2011 Early Season Tournaments Day 2: More Thrills Sure To Be In Store

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Dee Bost #3 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs drives the ball against Dash Harris #5 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches Vs Cancer at Madison Square Garden on November 17, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Thursday's tournament action had its share of thrills, in particular Purdue's 91-90 victory over Iona, which could go down as the craziest game of the entire season (and yes, I realize it's only November 18th). Let's hope that Friday's action, which I'll look at after the jump, is just as exciting.

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Semifinals

Temple Owls vs. Purdue Boilermakers, 1 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
A balanced performance (all five starters hit double-figures in scoring) pushed the Owls past Western Michigan and into the semis. Meanwhile, Purdue will need to improve its defense and foul shooting, both of which were conspicuously absence in its win over Iona in game two.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Wichita St. Shockers, approx. 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
It will be a rematch of the 2011 NIT final, as Wichita State, paced by Garrett Stutz's 14 points and 11 rebounds and 17 apiece from Ben Smith and Toure` Murry, got by pesky Colorado in the nightcap in San Juan. The Shockers will look to top Alabama yet again, as the Crimson Tide had no trouble with Maryland in the first game of the evening session, thanks to an impressive defensive effort.

Final prediction: Temple vs. Wichita State

Consolation

Western Michigan Broncos vs. Iona Gaels, approx. 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
The Broncos, potential MAC contenders, are still looking for their first win after being outclassed by Temple yesterday afternoon. They'll be hard pressed to get it against an excellent Gaels squad that was deprived of a semifinal berth by a Robbie Hummel dagger.

Maryland Terrapins vs. Colorado Buffaloes, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
If Thursday's defeat at the hands of Alabama is any indicator, it could be a very long season in College Park. The Terps managed their lowest point total since the advent of the shot clock against the Tide. Maryland's reward for its struggle, a first-ever meeting with a Colorado team that looks to be more competitive than expected.

Charleston Classic Semifinals

Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Northwestern Wildcats, approx. 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Kodi Maduka led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds as the Golden Hurricane rolled past woeful Western Kentucky. Tulsa's center will provide a significant challenge for Northwestern, who needed a huge second half to get past LSU in its opener.

Seton Hall Pirates vs. St. Joseph's Hawks, approx. 6 p.m. ET (Comcast Network/ESPN3)
VCU may have reached the Final Four last year, but Seton Hall looked more like a championship-level team in its 15-point rout of the Rams. The Pirates will next face a St. Joe's team that used an impressive second half performance to overturn a five-point halftime deficit and defeat Georgia Tech in the fourth quarterfinal in Charleston.

Final prediction: Northwestern vs. Seton Hall

Consolation

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. LSU Tigers, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
The Hilltoppers will need to find a lot more offense to escape the 7th place game, as they didn't even manage to make 27% of their field goals against Tulsa yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Tigers played a solid offensive game against Northwestern, but turnovers, 19 in total, pushed them into the consolation bracket.

VCU Rams vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, approx. 8:30 p.m. ET (CSS/ESPN3)
Both these teams are here thanks to lousy quarterfinal shooting performances. In fact, up until the last couple of minutes of the St. Joe's-Georgia Tech contest, the Rams and Yellow Jackets were both stuck on 33.3 percent from the field for the night. If those struggles continue, this one will be difficult to watch.

2K Sports Classic Finals

Championship: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Arizona Wildcats, approx. 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The good version of Mississippi State showed up on Thursday night, as the Bulldogs opened up a 22-point lead in the first half and held off a furious Texas A&M rally to advance to the final, wiping away some of the sting of that loss to Akron back on November 9th. Their opponent will be Arizona, which used a 16-2 run to grab a victory in its semifinal against St. John's. Five Wildcats hit double figures in scoring.

Consolation: Texas A&M Aggies vs. St. John's Red Storm, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Aggies will need to bounce back from a disappointing semifinal defeat, but they did play far better in the second half against Mississippi State, so they should have a bit of momentum coming into this one, though Khris Middleton's absence thanks to a knee injury creates a major void on the frontline. A&M will face a St. John's team that showed flashes of brilliance last night, especially when driving inside, that will also have the MSG crowd behind it.

Paradise Jam Quarterfinals

There won't be any television coverage from St. Thomas until Sunday's semifinals, though the event's website will have streaming video of the quarterfinals and consolation games.

Norfolk State Spartans (1-1, 0-1 vs. Division I) vs. Drexel Dragons (1-0), 1 p.m. ET
The Spartans will likely finish eighth in this event, as they were throttled at Marquette in one of the two campus-site games scheduled for this event. Meanwhile, the Dragons showed why they are serious contenders for the CAA title when they handled Rider in the Tip-Off Marathon's 6 a.m. game on Tuesday.

Drake Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 vs. Division I) vs. Mississippi Rebels (2-0), approx. 3:30 p.m. ET
The Rebels, who easily defeated two of the worst Division I will likely offer up this year--Louisiana-Monroe and Grambling State--will be on upset alert against a Bulldog team that took care of potential Big 12 sleeper Iowa State on Tuesday evening at the Knapp Center.

TCU Horned Frogs (2-0, 1-0 vs. Division I) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (2-0), 6 p.m. ET
The Horned Frogs defeated Florida Gulf Coast by one in their opener before outclassing Division III Austin by 58. That doesn't bode well for their chances in this one, as the Cavaliers have had no trouble against bad teams. Tony Bennett's team opened by just about doubling up South Carolina State before grabbing a 21-point win over Winthrop in a Paradise Jam campus-site contest Tuesday night.

Winthrop Eagles (0-2) vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (2-0), approx. 8:30 p.m. ET
Buzz Williams' Golden Eagles have yet to be tested, dismantling Mount St. Mary's by 54 and Norfolk State by 31. They likely won't be tonight either, as Randy Peele's Eagles provided little resistance to either Eastern Kentucky or Virginia.

Semifinal predictions: Drexel vs. Drake and Virginia vs. Marquette

Please feel free to discuss today's busy slate in the comments.

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