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Preview and Picks for Early Season College Hoops Tournaments

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Championship Game-Wisconsin vs Duke

We’re about a month away from one of the best times of the year on the sports calendar. College football is in its final weeks, the NFL is making a playoff push, hockey is around, the NBA is in full swing and most importantly we have big time college basketball. Actually, we have big time college basketball all day thanks to the early season tournaments that are going on.

Everyone knows about the Maui Invitational, but that’s not even the best tournament around anymore. No, no, there’s plenty of other big games that everyone can bet, err watch while at work or sitting at your parents house because you’re still in college and I probably hate you for that.

Have no fear betting people and those who want to get into college hoops, Reags is here to tell you who will win those early season tournaments and what to watch for as we get head into the season. Now, I know what most comments will be. ‘Hey asshat, it’s October and you’re talking about games a month away. It’s footbawl, Pawl.’ Well, these games tend to sneak up on people and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone tell me they had no idea Duke and Wisconsin played in Hawaii. So, YOU’RE WELCOME.

These won’t include any of the classics like the Champions Classic with Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke and Kansas where there is no ‘winner.’

Battle 4 Atlantis

Teams: Gonzaga, Washington, Texas, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Charlotte, Michigan, UConn

This is by far the best tournament we have out there with some juicy first round matchups. The tournament committee just so happened to give us rivalry games in Gonzaga vs Washington and Texas vs Texas A&M on the first day of the event, so expect the intensity to be there from the get go. Then, there’s the matchup of Michigan vs UConn, who might be the two best teams in the event. There’s plenty of interesting matchups following that as we can get an old Big East showdown with Syracuse and UConn in the semifinals. Don’t be surprised to see Texas A&M make a run to the finals out of their half of the group and in fact I’ll bet that happens.

Finals: Michigan over Texas A&M

Maui Invitational

Teams: St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Indiana, Kansas, Chaminade, UNLV, UCLA

I have to admit I’m not impressed with the Maui field this year. With only three top-25 teams in the field, the one-time must-see tournament has lost its luster to the Battle 4 Atlantis. That said, there’s still basketball on for roughly 12 hours in Hawaii and that can’t be beat. Kansas should have a cakewalk to the finals thanks to drawing Division III host Chaminade and then getting a weak UNLV or UCLA squad in the semifinals. If Codi Miller-McIntyre didn’t get hurt this week for Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons would have beat Indiana in their matchup, but the loss of the starting point guard puts the Deacs back a notch. Vanderbilt is the team to watch here as they have one of the best inside-outside duos in Damian Jones (a legit NBA draft pick) and Riley LaChance (who sounds like the exact fucking bro that would go to Vandy).

Finals: Kansas over Vanderbilt

Advocare Invitational

Teams: Alabama, Xavier, Wichita State, USC, Notre Dame, Monmouth, Iowa, Dayton

The fuck is the Advocare Invitational you might ask? Well, it’s a basketball tournament that takes place in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – no word if it’s by Del Boca Vista for Morty Seinfeld to come watch. In fact, it’s the third best event out there this year thanks to the depth as there are at least five NCAA Tournament teams in the field. If we get lucky Xavier and Dayton will meet in the finals, which is one of the best rivalries no one knows about. HOWEVAH, that won’t happen. We will get to see one of the five most exciting players in college basketball in Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson, who has a legit shot at being an All-American and having the type of season Jerian Grant had last year.

Finals: Notre Dame over Xavier

2K Classic

Teams: Wisconsin, Georgetown, Duke, VCU

The only four team tournament we’ll discuss is pretty damn loaded. When VCU is the worst team in the field, you know it’s must-watch TV. Hell, we might even get a replay of last year’s national title game. This is your time to shine Big Cat, Sam’s Army and Charlie and everyone else who went to Wisconsin! April doesn’t count. November does. VCU in its first year without Shaka Smart will be an interesting matchup for Duke as the pressure from the Rams, led by Mo Alie-Cox will force the young Blue Devils to make quick decisions. On the other side of the ball, we’ll get to see just how good Wisconsin is after losing Barstool’s favorite (at least what they tell me) duo in Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky.

Finals: Duke over Georgetown

DirecTV Wooden Legacy

Teams: UC Irvine, Boise State, Boston College, Michigan State, Evansville, Providence, Santa Clara, Arizona

This one will have plenty of Stoolie interest thanks to Boston College and Providence, but that field is deeper than you think. Sure, Boston College, Evansville and Santa Clara all suck ass, but the rest don’t! Maybe that should be the motto of the tournament. UC Irvine is a NCAA Tournament team and has one of my favorite players in college basketball in Mamadou N’Diaye, who is 7’6” and actually an awesome player. Reminds me of Manute Bol back in the day. Get you some Mamadou. Boise State can win the MWC this year thanks to the return of Anthony Drmic. Then there’s likely Player of the Year in Kris Dunn, who is as close to must watch TV as we have out there, but add in a serving of Michigan State vs Arizona in the finals and the Wooden Legacy is on the calendar come November. I do think Arizona takes a step back from recent years, but they have a freshman in Allonzo Trier that might be the best pure scorer in the country.

Finals: Michigan State over Arizona

For all your college hoops talk, picks and general debauchery follow me @barstoolreags

Photo credit to Big Ten Network