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Thanksgiving College Basketball Viewer's Guide: Tourneys Aplenty

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Hopefully, you're going to leave some room for some exciting college basketball action on a day dominated by turkey, post-dinner naps, and football. I mean who really needs to see the Lions lose again, the Cowboys disappoint, or the Jets struggle against a team they should dominate?

Before taking a look at your holiday alternatives, it's time to take a quick look back at a busy night that featured two trophy presentations and a pair of semifinals in New York.

In Cancun, Missouri claimed the title in the "Hotel Ballroom Classic" with an 83-71 triumph over La Salle. The Tigers superior depth was enough to overcome the Explorers' height advantage. Providence claimed third place with an 84-77 win over Wyoming. North Florida won the mid-major bracket with a 59-52 victory over two-time defending MEAC champ Morgan State. The Ospreys end a six-game road trip with a 3-3 mark.

No offense to the Tigers and Explorers, but the game everyone was waiting for was on Maui, where Connecticut took advantage of some Kentucky turnovers late in the 1st to open up a 50-29 halftime lead. The Huskies just kept rolling, winning 84-67. UConn also won the 2005 edition of the event, claiming the trophy the last time they were invited.

Unsurprisingly, Kemba Walker was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, even if Kentucky did hold him below 30 for the first time in four games.

In the Maui Invitational consolation games,  Michigan State came back from 10 down at the half to beat Washington for third place, 76-71. C.J. Wilcox had a good look from three to tie with six seconds left, but airballed it. Wichita State scored the first basket of their fifth-place game against Virginia, then gave up the next 18 points. But by halftime the Shockers were up four, and they closed their Maui run with a 70-58 victory over the Cavaliers. Chaminade claimed seventh place with a 68-64 win over Oklahoma. It was only the sixth win ever for the Silverswords in their own event.

Friday's NIT Season Tip-Off Final will be between Tennessee and Villanova. The Vols held off VCU, 77-72, while the Wildcats had only occasional trouble with UCLA, prevailing 82-70.

After the jump, I'll take a look at the two eight-team events that begin today, as well as the second half of the Great Alaska Shootout quarterfinals.

Old Spice Classic Quarterfinals

Boston College vs. Texas A&M, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN2): From a tempo perspective, this one should be fairly even, but the Eagles could struggle with an Aggies team that's looked to be a bit better on the scoring and rebounding fronts early in the season.

Wisconsin vs. Manhattan, approx. 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): Both the Badgers and Jaspers are coming to Orlando off losses Saturday, but expect Wisconsin, who's been a bit more efficient at both ends of the court so far this campaign to prevail.

Georgia vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Bulldogs have been struggling mightily without Trey Thompkins, while there is life in South Bend without Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson. The Irish rank 4th nationally in scoring, 3rd in assists, and 6th in rebounding.

Temple vs. California, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Golden Bears will look to surprise in Orlando after blasting New Mexico at home Saturday, while the Owls will attempt to slow them down. This game has intriguing frontcourt (Micheal Eric and Lavoy Allen for TU vs. Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison for Cal) and backcourt (Temple's Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore vs. Cal's Jorge Gutierrez and Gary Franklin) matchups to watch.

76 Classic Quarterfinals

Virginia Tech vs. CS Northridge, 2 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Malcolm Delaney and company should cruise in this one, as the Matadors, representing the host Big West have struggled on both ends of the floor and don't yet own a Division I win.

DePaul vs. Oklahoma State, approx. 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Blue Demons seem to have improved a little under Oliver Purnell, but probably not enough to make much of a splash here. Marshall Moses and Keiton Page lead a Cowboy team that should be able to shoot their way to the semifinals.

Murray State vs. Stanford, 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU): The Racers hope to have better luck in their tournament opener than Wichita State did in Maui on Monday. After falling at Mississippi, a good run here, starting with a victory over a young Cardinal team, is imperative.

Tulsa vs. UNLV, approx. 11:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Runnin' Rebels will look to build on Saturday's victory over Wisconsin, and their versatile roster has the offensive and defensive prowess to make it all the way to the final. The Golden Hurricane has the backcourt to give them issues, though.

Great Alaska Shootout Quarterfinals (Day 2)

In the first pair of quarterfinals on Wednesday (Alaska time), Drake routed Southern Utah, 78-59, and St. John's defeated Ball State, 78-73 in OT. That means the Bulldogs and Red Storm will meet in Friday night's first semifinal. The other half of the bracket is in action this evening.

Houston Baptist vs. Arizona State, 9 p.m. ET (FS Arizona/FCS Pacific/MASN/CSS): The Huskies have yet to win a game, but in losing three by an average of 11, they shouldn't be embarassed by the Sun Devils either, as long as they can avoid turnovers.

Weber State vs. Alaska-Anchorage, approx. 11:30 p.m. ET (MASN): The Wildcats, preseason Big Sky favorites, could surprise in this event, but they'll have to get past the hosts first.

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.

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