Maui Jim Maui Invitational
After claiming the Universiade gold medal for the United States over the summer in South Korea, the Kansas Jayhawks continued their dominance away from the contiguous 48 state. Fifth-ranked KU pulled away from Vanderbilt Commodores in the final 20 minutes to claim the Maui Jim Maui Invitational crown, 80-73. Wayne Selden Jr., who scored 25 in the final, and Frank Mason III split the tournament's MVP honors. Surprisingly, the triumph is only second Maui title for the Jayhawks, who last won three games in Lahaina in 1996.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the UCLA Bruins, 80-77, in the third-place game, capping a surprisingly productive Hawaiian trip for the Demon Deacons and a deeply disappointing one for the Bruins. The no. 13 Indiana Hoosiers probably won't be in the rankings at all come Monday, as they join UCLA in departing Maui with a 1-2 record after falling to the UNLV Runnin' Rebels, 72-69. The St. John's Red Storm is the third squad heading back to the mainland with a single win, but without one against Division I opposition, as they held off a late push by the host Chaminade Silverswords, 100-93.
The second-ranked Maryland Terrapins finally looked like a squad worthy of such lofty billing, as they battered the Rhode Island Rams from the beginning of the Cancun Challenge final, recording an 86-63 win. Third place in Mexico went to the TCU Horned Frogs, who had a surprisingly easy time with the Illinois State Redbirds, who rarely tested the Horned Frogs in a 71-60 loss. The South Dakota State Jackrabbits join Maryland in ending the Cancun Challenge with four wins, a rarity for a split-bracket event, as they rolled past the Cleveland State Vikings, 77-66, to claim the Riviera bracket crown.
Men Who Speak Up Main Event
In Las Vegas, the Men Who Speak Up Main Event Heavyweight belt went to the Creighton Bluejays, who outclassed the UMass Minutemen 97-76 in the first game of the evening doubleheader. In the finale, the third-place game, The Clemson Tigers routed Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 76-58. The Howard Bison are the Middleweight champ, as the Bison had no trouble with the Central Arkansas Bears, prevailing 73-54.
Gulf Coast Showcase
The Weber State Wildcats, who finished a disappointing eighth in the Big Sky last season, might be on their way back this season. That would be a good forecast after they claimed the Gulf Coast Showcase with a dominant 75-59 win over defending Ohio Valley regular season champ Murray State Racers. Third-place went to the surprising Drake Bulldogs, who topped the Pepperdine Waves, 69-53. The Duquesne Dukes finished a surprising fifth, as they knocked off the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 81-73. A bigger surprise is the 0-3 finish the Central Michigan Chippewas, the preseason MAC favorites endured. The Chips fell to the Milwaukee Panthers, 84-78, in the first game of the day in Estero, Fla.
Now on to the holiday slate!
Game information courtesy Matt College Sports on TV Website, which has even more games listed.
All times listed are Eastern, adjust accordingly.
Advocare Invitational Quarterfinals
No. 23 Xavier Musketeers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 20 Wichita State Shockers vs. USC Trojans, approx. 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Monmouth Hawks, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Dayton Flyers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes, approx. 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
The three ranked teams should advance to Friday relatively easily, though Wichita State will be without Fred VanVleet, who's dealing with a hamstring injury. That will give USC a bit of hope. Later, Monmouth's win over UCLA and close shave at USC should give the Hawks confidence against Notre Dame. In game one, Alabama might not be as hopeless as they looked in their non-bracketed game at Dayton, as they rolled Sun Belt favorite UL Lafayette three days later in Tuscaloosa, though Xavier is a different challenge entirely.
That nightcap, however, features two teams that very well could be ranked. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing both the Hawkeyes and Flyers in person tonight.
Battle 4 Atlantis Semifinals
No. 10 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 25 Texas A&M Aggies, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Syracuse Orange vs. No. 18 UConn Huskies, approx. 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Washington Huskies vs. Texas Longhorns, 7 p.m. (AXS TV)
Michigan Wolverines vs. Charlotte 49ers, approx. 9:30 p.m. (AXS TV)
While plenty of ranked teams are in action on Thanksgiving, the Gonzaga-Texas A&M matchup is the only meeting of Top 25 teams on the day's agenda. The Bulldogs will be challenged by an Aggie squad that boasts some serious size, but I wonder if A&M is going to be able to keep up with Gonzaga's shooters. The second semifinal is the rivalry we didn't get in the quarterfinals, as both the Orange and Huskies cruised to a Big East reunion.
With both Washington and Texas losing on Wednesday, the pair will meet again 13 days after the Huskies dropped the Longhorns by a 77-71 count in Shanghai. The final game of the day is a rematch of the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off final, won by a Charlotte team that eventually went nowhere, which Michigan ended up in the 2014 Elite Eight.
NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Arkansas Razorbacks, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 8 Villanova Wildcats vs. Stanford Cardinal, approx. 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Based on early results, Villanova is the only likely NCAA team out of this quartet, who will all take the floor at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, not Madison Square Garden, which gave up this tournament to host other events. This doubleheader is the first of nine games that will take place in the home of the NBA's Nets over the next three days.
Directv Wooden Legacy Quarterfinals
Boise State Broncos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Boston College Eagles vs. No. 3 Michigan State Spartans, approx. 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Providence Friars vs. Evansville Aces, approx. 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 11 Arizona Wildcats vs. Santa Clara Broncos, approx. 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The first and third games are the most watchable of the four scheduled for Fullerton this afternoon and evening. Game one pits the Mountain West and Big West favorites against one another, while serving as a national reintroduction for the Broncos' Aussie sharpshooter Anthony Drmic, who missed most of last season due to injury, and the Anteaters' 7'6" center Mamadou Ndiaye. Meanwhile, the first game of the night session sees Big East and Missouri Valley contenders face off, with a pair of great guards, the Friars' Kris Dunn and the Aces' D.J. Balentine, leading the way,
Michigan State, facing a 3-0 Boston College team that's yet to really be tested, and Arizona, encounterting 0-5 Santa Clara, should each take their first steps toward Sunday's final.
Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Semifinals
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Richmond Spiders, 5 p.m. (FS1)
No. 14 California Golden Bears vs. San Diego State Aztecs, 12 a.m. 11/27 (FS1)
Undefeated West Virginia is the favorite in the afternoon semifinal at Orleans Arena, though 3-1 Richmond has the best win of the pair—the Spiders topped Wake Forest 91-82 in Winston-Salem on November 18th. On the flip side, the night game might not be as exciting as hoped—Cal is on a serious early roll, while SDSU lost to Little Rock in a home game for this event on Saturday afternoon. Offense is again a huge question mark for the Aztecs.
Great Alaska Shootout Quarterfinals
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Drexel Dragons vs. UNC Asheville Bulldogs, approx. 12 a.m. 11/27 (CBSSN)
Middle Tennessee might be the best team in this field, which is bad news for the hosts, who last won a quarterfinal in its home tournament back in 1996 (against Maine). The winner of the nightcap will earn its first Division I win of the season. The pair are a combined 1-6, with the lone win being UNC Asheville's over Mars Hill.
The Toledo Rockets and Loyola of Chicago Ramblers will meet for the second time in less than a week in Friday's semifinals—the Rockets conquered the San Jose Spartans 89-74, and the Ramblers rolled past the San Diego Toreros, 67-57 in the first two quarterfinals on Wednesday night in Anchorage.
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