If you're not too worn out from Black Friday shopping, or if you were smart enough to skip the crowds and do your holiday gift-buying online, you'll have plenty of college basketball TV options on this day after Thanksgiving.
One tournament trophy will be handed out, while the finals for six others will be set. I'll have a look at each of these matchups (and several more) after the jump.
Note: Team names that appear in red are links to that school's SB Nation blog.
UCLA vs. VCU, , 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN):The Bruins had a rough time handling Villanova's guards on Wednesday. Guess what the Rams have in spades? However, if the Rams shoot like they did against Tennessee in the semifinals (30.9% from the field with Joey Rodriguez going 1 for 10), they won't be able to avenge their 2009 NCAA First Round defeat at the hands of Ben Howland's team.
Villanova vs. Tennessee, approx. 5 p.m. ET (ESPN): So far this season, the Vols have been prone to take time off during games. If they do that in this contest, Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns, and Corey Stokes will make them pay and the Wildcats will take the trophy home.
Old Spice Classic Semifinals
Boston College vs. Wisconsin, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN): The Eagles jumped out to an early lead and held on for dear life against Texas A&M yesterday, winning a game where they shot quite well and forced the Aggies into some bad shots and turnovers, but were hammered on the boards. The Badgers would be well advised to guard Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani, and Danny Rubin outside. Likewise, you can bet BC will stay close to Jon Leuer since the Badgers would have looked awful, instead of just bad, without him in their victory over Manhattan. This matchup gives Wisconsin the chance for a measure of revenge for their 2010 Second Round loss to Cornell, as former Big Red head coach Steve Donahue is now in charge at BC.
Notre Dame vs. California, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Fighting Irish took the first ever double OT game in the history of the event last night, though it looked like they had the result in hand late in the second half (and after it looked like Georgia was in control at the break). Mike Brey's team drew some fouls and did a better job from the line than their opponents, which (eventually) helped them advance. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears didn't play a great game in beating Temple by any means, but they may need to if they want to get to the final. That's because they won't have the advantage of playing a team coming off a significant layoff this evening.
76 Classic Semifinals
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Hokies will need to play a bit more consistently in this one, as Cal State Northridge were able to cut Tech's halftime lead of 20 to 10 with a quarter of the game to go. Part of that was due to Malcolm Delaney being handcuffed a bit in the 2nd, as he scored only 3 of his 15 points in the final 20 minutes. The rest was down to the Hokies laying back for extended periods. Meanwhile, the Cowboys struggled with DePaul in their quarterfinal mostly because Marshall Moses (27 pts., 11-14 FGs) didn't get a lot of help from his teammates (33 total pts., 10-32 FGs). A similar offensive display today--and a repeat of yesterday's turnover woes--will lead to Travis Ford's squad playing for third on Sunday.
Murray State vs. UNLV, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): At halftime, the Racers led by 11 after forcing 12 Stanford turnovers and scoring 14 points off them. Their guard play was the difference against the Cardinal, but they'll face a Runnin' Rebel team who can match them in the backcourt. UNLV put together a fairly complete performance in their win over Tulsa (except for the span where the Golden Hurricane closed to within five late). Crowd support should be behind the Mountain West contenders, if last night's attendance is any indication.
Legend Classic Semifinals
Georgia Tech vs. UTEP, 5:30 p.m. ET (HDNet): The Yellow Jackets may not be able to score enough to get past a Miner team that features four players who average in double figures, led by Randy Culpepper (19 ppg).
Michigan vs. Syracuse, approx. 8 p.m. ET (HDNet): The Wolverines have yet to be really tested in their early state, unlike the Orange, who haven't lived up to the preseason hype.
Las Vegas Invitational Day 1
Remember, there are no true semifinals in this season's edition of this event. On Day 2, Ohio will play Santa Clara before Kansas faces Arizona.
Ohio vs. Kansas, 8 p.m. ET (Jayhawk Sports/ESPN3): The Jayhawks have been rolling so far this season, even without Josh Selby. Ken Pomeroy rates them 2nd in eFG% so far this season (65.1%). The best hope for the Bobcats is to get a lot of threes to fall, much like in their 2010 NCAA win over Georgetown, but that won't be easy against a KU squad that defends the perimeter well.
Santa Clara vs. Arizona, 10:30 p.m. ET (KWBA): The Wildcats have picked up four straight effortless wins, and that streak should grow to five, as the Broncos haven't shown that they're capable of stopping anyone in three wins and a single defeat (at USC, a team who probably won't be as high in the Pac-10 standings as Sean Miller's club).
South Padre Invitational Semifinals
BYU vs. USF, 6 p.m. ET (FCS Central): The Bulls are slowly learning how to play without Dominique Jones, but their best hope against the Cougars will be to slow the pace of the game down. BYU, on the other hand, will attempt to capitalize on the turnovers Stan Heath's team is sure to commit.
Texas Tech vs. St. Mary's, 8:30 p.m. ET (FCS Central): This game features two teams who, on the surface, look like mirror images of one another. Both have five players averaging in double figures feature capable big men: Tim Williams for the Gaels (12 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and the Red Raiders' Robert Lewandowski (12.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg). The difference may very well be St. Mary's superior defense and a Gaels guard corps that should be able to force a slightly slower pace than Pat Knight's squad is accustomed to.
