Puerto Rico Tip-Off 2013: Top Teams to Watch in This Year's Tournament

Mike MoraitisAnalyst INovember 21, 2013

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 21:  \Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams looks on against the Akron Zips during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 21, 2013 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off begins on Thursday, Nov. 21, and will feature some top-flight teams with plenty of great players to watch.

While lesser-known squads like Charlotte, Kansas State, Northeastern, Long Beach State and Florida State will be on hand, other notable programs, such as Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth and Georgetown, will also be competing in the tournament.

The Rams, Wolverines and Hoyas all have interesting storylines surrounding their respective programs and that's what makes them must-watch teams this weekend.

Let's take a closer look at each squad and find out why you can't miss the games they will be playing.


For a full look at the tournament bracket, visit ESPNEvents.com.

Puerto Rico Tip Off
GameTeamTeamDateTime (ET)TV
1CharlotteKansas St.11/2110:30 a.m.ESPNU
2NortheasternGeorgetown11/2112:30 p.m.ESPNU
3Long Beach St.Michigan11/215 p.m.ESPN2
4Florida St.VCU11/217:30 p.m.ESPNU
SemiWinner 1Winner 211/222:30 p.m.ESPN2/U
SemiWinner 3Winner 411/225 p.m.ESPN2/U
FinalWinner SemiWinner Semi11/246:30 p.m.ESPN2


No. 14 Michigan Wolverines (2-1)

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 04: Mitch McGary #4 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts on the sidelines to a big play during the first half of the game against the Wayne State Warriors at Crisler Center on November 4, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan defeate
Leon Halip/Getty Images

As last season's runner-up in the NCAA Tournament, Michigan was within a game of winning a national title is one of the more notable teams taking part in this year's Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Led by sophomore forward Mitch McGary (9.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG), the Wolverines have plenty of talent to go around on their roster with sharp-shooting guards Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert (both shooting over 50 percent from three-point range), as well as all-around stud Glenn Robinson III (13.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 3.3 SPG).

Michigan lost star point guard Trey Burke and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA draft over the summer. It'll be interesting to see how the Wolverines adjust without two of their best players from a season ago and if this team can be close to as successful as it was in 2012-13. Even with those two key losses, the Wolverines remain one of the favorites to win this tourney.


No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth Rams (3-0)

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 21:  Treveon Graham #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams greets teammates on the bench against the Akron Zips during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 21, 2013
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A perfect start to the season, including a win over a ranked team in Virginia, has helped the Rams gain a ton of momentum.

VCU has become known in recent years for its deep runs into the NCAA tournament and the program has become a household name as a result. Head coach Shaka Smart is one of the brightest stars in the college coaching ranks, and has the resume to prove it.

Among the Rams' best players are junior guard Treveon Graham, who leads the team in both scoring (16.3 PPG) and rebounds (6.3 RPG) while guard Briante Weber (9.7 PPG, 3.7 APG and 4.7 APG) completes a deadly combination in the backcourt that is rivaled by few in the nation.

VCU may have flown under the radar in the past as a lesser-known squad, but the Rams are now front and center as one of the top programs in the country. Another successful season looks inevitable for this squad in 2013-14.


Georgetown Hoyas (1-1)

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14:  Markel Starks #5 of the Georgetown Hoyas reacts in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the quaterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2013 in New York City.  (
Elsa/Getty Images

The Hoyas have gone from an NCAA tournament favorite a year ago to an unranked squad to start this season. What else would you expect from a team that lost its top player—Otto Porter Jr.—to the NBA draft?

Georgetown fell in the first round of last season's NCAA tournament to Florida Gulf Coast, which happened to be the biggest Cinderella story of the entire tourney.

In place of Porter Jr. this season, Markel Starks has emerged as the team's best scorer and all-around player. Starks leads the Hoyas in scoring (19.5 PPG) and assists (5.0 APG) while being tied for the team lead in steals (2.0 SPG). Besides Starks, the Hoyas have other scoring studs in Joshua Smith (15.5 PPG) and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (15 PPG).

Even though Georgetown lost a star and had a nightmare finish to last season, don't sleep on this squad in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, nor for the rest of the season for that matter.