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Recapping the Week of College Basketball Tournaments

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We’re just about done with all the college basketball tournaments so figured it’d be easier just to wrap it all up in one blog with some thoughts. The PK80 and Advocare are still going on and I’ll have a blog previewing the title games in the two brackets there later today. So let’s get right into it.

Maui Invitational

Champ: Notre Dame over Wichita State

3rd Place: Marquette over LSU

5th Place: Michigan over VCU

7th Place: Chaminade over Cal

– This was the final year of the Maui Invitational as we know it. Next year Chaminade won’t be playing in the Maui Invitational and that will rotate every other year. They got their 8th win in the event as they beat a really bad Cal team in the 7th place game.

– The story of the tournament was Mike Brey, who won over America with his dad at an all inclusive resort look. Plus, after they won the title he looked like this

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– More importantly Brey drew up an absolutely great play to win the title. Notre Dame struggled in the first half against Wichita State, but it was mostly due to missing a bunch of open shots. They struggled to hit from the outside and Wichita kept daring them to shoot. Ultimately in the second half Notre Dame hit a few outside shots and switched up their defense to a zone just giving Wichita a different look. However, the play that will be remembered is the out of bounds play that Brey designed

– For Michigan they finally got what they were expecting out of Charles Matthews – the Kentucky transfer, Yes, Mo Wagner is the bigger name on this team and expected to be good. For Michigan though it’s typically about a wing who can go get his own bucket. That’s what Matthews was doing in the event. He finished the event averaging 20 points and 8 rebounds per game.

– Marquette still needs to be better defensively. As I’ve said numerous times this year Marquette has the ability to beat anyone and lose to anyone simply due to how they shoot the ball. They rely on the 3-point ball so much and can’t defend anyone, so in games where they go 6-for-20 they will lose. Until that changes Marquette will be closer to the bubble than a lock.

– Wichita State has the makeup of a Final Four type team. Landry Shamet looked healthy in the tournament and like one of the best point guards in the country. They can really rebound the ball and the fact they looked this way without Markis McDuffie said a lot.

Battle 4 Atlantis 

Champ: Villanova over Northern Iowa

3rd Place: Tennessee over NC State

5th Place: Western Kentucky over SMU

7th Place: Purdue over Arizona

– So the obvious story here is Arizona going 0-3 after being viewed as a top-3 team in the country. Is this more of a fluke or more of bad tendencies going forward? To me it’s a little bit of both, especially when you look at the second game where Arizona shot 12% from the 3-point line. That’s not going to happen a lot during the season. The main problem though was defensively, which is absolutely concerning going forward. Sean Miller teams are strong defensively and right now this team can’t defend anyone. They saw three different types of teams in this event and all were able to get buckets, which is the concern. SMU spread them out and played them from the outside. Purdue has four guards/wings and a big. NC State beat them with point guard play. This should change when Rawle Alkins comes back, but there’s no guarantee he’s still a great defender after a foot injury.

– Villanova played similar in all three games. They struggled in the first half then absolutely dominated in the second half. This is due to the fact they have essentially six starters with DiVicenzo coming off the bench. They also give a couple different looks defensively, a 1-2-2 3/4 court zone and then the switching man tat Wright likes to run. The difference with this team is Omari Spellman, who gives Nova a different look in the post than what they’ve had in the past. He didn’t play necessarily well in the event, but you can see what he brings to the table. It also doesn’t hurt having the best point guard in the country on your team.

– Purdue struggled because Purdue still has the same problems they’ve had under Painter. When they go up against better athletes they struggle. That’s what happened against Tennessee – a team who is 100% more athletic than Purdue. They were able to play physical, force Vincent Edwards out of his comfort zone and really get on their guards. Yes, Purdue isn’t the same slow it down, play with a bunch of bigs that we’ve seen in the past, but the failure against athletes.

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– Tennessee was the biggest surprise for me – even more so than Western Kentucky winning two games here. Tennessee did do something similar last year when they played Oregon and UNC tough while beating Kentucky. They were perceived as a bubble team before collapsing down the stretch. This team shouldn’t collapse because they have more scoring this year with James Daniel and can still really defend.

Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational: Arizona State over Xavier

– Yeah, this Arizona State team is no joke. They remind me of Wake Forest from last year in the sense that they can just outscore everyone in the country and are coming out of nowhere to be a NCAA Tournament team. The Sun Devils can shoot and when Tra Holder and Shannon Evans get going like they did against Xavier there are very few teams that can stick with them.

– What I do like about this Arizona State team is the balance though. Yes Holder and Evans get going, but Kodi Justice, Romello White and DeQuan Lake can all go get 20. Remy Martin – one of the best names in the country – can go get double digit points too. This is a team full of talent that just got Bobby Hurley his signature win.

Emerald Coast Classic: 

Champ: TCU over St. Bonaventure

3rd Place: Maryland over New Mexico

– St. Bonaventure beating Maryland without Jaylen Adams was one of the more surprising results this year. It’s a great win for the Bonnies and the A-10, but more importantly this is a terrible loss for Maryland. I like the Terps a lot this year, but the nonconference schedule is very weak. They needed to play TCU in this event and the fact they didn’t get that chance and suffered a loss to St. Bonaventure will hurt them come seeding time.

– TCU continues to fly a little under the radar. They are the 3rd or 4th best team in the Big 12 depending what you think of Texas and Jamie Dixon has completely changed the perception of TCU basketball.

Cayman Islands Classic

Champ: Cincinnati over Wyoming

– This event was atrocious. From the feed to the arena to the bracket, it was terrible. Cincinnati did what it was supposed to and won this pretty comfortably, however they didn’t get any quality wins. They needed to play Iowa, but this tournament left a bunch of concerns for Iowa going forward. The Hawkeyes finished 1-2 and 7th place, something that shouldn’t happen with Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook.

– Cincinnati wasn’t necessarily killing teams offensively like they did to start the season, but they shut people down defensively. There are still some questions for point guard play as Cane Broome and Justin Jennifer can get careless with the ball, but there’s plenty of talent with Evans/Cumberland/Washington/Clark who can go get their own.

Progressive Legends 2k Classic

Champ: Texas A&M over Penn State

3rd Place: Oklahoma State over Pitt

– Texas A&M continues to be a pretty dominant team this year. They can run three different bigs at you with Williams/Davis and Torecha-Morales. They still turn the ball over too much, but that will change once JJ Caldwell becomes available for them. The addition of Duane Wilson just adds so much depth to this team. DJ Hogg and Admon Gilder can both shoot the ball.

– Penn State looks like a NCAA Tournament team. They beat the living dogshit out of Pitt and then hung with Texas A&M for all 40 minutes. Tony Carr is a guy that can carry this team during the Big 10 but they finally have some depth to this roster. Lamar Stevens, Josh Reaves, Mike Watkins and Shep Garner all average at least 10 per game as well. This team is what everyone thought Iowa was going to be this year.

Hall of Fame Classic 

Champ: Baylor over Creighton

3rd Place: UCLA over Wisconsin

– Baylor continues to be a team that just wins. This year they don’t have that Johnathan Motley type player who everyone knows, but that 1-1-3 zone that Drew likes to run continues to be successful. What’s been most impressive though has been the development of Jo Lual-Acuil, who has turned into Baylor’s best player. He protects the rim defensively, can actually step out and shoot the ball while also scoring in the paint. The move I really like though is Drew moving Jake Lindsey to the point guard spot and Manu Lecomte off the ball. Lindsey is a better passer and doesn’t need to shoot to impact the game. This lets Manu run off of screens and get his buckets that way.

– Despite the loss Creighton looks like a top-20 win. They have one of the best backcourts in the country with Khyri Thomas, Marcus Foster, Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitchell Ballock. Throw in Greg McDermott being one of the best offensive coaches in the country and you have a team that continues to score at will. They fell apart during the second half of the game against Baylor scoring just 14 points in 18 minutes, but I like this team going forward.

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– This is going to be a long year for Wisconsin. I think they’ll ultimately be a NCAA Tournament team, but this isn’t your typical Wisconsin team. This is a reset year in the sense that they’ll need another year of development and they’ll enter next year as a top-10 team in the preseason. The Badgers can beat almost anyone at home, but will struggle on the road this year. Outside of Ethan Happ they don’t have that consistent second player. Some games it’s Trice, some it’s Pritzil, some it’s Iverson or Davidson, but they need someone else to be more consistent.

– Aaron Holiday did this to beat Wisconsin. He’s going to be one of the best players in the country this year: