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2011 Early Season Tournaments Day 7: The Maui Invitational Concludes And NIT Tips Off

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Tuesday night saw the conclusion of the CBE Classic, a game that was really no contest. Missouri claimed the Big 12's first early tournament title of the season, likely its last as a member of that conference. The Tigers made another statement, as they obliterated California, 92-53, a night after they pummeled Notre Dame by 29. Six Mizzou players hit double figures, led by Kim English with 19 and Marcus Denmon with 18. Georgia used its defense to defeat Notre Dame, 61-57, in the third-place game. The Fighting Irish only managed to hit 34.8% of their shots from the field--a miserable 4 for 21 from beyond the arc.

A coverage not before I continue on, late this morning, I'll be off to New York for the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals and finals, so these posts may be a bit less detailed over the next few days.

After the jump, I'll look at today's tourney action, which features two championship games, one in Cancun and the one everyone has been waiting for, Maui.

Maui Invitational Finals

Championship: Duke Blue Devils vs. Kansas Jayhawks, approx. 10 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Michigan gave Duke a battle in Tuesday's first semifinal, but the Blue Devils had a bit more offense, particularly from beyond the three-point line, than the Wolverines. The result: an 82-75 Duke victory. The Blue Devils will look for their fifth Maui crown, but they'll need to get past the Jayhawks, 72-56 victors over UCLA, to get it. Kansas pretty much shut down the Bruins, but with one interesting exception. UCLA made 8 of their 14 three-point attempts on the night. If Duke is as hot from beyond the arc on Wednesday as they were on Tuesday, they should be able to win their 15th game in a row at this event (16, if you count their on-campus win over Belmont).

There are three other placement games scheduled in Lahaina today.

3rd/4th Place: Michigan Wolverines vs. UCLA Bruins, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Wolverines will look to leave Maui with a second victory and a tremendous amount of confidence with a victory over the struggling Bruins, who are still looking for their first win over a Division I opponent.

5th/6th Place: Georgetown Hoyas vs. Memphis Tigers, approx. 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
7th/8th Place: vs. Tennessee Volunteers vs. Chaminade Silverswords, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Memphis has the chance to pick up a second win in Lahaina after they won a double-overtime thriller over Tennessee yesterday afternoon, 99-97. The Tigers reward is a meeting with a Georgetown team they'll play in a little less than a month. The Hoyas demolished Chaminade, 88-61, in the day's second consolation semifinal, sending the hosts to their traditional 7th-place game haunt.

Cancun Challenge Finals

Championship: Illinois State Redbirds vs. Illinois Fighting Illini, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Cancun Challenge championship game will see a rare meeting of Land of Lincoln rivals, as Illinois State held off a young Rutgers squad, 76-70, in the first semifinal to set up a meeting with the Illini, 70-61 victors over Richmond in game two. Meyers Leonard had a big double-double (22 points, 12 boards) to pace Bruce Weber's team.

Consolation: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Richmond Spiders, 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
It may be worth tuning into this game to check out the Spiders' backcourt, led by Darien Brothers, who had 22 against Illinois last night, and 5-8 freshman Kendall Anthony, who's averaging 17.3 points a game early on.

Lipscomb will meet Sacred Heart in the non-televised mid-major final. The Bisons topped SIU Edwardsville, 90-87, while the Pioneers defeated Hampton, 78-71.

NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals

Stanford Cardinal (4-0) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0), 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
For a time last Wednesday, mere seconds separated Texas-San Antonio and a trip to New York to face the Cardinal, until the Roadrunners coughed up their lead late in Stillwater and Oklahoma State prevailed in overtime. On the other hand, Stanford was tested in its regional final against Colorado State. This one should be close, though the Cowboys may have just a bit too much for Johnny Dawkins' side.

Virginia Tech Hokies (3-0) vs. Syracuse Orange (4-0), approx. 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Both teams have cruised through their opening games, with the Orange earning particular praise for their performance on both ends of the court. The question for Syracuse is, how will they respond away from the Carrier Dome in light of the allegations against currently-suspended assistant Bernie Fine? Of course, the crowd at Madison Square Garden should still provide plenty of support.

Final pick: Oklahoma State vs. Syracuse

Great Alaska Shootout Quarterfinals

Once again, the venerable Anchorage events splits its quarterfinals. The other four teams are in action Thursday night.

Murray State Racers (4-0, 2-0 vs. Division I) at Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves (0-0 Division II), 10:30 p.m. ET (Altitude 2/MASN/FCS Pacific)
The Racers look like they'll again be serious contenders in the Ohio Valley, as they're fresh of a 13-point win at UAB on Sunday. Meanwhile, the host Seawolves have yet to play an official game. Worse news yet, they lost two of their three exhibitions.

Dartmouth Big Green (1-2) vs. San Francisco Dons (4-1), approx. 1 a.m. ET (Altitude 2/MASN/FCS Pacific)
The Big Green's offense has been fairly anemic through three games, while the Dons have fired off four victories in a row after dropping a game opening night to North Dakota State, who should be a force in the Summit League this season.

Semifinal pick: Murray State vs. San Francisco

As always, please feel free to discuss today's action in the comments.

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