoping to win to set up a final matchup in this round-robin event Saturday.
- North Dakota State at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN3): The Golden Gophers return home, where they hope to keep rolling.
- Arkansas-Little Rock at Oral Roberts, 8 p.m. ET (FCS Central/ESPN3): It's hard to believe the Eagles have yet to win this season.
- Evansville at Middle Tennessee, 8 p.m. ET (Middle Tennessee Sports/ESPN3): The Purple Aces fell at Indiana on Sunday, while the Blue Raiders look to improve on a 1-2 run at Auburn's round-robin event.
- Charlotte at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET (FSN Northwest/FCS Atlantic): The Beavers are hoping to rebound from two embarassing Red Line Upsets, while the 49ers travel cross-country after a 1-2 trip to Charleston.
For broadcast info about locally/regionally telecast games, like Cleveland State at Akron and Loyola (MD) at Vermont, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site. Another good resource is the schedule page at BB State.
Here are tonight's key games to follow online...
- Drexel at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. ET
- Bucknell at James Madison (CBE Classic "subregional"), approx. 7 p.m. ET.
- Utah at Utah State, 9 p.m. ET
- Cal State Fullerton at USC, 10:30 p.m. ET
Please share your thoughts about today and tonight's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.