One tournament concludes (Paradise Jam) while other either move on to the next stage (CBE Classic in Kansas City) or tip off (Maui Invitational). The game of the day on paper is Purdue taking on Tennessee in a matchup of contrasting styles in the Paradise Jam final. The Boilermakers will look to do things out of the halfcourt while the Volunteers want to speed things up with their full-court pressure. Bruce Pearl and Matt Painter are two of the better coaches in the game and the matchup between Tyler Smith and Robbie Hummel should be a treat. If the game is in the sixties give the edge to Purdue while a higher-scoring affair bodes well for the Volunteers.
As for the first round in Maui the best game tips right around dinner time for East Coast viewers with Cincinnati taking on Vanderbilt. The Bearcats are deep and talented with Yancy Gates and Deonta Vaughn leading the way. Lance Stephenson has gotten a lot of hype and rightfully so, but you can argue that the return of Cashmere Wright (knee injury sat him for all of 08-09) is more important since it takes some of the ball-handling pressure off of Vaughn. The Commodores return five starters, including guard Jermaine Beal and A.J. Ogilvy, but keep an eye on swingman Jeffrey Taylor. Through two games his scoring average is up seven points from last season (12.2 to 19.5).
Colorado vs. Gonzaga (Maui) - 3PM - ESPN2
Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt (Maui) - 5:30PM - ESPN2
DePaul vs. Saint Joseph's (Paradise Jam) - 6PM - FSN
Wichita State vs. Pittsburgh (CBE Classic) - 7:30PM - ESPN2
#11 Tennessee vs. #7 Purdue (Paradise Jam) - 8:30PM - FSN
Maryland vs. Chaminade (Maui) - 9:30 PM - ESPNU
#3 Texas vs. Iowa (CBE Classic) - 10PM - ESPN2
Arizona vs. Wisconsin (Maui) - Midnight - ESPN2
Northern Iowa vs. Boston College (Paradise Jam) - 3:30PM
Appalachian State @ #22 Louisville - 7PM
Virginia Tech @ Campbell - 7PM
Gardner-Webb @ #4 North Carolina - 7:30PM
Winthrop @ #23 Clemson - 7:30PM
Montana @ Oregon - 10:05PM
Pepperdine @ UCLA - 11PM
Cincinnati over Vanderbilt: In what should be the best game of the first day of the Maui Invitational the pick here is Cincinnati due to the fact that with Yancy Gates and Steve Toyloy they can physically match up with A.J. Ogilvy inside. And there's also the Cashmere Wright portion of the equation; his return has allowed Deonta Vaughn and others to move back into more comfortable roles. Both should be NCAA Tournament teams, making this a good test for both that may pay dividends in March.
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