Shocking College Basketball Upsets That Could Happen in the Preseason Tournament

Hayden DeitrickFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08:  Milton Jennings #24 of the Clemson Tigers during their first round game of 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Preseason college basketball tournaments are like a miniature version of March Madness. 

They give fans the opportunity to see top teams compete early on in the season.

What makes these tournaments exciting is the chance Cinderella squads can take down giants.

That is what college basketball is all about, and that is why it is exciting to watch.

Here are three possible upsets that would shock the college basketball world but are certainly not impossible.


Butler Over North Carolina

Assuming Butler and North Carolina will meet in the Maui Invitational is a hard assumption to make given the talented teams they’d both have to beat to face one another. 

If they did meet, though, do not be surprised to see Butler play UNC to the wire.

Sure, Butler was just throttled by Xavier, a team nowhere near as talented as UNC. This Bulldog team is a volatile mix of players that are still learning to play together. With Brad Stevens at the helm, most would be surprised if Butler does not solve their problems soon.

Butler brings a very rounded team to the table this season. While they had to rely on three-point shooting last year, this season, they have talented big men Andrew Smith and Kameron Woods.  These two big men have the ability to contain the UNC front-court.


UNC has allowed 15 three-pointers in their first two games. This is appearing to be a potential weakness for the Tar Heels. 

If any team can exploit that weakness, it is Butler. Rotnei Clark and Kellen Dunham are both excellent marksmen from beyond the arc.

If Butler can catch fire and bring it all together, they could down the Tar Heels.


Clemson Over Gonzaga

Gonzaga looked amazing in their tip-off win over West Virginia.  The 'Zags did it all: scored in bunches, defended well and won rebound battle.

Clemson will meet Gonzaga in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.

The Tigers could slow down Gonzaga’s early-season momentum with a win.

Clemson’s greatest strength is their tenacity at the defensive end of the floor. 

Last season, the Tigers finished second in the ACC in defense by only allowing 60.6 points per game. This defensive prowess came against such powerhouses as Duke, UNC, NC State and FSU.

Gonzaga can be prone to shoot first and ask questions later. Last season, they struggled against St. Mary’s who understood that if they could pressure Gonzaga’s many shooters, they could cause more misses and more opportunities to get out on the break.


If Clemson can lock down the perimeter and win the battle on the boards, they have a very real shot at downing the surging Bulldogs.


BYU Over Florida State

Florida State is heavily favored to win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

If one team can take them down, it is BYU.

Florida State have a very inexperienced front court that could be exploited by BYU’s Brandon Davies.

Davies, a 6’9” senior, scores in bunches and is always a threat to dunk when he gets the ball down low. 

Brandon Davies has the power and technical skills to wreak havoc on the Seminoles.

Furthermore, be on the lookout for Tyler Haws. Haws returned from his LDS mission this season, and he has already put up 22 points against Georgia State.

With a talented squad that can play physically in the post, BYU has a very real shot at downing the Seminoles.