A pair of tournaments wrapped up on Monday, as the SEC picked up its fourth title of the young season and a Big East team finally broke through.
Vanderbilt needed a 15-footer from Brad Tinsley to escape Oregon State in the Legends Classic final, 64-62. The Commodores led by as much as nine in the second half, but the Beavers hung around. Look for Oregon State to be competitive in the Pac-12, though Jeffrey Taylor may have given the league's other 11 teams the blueprint for shutting down Jared Cunningham. He only had 9 on the night after averaging 36 in his last two games. Texas looked to be well on their way to claiming third place as they led N.C. State by 18 early in the second half. Then J`Covan Brown fouled out on consecutive personal and technical fouls with a little more than 8 minutes left. The score at that point, 65-52 Longhorns. The final, 77-74 Wolfpack.
The Paradise Jam ended in St. Thomas much like it began in Milwaukee on November 14 with Marquette defeating Norfolk State. But this time the game was far closer than last week's 31-point drubbing. The Golden Eagles coughed up a 14-point advantage in the second half before escaping with the trophy, 59-57. Third place went to the Mississippi, who triumphed over TCU, 80-69. Virginia grabbed a second win in the Caribbean, topping Drake, 60-52, to claim 4th place. Drexel closed out a disappointing trip to the Virgin Islands with a 68-45 win over Winthrop in the 7th place game.
After the jump, a look ahead to Tuesday's slate, which features a pair of huge Maui semifinals and the CBE Classic final in Kansas City.
Maui Invitational Semifinals
Michigan Wolverines vs. Duke Blue Devils, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
This is a rematch of a thrilling NCAA
Second Third Round game from last March, which saw the Blue Devils just get by Michigan, 73-71. This one could also be a classic.
Michigan's fundamentals, hustle (particularly on the boards), and defense probably would have given a talented Memphis squad problems in Monday's first quarterfinal. However, the Wolverines really picked up their shooting on the afternoon, which resulted in a somewhat surprising 73-61 victory. Duke took care of Tennessee in the second half of the early doubleheader, 77-67, though the Volunteers put up more of a fight than expected. The Blue Devils would have been in major trouble had the Vols shot better. Tennessee only shot 41.4% from the field and failed to hit a three-pointer for the first time since February of 1997.
UCLA Bruins vs. Kansas Jayhawks, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Remember how I picked Chaminade to beat the Bruins? Well, it looked like a possibility early on, until the Bruins pulled it together in the second half, thanks to five players hitting double figures en route to a 92-60 rout. Reeves Nelson returned in the second half, but only managed a point in 11 minutes. Up next for UCLA is another November meeting with Kansas, who has defeated them in each of the past two seasons. Thomas Robinson scored 20 and grabbed 12 boards to help push the Jayhawks past a pesky Georgetown squad, 67-63. Even with as good as the Bruins looked in the last 20 minutes of their game, remember it was against Chaminade, meaning even a young Kansas team will be a stiffer challenge. Still, it now looks possible for the Bruins to keep it close. That seemed impossible just a day ago.
Final pick: Michigan vs. Kansas
Memphis Tigers vs. Tennessee Volunteers, 2 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Oh look, it's a repeat matchup. The Tigers and Volunteers will meet on January 4th at the FedEx Forum. Here's a fact that probably only interests me, this is the third time Tennessee will meet a team in a regularly-scheduled game and a tournament in the past four years. They lost to Gonzaga twice in 2008-09 (Old Spice Classic) and took a pair from Belmont in 2010-11 (NIT Season Tip-Off).
Georgetown Hoyas vs. Chaminade Silverswords, approx. 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Hoyas should handle the Silverswords, which means yet another repeat game could be in the offing. The Tigers head to the District of Columbia to play Georgetown on December 22.
CBE Classic Finals
Championship: Missouri Tigers vs. California Golden Bears, approx. 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Tigers thoroughly dominated Notre Dame in Monday night's first semifinal, shooting lights out from the field and the foul line on the way to claiming a resounding 87-58 win. Marcus Denmon led the way with 26 on a night when he hit 9 of 11 shots from the field. In the nightcap, Cal made sure both early games were blowouts, as they had every answer on defense against Georgia, routing the Bulldogs by a 70-46 score. I think the Tigers will be a far stiffer challenge for the Bears, particularly if they're as red hot from the field as they last night.
Consolation: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Georgia Bulldogs, 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Both of these squads will look to leave Kansas City with a win after being thoroughly humiliated on Monday night. The advantage could go to a Notre Dame team that looked somewhat competent offensively early in its game with Missouri.
Cancun Challenge Semifinals
Illinois State Redbirds (2-1) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (), 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Redbirds started the season by traveling to Fresno State for Opening Night, a game they lost by eight. Since then, they've defeated SIU Edwardsville and Lipscomb, with the offense improving in each contest. Tonight, Illinois State takes on a Rutgers team that has also defeated the teams it should have (Dartmouth, Sacred Heart, and Hampton), but was outclassed on a trip to Miami a week ago. This one will be close, but the Scarlet Knights may have just a bit too much talent for the Redbirds.
Richmond Spiders (3-1) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-0), approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Spiders have started out fairly well as they adjust to life without Kevin Anderson, Dan Geriot, and Justin Harper (though freshman Kandall Anthony is fitting in nicely), but they did lose at Davidson (by 13) in their biggest game to date. This evening they face an Illini team that's been strong defensively through its first three games, even though they did struggle at times against Lipscomb on Thursday.
Final pick: Rutgers vs. Illinois
In the non-televised mid-major bracket, Lipscomb will face SIU Edwardsville and Sacred Heart will play Hampton.
As always, please feel free to discuss today's action in the comments.