In-season tournaments can be tricky to analyze when the dust settles. Sometimes the winning team can build on the experience and move on to bigger and better things, with last year's Connecticut team (Maui Invitational champs) being a prime example. Others, like Minnesota (last year's Puerto Rico Tip-Off champs) can temporarily hide flaws that get exposed later in the season. Essentially these early season results should be taken with a grain of salt, because while we see flashes of teams in reality it's a small sample size.
Thursday's schedule is highlighted by three in-season tournaments, with action in Charleston, New York City and San Juan. The 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer semifinals will be played at Madison Square Garden with Texas A&M playing Mississippi State in the opener and St. John's and Arizona doing battle in the nightcap. The second game jumps out not only because of the fact that it will be a home game for the Red Storm but also due to the roles that newcomers play on both teams.
After wins over Belmont and Presbyterian moved Mike Krzyzewski into a tie with Bob Knight for the most wins in college basketball history, many at Madison Square Garden were hoping that the Duke head coach would become the record-holder with a win over Michigan State on Tuesday night. But while some went as far as to almost assume the game to be a coronation of sorts, Tom Izzo's Spartans refused to back down.
As part of our 5-Year Ranking series, here's how the SEC teams stack up according to conference wins. Unlike most leagues, there hasn't been one dominant team over the last handful of years. Florida and Kentucky have had some great years, but also some very mediocre ones mixed in. At the bottom of the league, LSU and South Carolina are close to forming a bottom rung of their own.
Friday marks the first big day of the college basketball season with more than 100 games on the schedule. Sure most of the games look to be of the "opening sacrifice" variety, but a closer look reveals some intriguing matchups. It only makes sense to begin with the game that needs little introduction, the Carrier Classic game matching preseason national title favorite North Carolina and Michigan State. The game will be played on the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, which will likely cue a few "I'm on a boat" jokes.
While much of the college sports world was captivated by the goings on in State College, PA, four college basketball games were being played. And one of the four teams expected to win fell at the hands of the defending MAC Tournament champs, but in hindsight it wasn't much of an "upset". Behind 19 points from Quincy Diggs the Zips beat Mississippi State 68-58 at The Hump. Simply put, Keith Dambrot's team outworked and outplayed the Bulldogs, who weren't as effective as they were on Monday night and it cost them.
Tonight brings the second day of college basketball games that count with the four host teams in the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer on the floor. Arizona, Mississippi State and St. John's all played games on Monday night, and tonight marks the beginning of the season for the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies are expected by many to contend in the Big 12, but things haven't gone as smoothly as anyone connected to the program would have hoped.
The college basketball season finally got underway on Monday night with three games featuring squads that will be in New York next week for the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer. All three favorites, Arizona, Mississippi State and St. John's, won but predictably there were signs of rust. That comes with the territory, but what are some of the things that can be learned from these games? Here are a few basic observations for each of the six teams in action.