Faculty basketball analyst and author
Faculty basketball broadcaster and reporter
With the World Cup underway, the faculty soccer common season nearing its climax, and the NFL in full swing, this week is a cornucopia of sports activities goodness.
However that is not all: Faculty basketball additionally encompasses a fest of courtside enjoyable, with a number of vacation tournaments that includes a few of the finest applications within the nation.
With a lot to think about, it is laborious to maintain monitor of every part. So to assist, we have put collectively a Thanksgiving week hoop-watching information.
Days: from Monday to Wednesday
Gear: Texas Tech, Creighton, Louisville, Arkansas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Cincinnati, Arizona
Katz: There are a variety of tales to observe, significantly from potential convention champions Creighton (Huge East), San Diego State (Mountain West), Arkansas (SEC) and Arizona (Pac-12).
The Bluejays can rating at will, and that is their likelihood to show they’re worthy of their standing as Huge East preseason favorites. The Aztecs can defend as standard, however this staff can rating in various methods. This will probably be an actual alternative to point out the nation that they’re worthy of being within the high 15.
Arkansas hasn’t been at full energy, however it nonetheless has the products to win this occasion and construct momentum for the SEC. Arizona’s Kerr Kriisa is off to a sensational begin. He’ll develop into a family identify. Texas Tech isn’t fully wholesome as Fardaws Aimaq stays out so a Maui title can be an enormous win. Ohio State is among the most intriguing groups on the sphere. Justice Sueing is in good well being, whereas Brice Sensabaugh turns heads within the Huge Ten along with his manufacturing. Keep tuned.
ghost: To begin with, the Maui Invitational is again on Maui! For the primary time since 2019, this occasion returns to the island after being prevented by COVID-19 for the previous two years. That is the primary spotlight of Thanksgiving Week, and I am excited to see a top-10 conflict between Creighton and Arkansas within the semifinals. I will be curious to see a Bluejays offense with 4 scorers in double figures meet a Razorbacks protection that ranks third within the KenPom effectivity class.
On the opposite facet of the pack, the thought of San Diego State taking up Arizona is sort of interesting. The duo of Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo within the Wildcats’ frontcourt have been a pressure to be reckoned with, combining for 37 factors and 17 rebounds per recreation. I might be very curious to see how San Diego State senior heart Nathan Mensah struggles with them and see how TCU switch Jaedon LeDee (16.0 PPG) impacts the sport.
The duel of my desires: Creighton vs. Arizona
It will be quite a lot of enjoyable to see reigning Huge East Defensive Participant of the Yr Ryan Kalkbrenner tackle the Wildcats’ entrance line.
Days: Wednesday Thursday
Gear: Fresno State, Washington, Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt
ghost: That is the Saint Mary’s event to lose. And whereas now we have a second, let’s have some respect for the Randy Bennett identify. He’s outshone by Mark Few within the WCC, however the Gaels chief has been a constant winner. Throw out the COVID yr of 2020-21, and Bennett has gone 167-45 over the previous seven seasons.
The Gaels will draw Jerry Stackhouse’s Vanderbilt staff on Wednesday evening, a staff that’s 2-2 with losses to Memphis and Southern Miss. Can Vanderbilt succeed towards the Gaels’ defence? Vanderbilt ahead Myles Stute, who has shot 12-of-25 from downtown thus far this season, will probably be an vital piece in constructing offense. As for the Gaels, they’ve a great offensive stability with 4 in double figures. The trio shaped by Alex Ducas, Mitchell Saxen and Logan Johnson has taken a collective leap. Washington and Fresno State are on the opposite facet of the pack. Mike Hopkins actually wants a win in that recreation, however make no mistake about it: Saint Mary’s ought to win this multi-team occasion.
Katz: Saint Mary’s is the occasion class with Washington, Fresno State and Vanderbilt. It is not shut now. The Gaels are the great guys and I count on Saint Mary’s to win this occasion with ease.
Battle 4 Atlantis
Days: wednesday to friday
Gear: Kansas, North Carolina State, Dayton, Wisconsin, USC, BYU, Tennessee, Butler
Katz: The Dayton-Wisconsin first-round matchup might be one of the best of the occasion. USC and Tennessee even have the expertise to win. The Vols must be one of the best within the group, however the loss to Colorado in Nashville was a little bit of a shock after the Vols beat Gonzaga in an exhibition in late October. The 2 groups taking part in for the title will get some much-needed momentum heading into one other busy collection of video games to shut out November and early December.
ghost: I am fascinated by seeing Dayton tackle Kansas within the first spherical recreation on Wednesday afternoon. For my part, these are two groups that ought to discover their technique to the NCAA Match. The Flyers had been listed because the favorites of the Atlantic 10, however they stumbled final week with UNLV. I am intrigued to see Dayton’s main scorer, Daron Holmes II, meet Wisconsin star Tyler Wahl. The 6-foot-9 senior is averaging 14.7 factors and eight.0 rebounds per recreation, carrying the Badgers. The most important key for Wisconsin is Chucky Hepburn’s continued progress as a second-year chief on the perimeter. Make no mistake about it: The Badgers rely on how they defend, but when Hepburn can proceed to drive the bus between guards, Wisconsin may shock individuals. It is laborious to attain on this staff, although, and I will be curious to see if Kobe Elvis and Malachi Smith can discover methods to provide offense.
