While it was Rivalry Saturday on the gridiron, it was "Relatively Meaningless Trophy Saturday" in college basketball, as five traditional or hybrid tournaments handed out titles on the final Saturday in November.
The biggest upset of the day took place in Chicago, where Richmond got 28 points from Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Kevin Anderson to beat Purdue in their relative backyard to claim the Chicago Invitational Challenge, 65-54. Southern Illinois topped Wright State, 56-50, to claim third, while Oakland defeated Austin Peay, 78-70, to claim the mid-major crown.
Kris Joseph (19 pts.) and Scoop Jardine (15 pts., 8 assists) helped push Syracuse past Georgia Tech, 80-76, to claim the Legends Classic crown. The Yellow Jackets Brian Oliver scored 32, but was not thought highly of by Orange fans after he committed an intentional foul that knocked the wind out of Joseph in the final moments. UTEP topped Michigan for third place, 65-56, thanks to 24 from Randy Culpepper, who started the night on the bench.
Fans at the South Padre Invitational were treated to one of the best games of the day, as Jimmer Fredette sunk a three with 10.2 seconds left to give BYU a 72-70 lead, just after St. Mary's Matthew Dellavedova hit a pair of free throws to put the Gaels ahead. Dellavedova, however, couldn't score in an open lane after Fredette's three, and the Cougars earned a hard-fought 74-73 win to claim the crown and bragging rights for when the two start sharing a conference next season. (Mickey McConnell hit a consolation three at the buzzer for St. Mary's.) In the third place game, USF came back to beat Texas Tech, 64-61. But those weren't the only close games on the Texas Gulf Coast, as Liberty defeated Chicago State, 67-65 to claim the mid-major bracket title.
At the Las Vegas Invitational, Kansas and Arizona finally found themselves a competitive game, with the Jayhawks pulling away late, finally winning 87-79. The result may have been different had Arizona's Derrick Williams (27 pts., 8 rebs.) not fouled out with 2:27 left. Ohio finished third after they topped Santa Clara, 78-72. As for the mid-major final, Valparaiso earned the crown with a 68-62 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The night ended (in the wee hours of the morning here on the East Coast) with a St. John's victory in the final of the Great Alaska Shootout. The Red Storm put on a show late in handing Arizona State a 67-58 defeat to claim the title. Weber State won the 3rd/5th place game after Damian Lillard made two free throws to steal a win from Drake, 82-81. It looked like the Bulldogs had won 81-80 when Lillard was called for an offensive foul, but Drake's Aaron Hawley was called for a technical foul--spiking the ball--giving the Wildcats one final chance. Division II Alaska-Anchorage, the host, finished fourth, thanks to a 62-44 win over Ball State in the 4th/6th-place game.
Today's schedule is highlighted by the final two tournament finals of this holiday window. For the next few weekends, neutral site doubleheaders and marquee non-conference games will be the highlights, before a few more events pop up around Christmas. After the jump, I look at these two championship games and the rest of the Sunday college hoops TV slate.
Note: Team names that appear in red are links to that school's SB Nation blog.
Old Spice Classic Final
Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame, approx. 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2): It took awhile, but the Badgers pulled away from Boston College by dominating inside and disrupting the Eagles' offense. The Golden Bears and Fighting Irish combined for the worst half in the shot clock era, and Cal's inability to score helped Notre Dame get here. This one may not be pretty at all.
76 Classic Final
Virginia Tech vs. UNLV, approx. 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Hokies made it this far despite playing an awful game all around--plagued with foul issues, bad passes, and poor shot selection--against Oklahoma State in the semifinals. But thanks to an 18-3 run to close out the Cowboys, they are here. Their opponents, a Runnin' Rebel squad who locked things down defensively against Murray State in their semifinal, will take home the trophy with ease if Seth Greenberg's team hasn't improved drastically since Friday.
Old Spice Classic Consolation
3rd place: Boston College vs. California, approx. 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): The Eagles simply didn't have enough size or depth to compete with Wisconsin in the second half, but they did have the heart, as illustrated in a late 17-5 run that made the final scoreline far more flattering. As for the Golden Bears, they better hope Thursday's version of the offense shows up and not Friday's.
5th place: Texas A&M vs. Temple, 11 a.m. ET (ESPNU): The Aggies may have missed the semis by a missed Dash Harris lay-in, but they have a good shot at departing this event with a pair of wins, but they'll have to get past an Owl team that found its shot against Georgia Friday.
7th place: Georgia vs. Manhattan, approx. 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3 only): After struggling offensively through their first two games, the Jaspers will be hard pressed to leave Orlando with a win, especially facing a Bulldog team that's just finding its groove after Trey Thompkins' return.
76 Classic Consolation
3rd place: Oklahoma State vs. Murray State, approx. 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Poor shooting down the stretch cost the Cowboys Friday, and Travis Ford will be looking for his team to put 40 good minutes together in this one. Meanwhile, the Racers struggled with UNLV's defense in their semifinal, resulting in more bad shots. Look for the team that gets the most out of their talented guards to leave with two victories.
5th place: Tulsa vs. Cal State Northridge, approx. 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU): The Matadors would love to leave this event at 2-1, but the Golden Hurricane and their big guards will put up a bigger fight than DePaul did Friday afternoon. Lenny Daniel (31 pts., 10 rebs. vs. DePaul) will be ready though.
7th place: DePaul vs. Stanford, 1:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3 only): The Blue Demons showed a lot of fight against Oklahoma State Thursday, but were comprehensively outplayed by CSUN Friday. If the Cardinal shoot a bit better than they did Friday against Tulsa, they should send DePaul home 0-3.
Here are the televised games for Sunday that are taking place at sites other than near Disney parks...
- Tennessee Tech at Michigan State, 1 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): This is the Spartans' final warmup before they visit Duke Wednesday night.
- Furman at Penn State, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The Paladins look to grab an upset win over the Nittany Lions.
- Arkansas Pine Bluff at Missouri, 4 p.m. ET (Mizzou Sports/FS Midwest/ESPN3): The Tigers look to keep rolling after claiming the Cancun Challenge title.
- College of Charleston at North Carolina, 5:30 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet): Andrew Goudelock and the Cougars look to stun the Tar Heels for the second straight year, this time in Chapel Hill.
- Florida at Florida State, 7:45 p.m. ET (FSN/Comcast SportsNet): The Seminoles look to close out a football-basketball sweep of the Gators.
- Creighton at Northwestern, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): A win over the Bluejays would be a boost to the Wildcats' resume.
For broadcast info about locally/regionally telecast games, like San Diego at New Mexico and LSU at South Alabama, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site. Another good resource is the schedule page at BB State.
Here are today's key games to follow online...
- Colorado at Harvard, 1 p.m. ET
- Siena at Princeton, 2 p.m. ET
- Gardner-Webb vs. Mercer, (Legends Classic "subregional" at Williamsburg, VA), 2 p.m. ET
- Albany vs. Bowling Green, (Legends Classic "subregional" at Detroit), 3 p.m. ET
- Toledo at Illinois-Chicago, 4 p.m. ET: The Flames won at the Rockets by six on Nov. 19 in the Coaches vs. Cancer "subregional" round.
- Western Carolina at William & Mary, (Legends Classic "subregional"), approx. 4:30 p.m. ET
- Niagara at Detroit, (Legends Classic "subregional"), approx. 5:30 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.