As many of you are aware of, the college basketball season has officially tipped off with the start of numerous pre-season tournaments. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I can only discuss a select few to talk about. However, I am pretty sure you didn’t need to know whether or not teams like UCONN had any problems handling Wagner and Columbia. So, don’t worry, there will be plenty of good teams for me to cover, and you should know most of the teams in these tournaments anyways. So without any further interruptions, I gladly give you Clew’s take on the Pre-Season NIT & the Maui Invitational.
2011 NIT Season Tip-Off
Championship Rounds: November 23rd & 25th @ Madison Square Garden
This tournament takes place every November at the beginning of the college hoops season. Typically, the first two rounds are held at campus sites, while the semifinals & finals are held at Madison Square Garden. This tournament began in 1985, when it was named the Preseason NIT to distinguish it from the post-season NIT (often, teams who don’t have good enough records or who get “snubbed” in NCAA selections play here). This tournament remains one of the premier preseason tournaments, along with the Maui Invitational and the 2K Coaches vs. Cancer classic.
The teams who will be participating in this year’s NIT:
#5 (3-0) Syracuse University
(3-0) Virginia Tech
(3-0) Oklahoma State.
Who Does Clew Think Will Win?
With Syracuse being the only ranked team in the tournament (led by seniors Kris Joseph & Scoop Jardine), I would like to think they are the all-around favorites to win. However, Va. Tech is a young and competitive team with play maker Dorenzo Hudson (averaging 19 ppg so far), so there could be a chance of an upset if Syracuse can’t stop him from scoring. We also cannot underestimate Stanford or Oklahoma State, who are on the verge of breaking into the top 25. But, however athletic these teams are, they simply do not match up against Syracuse in every category.
2011 Maui Invitational
Championship Rounds: November 21st & 23rd @ The Lahaina Civic Center
The Maui Invitational is an annual early-season college basketball tournament that takes place during Thanksgiving Week in Lahaina, Hawaii (the Island of Maui). The story behind this tournament began in 1982, in what many consider the greatest upset in college basketball history, when Chaminade University (NCAA D-II school), defeated #1 Virginia on Dec. 23rd. A few years after that, a tournament was established to honor Chaminade’s win. Generally speaking, of the eight teams that participate in the Maui Invitational, there is usually one from each of the six major conferences, one from a mid-major conference and of course Chaminade.
Teams representing the Maui Invitational this year:
#17 (2-0) Michigan
#10 (1-0) Memphis
#6 (3-0) Duke
#12 (1-1) Kansas
Who Does Clew Think Will Win?
Wow, talk about a loaded tournament! As much as I would like to see Memphis or Michigan face Duke in the finals, the way this tournament is set up, they would be facing one another in the 2nd round game. I would love to see Chaminade pull off a big upset over UCLA, but at the end of the day, I have to think that Georgetown (gotta root Big East) has a good chance at making it to the finals (thats right! they are upsetting #12 and overrated Kansas) to face #6 Duke. In the end, the Blue Devils will run away with the Maui Invitational. Before I forget, let me just congratulate Duke University & Coach K, as earlier this week he passed former coach Bobby Knight for most wins all time by a college coach (903 wins and counting). Congrats, and I look forward to seeing many more victories for years to come.
Here’s video of Chaminade’s incredible victory in 1982:
Jardine image courtesy of: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
Coach K image courtesy of: http://www2.nbc17.com
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