Remaining on that facet of the bracket, 4-0 NC State faces Kansas on Wednesday. Whereas the Jayhawks will clearly be the favorites, alternative strikes Kevin Keatts’ crew. Wolfpack sophomore guard Terquavion Smith is the participant to observe for NC State, averaging 19 factors per recreation.
The matchup of my desires: Kansas and Tennessee within the title recreation.
Phil Knight Invitation
Days: Thursday Sunday
Gear: North Carolina, Portland, Iowa State, Villanova, UConn, Oregon, Alabama, Michigan State
ghost: What a technique to have a good time Phil Knight’s eighty fifth birthday! The spotlight of the early video games of this event is No. 12 Michigan State persevering with its hardest non-conference schedule of the Tom Izzo period when the Spartans tackle No. 18 Alabama on Motion Day at Thanks. I will be very intrigued to see how Crimson Tide star freshman Brandon Miller impacts this recreation. The five-star recruit entered the Nate Oats program and averaged over 20 factors per recreation. How will he fare towards the Spartans’ entrance line of Mady Sissoko, Joey Hauser and Malik Corridor? Miller is perhaps one of the best rookie within the SEC, which is actually saying one thing when you think about what Kentucky, Arkansas and others have. He is a participant to observe in school basketball, and I am wanting ahead to seeing him tackle Izzo’s protection.
The opposite dimension of the Spartans and Tide assembly is Ohio switch Mark Sears taking up the new AJ Hoggard. Can the Spartans sustain their current sizzling streak?
I am additionally wanting ahead to seeing North Carolina and UConn get examined for the primary time this season. Are the Tar Heels in reality one of the best staff within the nation? Are High-20 Huskies any good? We discovered this week.
Katz: Michigan State-Alabama is one of the best recreation of the opening day. This must be a slugfest and the winner has a reputable shot at profitable the occasion. North Carolina must be within the finals taking part in the Spartans or Bama, until UConn can upset the group.
Phil Knight’s Legacy
Days: Thursday Sunday
Gear: Duke, Oregon State, Florida, Xavier, Purdue, West Virginia, Portland State, Gonzaga
Katz: I really like the greats on this group with Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Colin Castleton (Florida), Zach Edey (Purdue) and Dereck Vigorous (Duke). This would be the higher of the 2 helps and is vast open. Surviving these three video games will probably be an amazing run for anybody who can win this occasion.
ghost: Xavier and Florida on Thanksgiving? That feels like quite a lot of enjoyable. They’re two first-year head coaches of their respective applications within the Gators’ Todd Golden and the Musketeers’ Sean Miller. That is going to be an amazing battle up entrance between the Gators’ Castleton, who’s averaging over 25 factors per recreation, and the Musketeers’ duo of Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle. That is additionally the type of matchup during which Golden can present why he signed St. Bonaventure switch Kyle Lofton, who was one of many massive additions of the offseason. How will UTEP switch the Souley Boum price to the opposite facet for Xavier? It is a main resume early recreation for each reveals, and I see Xavier’s Colby Jones taking part in an enormous position in how this recreation performs out.
I will even be intrigued to see Purdue tackle West Virginia after they face off towards two of one of the best coaches within the nation, Matt Painter and Bob Huggins. This will probably be a check for the Boilers’ new backcourt with the Mountaineers making use of stress with Joe Toussaint and Erik Stevenson. With that being stated, how does Huggy Bear plan to defend the one and solely Edey? I will be intrigued to see the way it performs out!
ESPN Occasion Invitation
Days: Thursday Sunday
Gear: Florida State, Sienna, Ole Miss, Stanford, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Memphis, Seton Corridor
ghost: hardaway. Holloway. That feels like a heavyweight boxing match. It is just a little unusual that the highest two groups on this occasion meet within the first spherical in Orlando on Thursday evening, however we’ll have an amazing matchup for Thanksgiving dessert when the Pirates and Tigers meet at 7: 30 p.m. ET. How does Seton Corridor’s high-pressure protection fare towards SMU switch Kendric Davis, who leads the Tigers with 20 factors per recreation? I count on a really bodily battle between these two groups, a recreation the place San Pedro switch KC Ndefo could be anticipated to make an impression. The massive key for Seton Corridor is the guard recreation. Can Al-Amir Dawes construct on a 19-point efficiency towards Wagner on Sunday?
The opposite story? Hey miss. Regulate the 4-0 Rebels and take a look at junior guard Matthew Murrell, who’s averaging 18 factors per recreation. I like that Kermit Davis’s staff beats Stanford, then Florida State to advance to the finals on Sunday.
Katz: Nobody has walked out the burning door among the many eight faculties. The state of Florida wants one thing optimistic. Additionally Memphis. Ole Miss is an unknown. Stanford cannot discover consistency. My two decisions to face out can be Seton Corridor and Oklahoma.
Andy Katz is a longtime school basketball author, analyst and broadcaster. He could be seen on the Huge Ten Community, in addition to March Insanity and NCAA.com, and hosts the “March Insanity 365” podcast. Katz labored at ESPN for almost 20 years and, earlier than that, at newspapers for 9 years.
John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from saying video games on FS1 to serving as a predominant anchor on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Subject of 68 Media Community. Comply with him on Twitter @Juan_Fanta.
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