Although the Paradise Jam does not have as good of a reputation as some of the other preseason men's college basketball tournaments around the country, there are a number of quality teams looking to put themselves on the map at this event.
That was what happened a year ago in the tournament when the U.S. Virgin Islands hosted eight teams, including New Mexico, which went on to win it all. By the end of the season, the Lobos had won 29 games as Mountain West champions and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Who will win the Paradise Jam?
Eight teams at this year's Paradise Jam are looking for a similar showing this season, as they start out with relatively low expectations.
Here is a look at everything you need to know about the Paradise Jam.
When: Nov. 22-29
Where: Sports and Fitness Center, University of The Virgin Islands, St. Thomas
TV: CBS Sports Network
Live Stream: Paradise Jam Live
|1||Nov. 22||Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Marymount||1:30 p.m.||Live Stream|
|2||Nov. 22||Marist vs. Maryland||4 p.m.||TV|
|3||Nov. 22||Providence vs. Vanderbilt||6:30 p.m.||Live Stream|
|4||Nov. 22||Morgan St. vs. La Salle||9 p.m.||Live Stream|
|5||Nov. 23||Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2||2:30 p.m.||Live Stream|
|6||Nov. 23||Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4||5 p.m.||Live Stream|
|7||Nov. 24||Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2||7 p.m.||TV|
|8||Nov. 24||Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4||9:30 p.m.||TV|
|9||Nov. 25||Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6||2:30 p.m.||Live Stream|
|10||Nov. 25||Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6||5 p.m.||Live Stream|
|11||Nov. 25||Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8||7:30 p.m.||TV|
|12||Nov. 25||Championship Game||10 p.m.||TV|
Top Teams to Watch
After starting the season 4-0, it is clear that Providence is looking for its first NCAA appearance since 2004.
Bryce Cotton might not be a household name, but he is one of the best scorers in the country. He led the Big East in points per game last season and is averaging 20 points per contest this season. He has also been distributing the ball just as well with an average of seven assists.
Adding forwards LaDontae Henton and Kadeem Batts provides balance inside along with the ability to rebound with the best teams in the country.
Providence has shown that it can win close games after a four-point win over Brown and an overtime win against Boston College. Those kinds of narrow victories will help the Friars pull out games in this tournament and all season long.
Despite a 1-2 start, there is a lot of talent on the roster for the Terrapins.
Dez Wells is Maryland's emotional leader and the player the team looks toward when it needs a basket, but there is still plenty of balance. At least four players have scored in double figures in every game this season.
Between Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz hitting outside shots, this offense is very tough to guard.
The big question is, who will step up to replace injured point guard Seth Allen? Without Allen, the Terps lack an identity on offense, as well as someone to stop quicker opponents on defense.
Whether Wells continues to run the point or freshman Roddy Peters takes over, someone has to step up for this unit.
Considering that Eric McClellan scored 29 points in an overtime loss to Butler and still shot poorly, you can imagine how good the Commodores can be once the sophomore starts actually hitting his shots.
For now, Rod Odom will take over the slack as the outside shooter after hitting 12-of-21 to start the season. At 6'9" and with good athleticism, the forward is a mismatch for almost anyone who tries to guard him.
Of course, the question with Vanderbilt—as always—is whether or not it can win away from home. The Commodores always have a big advantage playing in Memorial Gymnasium, but they often struggle when leaving Nashville.
With a matchup against Providence coming in the first round of the Paradise Jam, Vanderbilt will have to be mentally ready to compete right away.
After reaching the Sweet 16 last season, La Salle entered this year with high expectations. Unfortunately, the squad has struggled to replace Ramon Galloway and is at 2-2.
Still, La Salle has one of the quickest backcourts in the country with guards Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland. The two seniors know what it takes to win at this level and will use their leadership to win games.
Additionally, junior forward Jerrell Wright has notched a double-double in three straight games and will look to keep it up in the Virgin Islands.
La Salle's losses to Manhattan and Penn State are concerning, but the Explorers can play with any team in this tournament.
Predicted Winner: Providence
The new Big East is wide open this season and Providence has the ability to surprise some people with a great showing.
Not only will Cotton turn heads all year long, but fellow guard Kris Dunn is now healthy after dealing with a shoulder injury. The backcourt duo know how to make plays and will be able to lead a high-scoring offense.
Maryland should be able to advance through an easy top-half of the bracket, but the Friars' quickness will simply be too much to handle.
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