Hopefully, you're enjoying some good family time today and Santa brought what you wanted. If you need a break from the festivities this evening, you'll have very limited college basketball options.
There is only a quartet of games scheduled today, all at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, with just the final two televised. That means you won't get to see Mississippi State, who will play without forwards Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey, both of whom were suspended indefinitely and sent back to Starkville following their brawl in the stands on Thursday night. The Bulldogs face the hosts in the fifth-place game. The pair will also miss at least Wednesday night's game against Saint Mary's in Las Vegas.
Yesterday also featured just four contests, the placement games at the inaugural Cancun Governor's Cup. Appalachian State heads home 0-3, as they were hammered by ETSU in the seventh place game, 78-51. Northeastern claimed fifth with an 86-78 win over Texas State. The first televised contest was the third place game, where Mississippi got by Saint Louis--playing without head coach Rick Majerus who missed the game because of illness, 69-61. Zac Graham led the three Rebels who hit double figures in scoring with 19. Chris Warren had 16, but he'll need to get his game back at the border, as he struggled from the field again (4-for-11 and 1-for-4 from three). The Billikens' Kyle Cassity led all scorers with 21, as he went 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
As for the final, if you had Colorado State topping Southern Miss to win the crown three days ago, you need to go play lotto. The Rams overcame a slow start and five-point halftime deficit to top the Golden Eagles, 63-58. Travis Franklin's career high 25 paced Tim Miles' squad, as he and Travis Ogide combined to go 13-for-19 from the field. Gary Flowers scored 22 for Southern Miss, but Larry Eustachy lit into him as they left the court following the final buzzer, due to some ill-advised decisions down the stretch.
Are the Rams at the level of San Diego State, BYU, and UNLV? Probably not, but they can certainly challenge New Mexico for fourth in the Mountain West, which would put them in the race for one of the 37 at-large bids on offer for this season.
Speaking of at-large hopes, the two teams competing for the crown in Honolulu tonight are definitely in the frame, win or lose.
Diamond Head Classic Final and Consolation
3rd place: Baylor vs. Florida State, ESPN2 (7:30 p.m. ET): Both teams will hope to play this one more like the second half of their semifinal loss than the first. However, even if both do so, the Bears will have a major advantage because of their ability to score, something the Seminoles lack and will struggle with all season.
Final: Washington State vs. Butler, ESPN2 (approx. 10 p.m. ET): Thanks to Butler's typical pace, you can expect this game won't quite be the rollercoaster that the Cougars' 77-71 semifinal win over Baylor was. And that pace will be key for the Bulldogs because if they allow Wazzu to run on them, it could be a very long night, particularly if Butler struggles from the field, as they did in an awful first half against FSU. Brad Stevens' squad may be best served by letting Klay Thompson get his points (since he will) and focusing on Ken Bone's talented supporting cast. DeAngelo Casto, Faisal Aden, Reggie Moore, and Brock Motum all scored in double figures against the Bears Thursday.
There's only one game scheduled for broadcast on the day after Christmas, Richmond's visit to Seton Hall (Sunday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN3 only)
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