Sunday was the big day in several early season tournaments, so they lead the way once again. This time, though, three of them crowned champions.
We start with the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which was an old Big East matchup. West Virginia made a strong start stand up, leading by 15 points at the half en route to a 78-68 win behind 21 points from tournament MVP Juwan Staten. Connecticut suspended four players before the game for a violation of team rules, two of whom are walk-ons and only one of whom has seen the court for the Huskies this season.
Next up was the Charleston Classic, with Miami looking to close out a big week and Charlotte looking to win an in-season tournament for the third straight year. Miami broke it open late in the first half and had five players score in double figures as they took home the title with a convincing 77-58 win. The Hurricanes, who beat Florida to start the week, won the tournament in 2009 as well.
The Hall of Fame Tip-Off actually had pre-set matchups in one bracket on Sunday, as two ACC teams were in it, but one team did end up going 2-0. Providence got a career-high 38 points from LaDontae Henton and held on to beat Notre Dame 75-74 in a thriller. Notre Dame had five players score in double figures. That came after UMass beat Florida State 75-69. In the Springfield bracket later, Navy edged Binghamton 70-68 and Northeastern shot 66.7 percent in the first half against Manhattan and never looked back in a 65-51 win to take home the title. More coverage from this will be coming soon.
The Paradise Jam had its semifinals as well. Seton Hall beat Gardner-Webb 85-67, then Illinois State took care of Old Dominion 64-45 to advance to the championship game on Monday night.
Florida State is riddled with injuries, but the Seminoles appear to have avoided taking a bigger hit there. The Seminoles were already without starting point guard Devon Bookert on Sunday, as head coach Leonard Hamilton said he had a reaction to the screw that was put in his injured foot. Late in the first half of the game, backup guard Robbie Berwick took an inadvertent elbow to the nose and broke it. He played the rest of the game with a mask. Most concerning of all was that guard Aaron Thomas was taken to a hospital at halftime. Hamilton said Thomas expressed some dizziness, and fortunately tests turned up nothing serious, leading to the belief that dehydration was what happened.
Florida could be without a couple of starters when they head to the Bahamas to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis next week. Starting guard Eli Carter is questionable with a sprained foot, with some concern that he could have a Lisfranc injury. Starting forward Dorian Finney-Smith is also questionable with hairline fractures in the middle and index fingers on his left hand. He has missed the past two games with the injury, and it’s not known if he’ll be able to go yet.
Some sad news hit the world of basketball on Sunday, though it happened the night before. Bob Gottlieb, the son of CBS analyst Doug and Oregon State assistant Gregg, passed away on Saturday night following a long battle with melanoma. Doug Gottlieb posted the news on his Facebook page. The elder Gottlieb was born in New York City and coached in basketball for many years, touching the lives of so many within the college game. We extend our condolences to the Gottlieb family.
On a happy note, Yale forward Matt Townsend was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. The senior is planning to do his M.Sc in Medical Anthropology after he finishes up this year.
Tournament action continues to lead the way as we approach Thanksgiving.
- One tournament has its championship game, and that is the Paradise Jam. Seton Hall will take on Illinois State in that one.
- The Maui Invitational starts today, opening with Purdue taking on Kansas State, then Missouri takes on Arizona, Pittsburgh takes on the host Chaminade, and an old Mountain West matchup closes out the day with BYU taking on San Diego State.
- The Legends Classic semifinals at the Barclays Center will see Villanova take on VCU and Oregon battle Michigan.
- The CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City has its semifinals, with Arizona State taking on Maryland followed by Iowa State taking on Alabama.
- The MGM Grand Main Event features Oregon State battling Oklahoma and Auburn taking on Tulsa in Las Vegas.
- The best matchup outside of tournaments looks like Murray State at Xavier, with Stephen F. Austin at Baylor another intriguing one. Kansas, Louisville and Michigan State are also among the teams in action.