I spent all of Sunday at the Old Spice Classic at Walt Disney World, where all four placement games featured a close finish. St. Joseph's opened the afternoon with a five-point win over Washington State in the fifth-place game, which was followed by an LSU overtime victory over Butler in the third-place tilt.
The night session featured a pair of rematches. In the battle to avoid an 0-for-Disney trip, Siena couldn't avenge its loss at Purdue a week earlier, though the Saints came close and would probably have won had Rob Poole not fouled out with plenty of time left in the second half. The finale was the game everyone wanted to see, however, and they weren't disappointed, as Memphis and Oklahoma State played a classic. The Tigers kept Marcus Smart in check -- as did some stomach virus-like symptoms, it turned out -- and a large contingent of fans in blue and white made Sunday's contest more of a home game than expected. The result, a 73-68 victory for Josh Pastner's squad.
On the West Coast, San Diego State defeated Marquette, 67-59 to claim the Wooden Legacy title in Anaheim. In the third-place game, there was a bit of an upset at George Washington stunned Creighton to send the Bluejays to their next game, at Long Beach State, stewing about a 1-2 trip. Miami handed Arizona State a damaging loss for its at-large hopes in the fifth-place matchup, while Charleston defeated Cal State Fullerton to send this weekend's hosts back to campus without a win.
Oh, North Carolina continued its inconsistent ways by falling at UAB. If you're not keeping track, that means over three consecutive Sundays the Tar Heels have lost to Belmont (who fell victim to VCU's HAVOC in the second half in Nashville yesterday) in Chapel Hill, defeated defending National Champ Louisville in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off final, and fallen at UAB.
Tonight sees the resumption of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which opened all the way back on November 14th when the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
All TV info is courtesy Matt's College Sports on TV site. He has many more games listed, and you'll also want to check out his listings for information on which ACC and SEC regional contests and CSN and FSN games (all games listed here marked with an *) are available on which affiliates.
All times are Eastern.
SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Auburn Tigers (4-1) at Iowa State Cyclones (5-0), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Ah, the joys of putting together these conference challenges, especially in leagues with membership totals that don't match. Do you seriously think that an Auburn team that has lost at home to a (pretty good) Northwestern State team is going to have much of a chance against Hilton Magic? Note that this contest starts an interesting part of the schedule for the Tigers between now and Christmas. Auburn will next face Illinois, Clemson, and Boston College, with only today's game and the one against the Illini (slated for Atlanta) away from Auburn Arena.
Vanderbilt Commodores (4-2) at Texas Longhorns (6-1), 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
This was projected to be the final of the Legends Classic in 2011, but Oregon St. Beavers stunned the Longhorns in the semifinals, so the two didn't ever meet. Both programs have struggled since that 2011-12 campaign -- when Texas lost in the NCAA Round of 64 and Vandy exited a round later. The winner of tonight's matchup might be able to use the result to move a step closer to respectability. However, both squads have so many question marks that an NCAA bid for the victor is unlikely for 2014.
Florida Gators (6-1) at Connecticut Huskies (7-0), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
A mere 72 hours after the Gators opened a difficult four-game stretch with a one-point win over archrival Florida State, the still shorthanded Orange and Blue travel to New England to open a two-season home-and-home with the Huskies. Over the past couple of seasons, Florida has struggled in close games. It was finally able to close one out at home on Friday night, but a trip to Gampel Pavilion will be a completely different challenge.
Mercer Bears (5-3) at Oklahoma Sooners (5-1), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Bears lost by just three at Texas on Opening Night and they would love to be able to grab a victory over a name opponent before heading into Atlantic Sun play at the end of the month.
UC Irvine Anteaters (5-3) at California Golden Bears (5-2), 10p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
The Anteaters manhandled Washington Huskies in the 2K Sports Classic preliminary round in Seattle. A second win over a Pac-12 opponent would be yet another feather in the cap for the Big West favorite.
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