A Quick Look At NCAA Preseason Tournaments

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 12, 2008

Yeah, I know, there are so many of these preseason tournaments now, it's very difficult to keep track of who is playing who, and when and where the games are.

Look no further! As (per request) we put together a quick preview of all tournaments of note, any intriguing potential match-ups, and anything else we think you need to know.


Who: UCLA, Duke, Michigan, and Southern Illinois serve as regional hosts for the first two rounds of this 16-team tournament. The bracket can be found here.

When: The regional rounds will take place from Nov. 10-13, with the finals taking place at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20-21.

What to Watch for: The potential Duke-UCLA match-up in the finals would be a dandy to watch, but the best game may happen in Carbondale, IL where UMass could end up playing Southern Illinois in the regional final.

That game would pit two good teams playing very different styles - UMass first-year coach and John Calipari disciple Derek Kellogg runs the same, fast-paced offense as Cal's Memphis clubs, while the Saluki's will play their trademark brand of smash-mouth, defensive basketball.

BIAH's Prediction: The Blue Devils knock off UCLA in the finals as the Bruins' freshmen wilt under the national spotlight. 


Who: Top to bottom, the Anaheim Classic might be the most balanced preseason tournament—every team has a reason to believe they can win a game or two. St. Mary's takes on UTEP, Wake Forest plays CS-Fullerton, Arizona State faces Charlotte, and Providence matches up with Baylor.

When: First round games are on Nov. 27, second round takes place on the 28th, and the finals/consolation games are on the 30th (exact schedule here).

What to Watch for: There are quite a few very talented players taking the court in Anaheim that not a lot of people have seen play—Patty Mills of St. Mary's, Stefon Jackson of UTEP, James Harden of Arizona State, and Josh Akognon of CSF.

It would also be interesting to see a guard-oriented, fast-paced team in Baylor take on Arizona State (Princeton offense, zone defense) and Wake Forest (big man-oriented). Oh yeah, and Charlie Coley plays for Charlotte.

BIAH's Prediction: Patty Mills averages 25 ppg and St. Mary's knocks off Wake Forest and Arizona State en route to the title.


Who: Florida, Syracuse, Kansas, and Washington all host "regionals."

When: The regionals take place between Nov. 14-Nov. 20, with the "sub-regionals" taking place Nov. 24-26, and the championship rounds in Kansas City on Nov. 24 and 25. The full schedule is here.

What to Watch for: The CBE Classic is one of the tournaments the Gazelle Group is hosting that has the regional hosts automatically qualify for the finals round. Other than that, what is the most intriguing thing about this tournament? All four hosts have something to prove this year.

Washington has struggled of late, but has its most talented team since Brandon Roy left. Florida and Kansas are teams trying to prove themselves after combining for the last three national titles and subsequently losing everyone to the NBA. Syracuse hasn't reached an NCAA tournament since Gerry McNamara's miracle run in 2006. All four teams will be looking to make an early statement.

BIAH's Prediction: Syracuse knocks off Florida and Kansas to bring home the title.


Who: Alaska-Anchorage, Portland State, Northern Illinois, San Diego State, Louisiana Tech, Hampton, Western Carolina, Seattle.

When: Nov. 26-29.

What to Watch for: While there are no major conference teams in this tournament, there are still a few really good teams. Portland State is coming off of an NCAA tournament trip, and San Diego State is a perennial contender in the Mountain West.

BIAH's Prediction: San Diego State wins it. They just have too much talent.


Who: The LVI amounts to essentially two four-team tournaments: Longwood vs. Southeast Missouri State and Oakland vs. Delaware State; Iowa vs. West Virginia and Kentucky vs. Kansas State.

When: Nov. 28 and 29. The full schedule can be found here.

What to Watch for: The potential West Virginia-Kentucky match-up in the finals would be fun to watch. Both Billy Gillespie and Bob Huggins run aggressive, pressuring defenses and preach toughness to their teams, meaning that this is the kind of game that could end up with more fouls than field goals.

The two squads also have some must-see freshman in the Mountaineers' Devin Ebanks and Big Blue's DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller.

BIAH's Prediction: Huggy Bear's Mountaineers take down Gillispie's Wildcats in the battle of the DUI's.


Who: Mississippi State, Washington State, Pitt, and Texas Tech all host "regionals."

When: The regional games take place between Nov. 18 and Nov. 22, the sub-regionals are from Nov. 25-30. The championship round will be hosted in Newark, NJ on Nov. 28 and 29. The full schedule can be found here.

What to Watch for: The Legends Classic is the second Gazelle Group tournament that has the regional hosts automatically advancing to the finals. Pitt is the defending Big East champs and a legitimate Final Four threat. This tournament is really the only test the Panthers will have before conference play starts.

