Thanksgiving Eve featured some championship classics and a couple of major surprises:
- The 13th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0) stunned the No. 6 Wichita State Shockers (4-1), 67-66, to win a Maui Jim Maui Invitational final that definitely lived up to the hype. Earlier, in the seventh-place game, the Chaminade Silverswords (3-2, DII) resoundingly won its final game before beginning its “even-year Mainland/odd-year Maui” arrangement, 96-72 over the California Golden Bears (2-4).
- The MGM Resorts Main Event Heavyweight title went to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (5-0) who obliterated the Utah Utes (4-1), 85-58, at T-Mobile Arena. The Middleweight champ Prairie View A&M Panthers (2-3) came to the desert without a win, but left with victories over both favorites—the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Monday and the Georgia State Panthers (3-2), by an impressive 71-56 count, yesterday.
- The inaugural Cayman Islands Classic championship went to the Cincinnati Bearcats (6-0), as expected. Mick Cronin’s 12th-ranked squad cruised past the Wyoming Cowboys (4-1), 78-53.
- Thanks to a Derric Jean buzzer-beating three, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-0) can call themselves Cancun Challenge Riviera Division champs. That bucket pushed Tech past the Evansville Purple Aces (5-1), 63-61. In the Mayan Division final, the Montana State Bobcats (3-2) topped the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (2-3), 88-82.
- In Estero, Fla. the Towson Tigers (5-1), who might just be the CAA favorite at this point, took down the Georgia Southern Eagles (5-1), 70-67, to win the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the Thanksgiving basketball feast on offer, which includes a few unexpected dishes.
For a full lineup of non-tournament games, check out MattSarzSports.com’s Daily Schedule.
|Tip Time (ET)||Event||Round||Matchup||Outlet||KenPom Fan Match Rank|
|Tip Time (ET)||Event||Round||Matchup||Outlet||KenPom Fan Match Rank|
|11:30 a.m.||AdvoCare Invitational||Quarterfinal||Missouri vs. Long Beach State||ESPN2||18|
|12 p.m.||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Mainland Semifinal||Chicago State at UMBC||ESPN3||27|
|12:30 p.m.||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Semifinal||Tennessee vs. Villanova||ESPN2||4|
|1:45 p.m.||Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational||Visitors' Semifinal||Hampton vs. Northern Arizona||None||21|
|2 p.m. (approx.)||AdvoCare Invitational||Quarterfinal||St. John's vs. Oregon State||ESPNU||10|
|2:30 p.m.||Phil Knight Invitational Victory||Quarterfinal||North Carolina vs. Portland||ESPN||26|
|2:30 p.m. (approx.)||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Mainland Semifinal||Nicholls State at Presbyterian||None||22|
|3 p.m. (approx.)||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Semifinal||N.C. State vs. UNI||ESPN2||11|
|4 p.m.||NIT Season Tip-Off||Semifinal||Virginia vs. Vanderbilt||ESPNU||6|
|4 p.m.||Wooden Legacy||Quarterfinal||Saint Mary's vs. Harvard||ESPNews||14|
|4:30 p.m.||Phil Knight Invitational Motion||Quarterfinal||Duke vs. Portland State||ESPN||23|
|5 p.m.||Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational||Hosts' Semifinal||George Washington vs. Xavier||FS1||20|
|5 p.m. (approx.)||Phil Knight Invitational Victory||Quarterfinal||Arkansas vs. Oklahoma||ESPN2||2|
|6 p.m.||AdvoCare Invitational||Quarterfinal||Nebraska vs. UCF||ESPN3||13|
|6:30 p.m. (approx.)||NIT Season Tip-Off||Semifinal||Rhode Island vs. Seton Hall||ESPNU||5|
|6:30 p.m. (approx.)||Wooden Legacy||Quarterfinal||Saint Joseph's vs. Washington State||ESPN3||17|
|7 p.m. (approx.)||Phil Knight Invitational Motion||Quarterfinal||Butler vs. Texas||ESPN2||3|
|7 p.m.||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Consolation Semifinal||Purdue vs. WKU||ESPN3||24|
|7:30 p.m. (approx.)||Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational||Hosts' Semifinal||Arizona State vs. Kansas State||FS1||8|
|8:30 p.m. (approx.)||AdvoCare Invitational||Quarterfinal||West Virginia vs. Marist||ESPNews||28|
|9 p.m.||Phil Knight Invitational Victory||Quarterfinal||UConn vs. Oregon||ESPNU||9|
|9:30 p.m.||GCI Great Alaska Shootout||Consolation Semifinal||College of Charleston vs. Sam Houston State||FloHoops.com ($)^||29|
|9:30 p.m. (approx.)||Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis||Consolation Semifinal||Arizona vs. SMU||ESPN3||1|
|10 p.m.||Phil Knight Invitational Motion||Quarterfinal||Florida vs. Stanford||ESPN2||12|
|10 p.m. (approx.)||Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational||Visitors' Semifinal||Rider vs. UC Irvine||None||15|
|10:30 p.m.||Wooden Legacy||Quarterfinal||Georgia at Cal State Fullerton||ESPNews||19|
|11:30 p.m. (approx. )||Phil Knight Invitational Victory||Quarterfinal||DePaul vs. Michigan State||ESPN||16|
|12 a.m. (approx.)||GCI Great Alaska Shootout||Consolation Semifinal||Santa Clara at Alaska Anchorage||FloHoops.com ($)^||30|
|12:30 a.m. (approx.)||Phil Knight Invitational Motion||Quarterfinal||Gonzaga vs. Ohio State||ESPN2||7|
|1 a.m. (approx.)||Wooden Legacy||Quarterfinal||San Diego State vs. Sacramento State||ESPNU||25|
^Great Alaska Shootout games also air on GCI channel 907 in Alaska only.
