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2011 Early Season Tournaments: Thanksgiving Weekend Ends With A Big Night For The Atlantic 10

The conclusion of Thanksgiving weekend's tournaments indicated that there may be a few more players involved in the Atlantic 10 race this season than Xavier and Temple.

First, Dayton thoroughly dominated Minnesota to claim the Old Spice Classic crown, 86-70. Worse news for the Golden Gophers was a right knee injury to star forward Trevor Mbakwe early in the second half. If he's out for an extended period of time, Minnesota's chances will be significantly damaged, even if the Flyers were in control with him in the contest. Indiana State finished at 2-1 and with third place after holding off Fairfield, 72-66. The Sycamores actually led the Stags by 24 with 9:47 left in the game. DePaul also leaves Walt Disney World with two unexpected wins, at least given the program's recent history, as they held off Arizona State in the fifth-place game, 68-64. Wake Forest sent Texas Tech back to West Texas without a win, claiming a 70-61 triumph in the seventh-place game.

The night's action concluded with the Flyers' league rivals, Saint Louis, claiming the 76 Classic title with an impressive 83-63 victory over Oklahoma. Once again, the Billikens were red hot from both inside and outside the three-point arc, even if they didn't hit their first trey until 3:17 was left in the first half. Villanova, to be completely honest, blew the third-place game, coughing up a seven-point lead in the final 1:11 to lose to Santa Clara by one, 65-64. Conversely, New Mexico had no trouble with Boston College in the game for fifth, picking up an easy 75-57 win. UC Riverside took seventh (and their first win of the season) by overhauling Washington State in the final 7:52, closing a 15-point gap to triumph, 64-63.

So, yet another season's worth of Thanksgiving fortnight tournaments are complete, all that's left from an exempt event perspective are a few tourneys over the Christmas period. At some point this week, I'll have a look at some of the known fields for 2012 and beyond.

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