Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Even though the Old Spice and Directv Classics take a break, there's still plenty of tournament action on tap this Thanksgiving Saturday. The most noteworthy: the Battle 4 Atlantis final.
Friday's lone final saw Michigan use a strong second half performance, and 23 points from Tim Hardaway Jr., to defeat Kansas State, 71-57, and claim the NIT Season Tip-Off championship. Hardaway ended up leaving the game with a minor head injury, however. Pittsburgh claimed third by blowing out Delaware, 85-59.
Like the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and Charleston Classic last week, the Old Spice and Directv Classics take Saturday off for football programming. When things wrap up on Sunday, Davidson, winners over West Virginia in a 63-60 thriller, will meet 2008 Old Spice champion Gonzaga, conquerors of the Mountaineers' Big 12 rivals, Oklahoma, in the final in Lake Buena Vista. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Pacific will be the first team from the host Big West to ever make it to the Directv Classic final in Anaheim, and the Tigers took care of St. Mary's, a team from their future home, the WCC, to get there. Bob Thomason's squad will play California, 68-57 winners over Georgia Tech, late on Sunday night for the trophy.
As for the tournaments that wrap up (or, in one case, begin) on Saturday...
Battle 4 Atlantis Championship
at Paradise Island, Bahamas
Duke was able to top VCU in a game that featured limited offensive involvement from both teams' benches (12 points total from non-starters, with nine of those coming from the Rams' Rob Brandenberg), 67-58, to book one final place. The other went to Louisville, who had little trouble with Missouri. The Cardinals won by 23, a margin that matched the number of Tiger turnovers forced on the night.
Battle 4 Atlantis Consolation
3rd/4th Place: Missouri Tigers vs. VCU Rams, 7 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network)
5th/6th Place: Stanford Cardinal vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers, approx. 3:30 p.m. ET (AXS.tv)
7th/8th Place: Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Memphis Tigers, 1 p.m. ET (AXS.tv)
South Padre Invitational Finals
at South Padre Island, Tex.
Bryant Allen scored 30, hitting on six of nine from beyond the arc, to help push Illinois State past a UAB squad that turned the ball over 27 times. The Redbirds will face Northwestern, whose defense (I'm as surprised to type that as you are to read it) pushed it past woeful TCU, 55-31.
Championship Pick: Northwestern
Las Vegas Invitational Finals
at Las Vegas, Nev.
In the first semifinal, Arizona State, known for playing a more deliberate style under Herb Sendek, showed they can play an open game as well, as they demolished Arkansas by an 83-68 score. That means they should provide Creighton, 84-74 winners over Wisconsin, a challenge in tonight's final.
Championship Pick: Creighton
Global Sports Classic Finals
at Las Vegas, Nev.
Cincinnati held off a rally by Iowa State to move on to the final, with Sean Kilpatrick's 32 points and perfect 16-for-16 night from the foul line playing no small part in the 78-70 win. The Bearcats will face, not host UNLV in the final, but Oregon, who grabbed a huge win that just might give them a ton of confidence heading into the Pac-12 campaign.
Championship Pick: Cincinnati
Great Alaska Shootout Championship
at Anchorage, Alaska
Northeastern, who should be in the thick of the CAA race this season alongside Delaware, Drexel, and George Mason, could outperform its conference rivals by claiming an early season tournament crown. The Huskies came back from 16 down in the second half to beat Belmont for a finals berth, where they'll meet Charlotte. The 49ers somewhat surprisingly had little trouble with Southland favorite Oral Roberts, winning by 14.
Championship Pick: Northeastern
Great Alaska Shootout Consolation
3rd/5th Place: Belmont Bruins vs. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, 10 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network, delayed 2:30 a.m. ET)
4th/6th Place: Loyola Marymount Lions at Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, approx. 6:30 p.m. ET
7th/8th Place: UC Riverside Highlanders vs. Texas State Bobcats, 4 p.m. ET
Hoops for Hope Classic Semifinals
at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The Hoops 4 Hope Classic is a new event (at least in this format) without a TV deal, which is a shame as a Frank Martin vs. Larry Brown coaching matchup in the final is a real possibility.
Final Pick: South Carolina vs. SMU
As the fourth visiting team in this event, Malone, is a squad transitioning into Division II, the three remaining visitors are playing a round-robin. On Friday, Jacksonville fell by 15 to Rider, who gets today off. Milwaukee can set up a de facto championship game against the Broncs with a win over the Dolphins today. Note that Rob Jeter's team beat Davidson on November 17th.
Jacksonville Dolphins vs. Milwaukee Panthers, 4:30 p.m. ET