Chicago Invitational Challenge Semifinals
Richmond vs. Wright State, 6 p.m. ET (no TV): The Raiders' defense has been porous so far this season (allowing their opponents' eFG% to hit 55%). The Spiders eFG%: 62.4. Making matters worse, Wright State is particularly poor on the perimeter, where UR excels.
Purdue vs. Southern Illinois, 8:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The run of matchups against former coaches continues for the Salukis. They dropped a 22-point decision to Bruce Weber's Illinois and will be lucky to keep it that close against Matt Painter's Boilermakers, another talented offensive team who is coping quite nicely without Robbie Hummel.
Great Alaska Shootout Semifinals
Drake vs. St. John's, 9:30 p.m. ET (FCS Pacific/CSS/MASN/Altitude 2/MSG+): For the Bulldogs, Wednesday's win over Southern Utah was a good bounce back from an atrocious showing against Iowa State over the weekend. As for the Red Storm, this should be an easy win on paper, but they're still trying to find their way under Steve Lavin. The Johnnies are 2-1, but the victories have been far closer than expected, including their quarterfinal win over Ball State.
Arizona State vs. Weber State, approx. 11:59 p.m. ET (FCS Pacific/MASN/Altitude 2): Both teams had no trouble with their quarterfinal opponents on Thursday. The Sun Devils topped Houston Baptist by 18, and the Wildcats smoked host Alaska-Anchorage by 32. If the Wildcats shoot as well as they did Thursday night (59.3% overall and 45% from 3), ASU could be upset.
Old Spice Classic Consolation
Texas A&M vs. Manhattan, approx. 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Even though the Aggies were only a Dash Harris missed lay-in away from making the semifinals, they never would have been in that position had they played all 40 minutes against Boston College yesterday. Speaking of which, the Jaspers also had that problem yesterday, putting 10 points on the board in the 1st half (5 FGs vs. 7 turnovers)
Georgia vs. Temple, approx. 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Trey Thompkins made his season debut for the Bulldogs, and he got better as the night went along. The team as a whole will have to be a bit more consistent and fundamentally sound to avoid the rollercoaster ride of last night, though. The Owls have similar issues, as they looked very rusty early and late in their game against Cal, thanks to an 11-day layoff since their last game, a blowout win over Toledo.
76 Classic Consolation
Cal State Northridge vs. DePaul, approx. 5 p.m. ET (ESPNU): Both teams showed a good amount of fight in their quarterfinals. The Matadors took advantage of a lackadaisical effort by the Hokies to make the game a bit more competitive at the end, while the Blue Demons took advantage Oklahoma State's turnover issues to stay in the game, despite some serious shooting and rebounding issues.
Stanford vs. Tulsa, approx. 12 a.m. ET (ESPNU): The Cardinal got into an early hole against Murray State and couldn't quite get out, mostly because of turnovers and a lack of backcourt production (well, until Jeremy Green caught fire from beyond the arc late). For example, Dwight Powell had 12 of the Stanford's 18 first half points. It may get worse before it gets better for the Cardinal, as the Godlen Hurricane's big guards will provide plenty of issues for the young Stanford backcourt.
There are two other nationally televised games on the slate.
- Miami (OH) at Ohio State, 4 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The Redhawks will look to stop a two-game skid and hand the Buckeyes their first loss in the process. The more likely result is that Thad Matta's squad moves to 5-0.
- SIU Edwardsville at Iowa, 6:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network): The Cougars are looking for their first win against a D-1 opponent this season. They probably won't get it in Iowa City, even if the Hawkeyes aren't exactly in the best shape.
For broadcast info about locally/regionally telecast games, like Elon at Maryland, UAB vs. Arkansas in North Little Rock, and Texas Southern vs. Kansas State, 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...
- Louisiana Tech at Arkansas-Little Rock, 3 p.m. ET
- Bowling Green vs. Niagara (Legends Classic "subregional" at Detroit), 5 p.m. ET
- Mercer vs. Western Carolina (Legends Classic "subregional" at Williamsburg, VA), 5 p.m. ET
- Northern Colorado vs. Valparaiso (Las Vegas Classic), approx. 5 p.m. ET
- Norfolk State vs. Fairfield (Philly Hoop Group Classic at the Palestra), 5:15 p.m. ET
- Penn State at Mississippi, 7 p.m. ET
- Troy at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. ET
- Siena at Rider, 7 p.m. ET: MAAC play is officially underway! It's the defending champs against the team who, two weeks into the season, looks most likely to replace them.
- Albany at Detroit (Legends Classic "subregional"), approx. 7:30 p.m. ET
- Gardner-Webb at William & Mary (Legends Classic "subregional"), approx. 7:30 p.m. ET
- Lehigh at Kent State, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Tulane at Nicholls State, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Rutgers vs. St. Joseph's (Philly Hoop Group Classic at the Palestra), approx. 7:30 p.m. ET
- Washington State at Fresno State, 10 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.
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