AdvoCare Invitational Quarterfinals (Primer)
Missouri Tigers (3-1) vs. Long Beach State 49ers (2-2), 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
St. John’s Red Storm (4-0) vs. Oregon State Beavers (2-1), approx. 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-1) vs. UCF Knights (3-0), 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
West Virginia Mountaineers (3-1) vs. Marist Red Foxes (0-3), approx. 8:30 p.m. (ESPNews)
With Tuesday’s news that Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss the rest of the season for Mizzou, the complexion of this event changed. Sure, West Virginia is still the favorite, but now an improved St. John’s team has to be considered the Mountaineers’ most difficult possible final opponent now.
I’m curious to see how many UCF fans travel to Disney for a tip time that’s right around Thanksgiving dinner time. At least when Florida played in this event last season, the Gators were slotted into the final tip time of the night, which helped with attendance.
Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland Semifinals (Primer)
Nicholls State might just be the most fun team of the four gathering in Catonsville, but you’ll have to hope they beat Presbyterian and that UMBC defeats Chicago State (as expected) to get a chance to see them tomorrow.
Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis Semifinals
If there were any Battle 4 Atlantis bracket pools out there, most of those sheets are probably ashes right now. Three of the four favorites lost, including second-ranked Arizona. Villanova is now the clear favorite, though I think both Tennessee’s defense and N.C. State’s tempo will give them trouble over the next two days—and that’s if the Wolfpack get past a UNI team that’s a bit better than last season’s.
Phil Knight Invitational Quarterfinals
Victory Bracket (Primer)
North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0) vs. Portland Pilots (2-1), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (2-0), approx. 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
UConn Huskies (3-0) vs. Oregon Ducks (4-0), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
DePaul Blue Demons (1-2) vs. Michigan State Spartans (2-1), approx. 11:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Motion Bracket (Primer)
Duke Blue Devils (5-0) vs. Portland State Vikings (4-0), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Butler Bulldogs (3-1) vs. Texas Longhorns (3-0), approx. 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida Gators (3-0) vs. Stanford Cardinal (3-2), 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
Gonzaga Bulldogs (3-0) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0), approx. 12:30 a.m. 11/24 (ESPN2)
Are you ready for eight games over a 12-hour span at two venues in Portland? To be honest, only four of these matchups—the middle pair from each quartet—look to be entertaining. And I’m naturally hoping Florida’s contest with Stanford is more like the Gators’ first two games, not their Sunday win over the New Hampshire Wildcats. Arkansas-Oklahoma, UConn-Oregon, and Butler-Texas should all be decent measuring stick games for all involved.
Wooden Legacy Quarterfinals (Primer)
Saint Mary's Gaels (4-0) vs. Harvard Crimson (2-2), 4 p.m. (ESPNews)
Saint Joseph's Hawks (2-1) vs. Washington State Cougars (3-0), approx. 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) at Cal State Fullerton Titans (1-2), 10:30 p.m. (ESPNews)
San Diego State Aztecs (3-1) vs. Sacramento State Hornets (1-3), approx. 1 a.m. (ESPNU)
With Harvard struggling early, the first quarterfinal of the day in Fullerton has lost some of its luster. But it’s still the most interesting game of the quartet. Friday’s action should more of the “must-watch” variety, but that’s provided the favorites all win today. Given what happened in the Bahamas yesterday, that’s not a given.
NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals (Primer)
With Vanderbilt struggling to close out games (witness Sunday’s home loss to the USC Trojans) and Rhode Island without the services of E.C. Matthews for a few weeks, a Virginia-Seton Hall final could be on the cards for tomorrow. And with both of those teams looking impressive early on, that matchup would be worth checking out.
Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Semifinals (Primer)
GW was the only one of the four teams to lose an on-campus game in this event—to Rider. Expect Xavier, another impressive Big East squad, to roll past them into the final. The ASU-K-State nightcap is a bit more of a toss-up, however.
GCI Great Alaska Shootout Consolation Semifinals
FloHoops.com ($) will stream and GCI channel 907 (Alaska only) will air all four games.
Wednesday’s quarterfinals featured a couple of surprises, as the Cal Poly Mustangs (3-2) upended the favored Cougars to earn a semifinal date with the Central Michigan Chippewas (3-1) on Friday night. Later, the Idaho Vandals (3-1) took down Herb Sendek’s Broncos in the first of the evening quarterfinals. The Big Sky contenders will meet one of the top teams in an improved WAC, the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners (3-2), who cruised past the host Seawolves in the nightcap.