You might also want to watch Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado, who is pound-for-pound the best shot blocker in the country (mainly because the 6'9" center weighs right around 200 lb).

BIAH's Prediction: Pitt rolls right through the Prudential Center, winning both games handily.


Who: First round games: St. Joseph's vs. Texas; Indiana vs. Notre Dame; North Carolina vs. Chaminade; Oregon vs. Alabama.

When: Nov. 24-26, full schedule here.

What to Watch for: As usual, the Maui Invitational hosts a deep field, this year showcasing three top-10 teams. The best first round match-up is between Oregon and Alabama.

The Crimson Tide have a lot of talent, especially with the addition of JaMychal Green and PG Ronald Steele healthy. But Oregon, and more importantly , coach Ernie Kent, have a lot to prove after a string of mediocre seasons.

The potential second round game between Texas and Notre Dame would be fun to watch, with Kyle McAlarney and AJ Abrams matching up on the perimeter and Damion James trading blows with Luke Harangody on the boards. If UNC and Notre Dame do end up playing in the finals, it could mean we get to watch Tyler Hansbrough battle Luke Harangody.

BIAH's Prediction: Hansbrough and Guinyard both miss the Maui Invitational, but UNC still reaches the finals where they take their only loss on the year to the Irish.


Who: Boston College, Purdue, Oklahoma, and Arizona all host regionals, with Davidson, UAB, St. John's, Cornell, Georgia, and Mississippi Valley State the other notable teams participating.

When: The regionals happen on Nov. 17 and 18, with the championship rounds on Nov. 26 and 28 at MSG. Full bracket here.

What to Watch for: Unlike the other 16-team tournaments, there is a very real chance that one or more of the hosts does not make it out of their region.

Oklahoma will have the toughest path, as it draws the Delta Devils, coming off of an NCAA tournament season, in the first round and a potential match up with Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats in the regional finals.

Boston College will get the winner of St. John's and Cornell, the defending Ivy champ that returns its entire team. Arizona has a potential date with UAB, and Purdue could end up facing Georgia before they reach NYC.

What do I want see? Stephen Curry on the same court as Blake Griffin, Louis Dale of Cornell matching up with Tyrese Rice of BC, a shootout between Chase Budinger and Robert Vaden, and a final of Purdue and Oklahoma.

BIAH's Prediction: Cornell knocks off St. John's before losing to BC, UAB makes a run to MSG, and Purdue beats Oklahoma in the final.


Who: The first round games are Siena vs. Tennessee, Wichita State vs. Georgetown, Maryland vs. Michigan State, and Oklahoma State vs. Gonzaga.

When: First round games are Nov. 27, second round games are the 28th, and the finals are on the 30th. Full schedule found here.

What to Watch for: The Siena-Tennessee game should be one of the most entertaining games of all the preseason tournaments. Siena knocked off Vanderbilt and Stanford last year, returns three very good guards and should give a young Volunteers' team a real battle.

Gonzaga also got a tough first round draw with a much improved OK State team. One interesting story line to note—Georgetown and Maryland, whose campuses are about 10 miles apart, have played just once since 1980. It will take some luck, but there is a chance that the Hoyas and the Terps square off for the first time since 1993.

BIAH's Prediction: Gonzaga beats Siena in the finals.


Who: First round games are Xavier vs. Missouri, Virginia Tech vs. Fairfield, Chattanooga vs. Memphis, and USC vs. Seton Hall.

When: Games take place Nov. 20th, 21st, and 23rd. Bracketshere.

What to Watch For: If Memphis and USC can both win their first round games, then arguably the two best freshman in the country in the Tigers' Tyreke Evans and the Trojans' Demar Derozan will square off against each other.

A potential Virginia Tech-Xavier second round game would also be intriguing, as both squads return four starters and have a good combination of young talent and veteran leadership.

BIAH's Prediction: USC takes down Memphis and Xavier to win the title.


Who: First round games: Southern Miss vs. Miami, UConn vs. La Salle, San Diego vs. Valparaiso, and Iona vs. Wisconsin.

When: Nov. 21-24. Full bracket here.

What to Watch for: It would be fun to see Miami play UConn in the second round, as the Hurricanes should be pretty good. Jerome Dyson is one of the better perimeter defenders in the Big East, although he is much better on the ball then he is chasing defenders around screens, so it would be interesting to see what Jack McClinton can do against the Huskies.

Another intriguing possibility would be if UConn and Wisconsin butted heads in the finals. Jim Calhoun and Bo Ryan are polar opposites when it comes to coaching philosophies, so a date in the finals would pit the slow-paced, deliberate Badgers against the running, fast-paced Huskies. And it still hurts to mention, but there is a possibility of a rematch of this.

BIAH's Prediction: Call me a homer, but I think UConn takes down Wisconsin to win it.